For those that lock chickens in at night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by michickenwrangler, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    In the wintertime I did this just to keep things warmer, but after I lost a hen last night, I realize that I should do this all the time.

    When the nights get above 25 degrees, I keep the chicken door open so they can come and go at will (and give me the chance to sleep in [​IMG] ). But, again, I lost a hen last night to an opossum so I will be locking them up at night again.

    However, we have plans to go down to my father's house for Labor Day and we'll be gone 2 nights. I also plan to be gone Sept. 18 and 19 and again Oct 2 and 3 for endurance rides. DH will be home those weekends, but other than tossing scratch to them, he won't do anything with them.

    What other steps can I take to make sure they are safe at night? They are not in an area where we can run electric. We can get a chicken sitter, but he'll just come over during the day to check food/water levels.

    I'm hoping that over a week of locking them up at night, the possum might "move on" but I'm not hedging my bets. I'll be picking up a live-trap at TSC.

    But for those who lock your birds up at night, what do you do when you're on vacation or on an overnight trip? Would a few nights be OK, although I know it only takes once.

  2. chicknerd

    chicknerd Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    I always get someone to lock up. And I pay. They also let them out in the morning. I just have too many other animals in the area. We had a bear at 3:30 in the afternoon the other day, saw triplet young racoons two nights ago and my dog chased a fox off our property about a month ago.

    Hope you find a safe solution.
  3. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    I agree!!! Always lock them up at night! I have neighbors and friends who are always willing to help in exchange for eggs. Get somebody that's dependable. I hate to leave them in when it's hot out too, but they sure can't be left unprotected at night!
    There are automatic doors that open and close at a set time or at sunrise and sunset but I haven't tried these yet. I'm too afraid they are not racoon proof and they are expensive if bought ready made!
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  4. KBChicks

    KBChicks Songster

    Apr 21, 2010
    There's an older gentleman that lives down the road from us....he had several hundred acres (with several hundred animals) on his farm in his younger days.
    He loves coming over to visit our girls..
    When we go away for more than a day we ask him to come take care of out feathered family and repay his kindness with eggs and vegetables from the garden....
    He's truly a blessing...

    If your DH isn't interested in "chicken maintenance" maybe you have a neighbor that wouldn't mind helping out while you're on your short trips...

    Hope all works out for you!
  5. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    If all you need is someone to open the door in the morning and close it at night, you might be able to get a neighborhood kid to do it for a couple of bucks.

    We haven't really gone anywhere since we got chickens, but i know it would be pretty hard for me to enjoy myself, wondering if my chickens were ok.
  6. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    I been in the same boat as you. I lost some chicks a few weeks ago. Went and bought a live trap. I caught 2 possums and a skunk. All were relocated. They have been locked up ever since. Well, there will be times when I just can't lock them up. What makes me feel better is to have a live trap always set. If one does come, he just maybe will get the bait instead of an hen. Its all I can do sometimes.[​IMG]
  7. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    They make auto pop doors and I know there are plans for a homemade version on here if that is something you can afford or are handy enough build yourself. Otherwise it's pretty tough if you can't find someone to let them out in the morning and lock them up at night. If you could run some electric fence (three strands or so) around your pen it would go a long way towards keeping the critters out--night time lockdown is best, but the electric would be better then nothing. Best of luck!
  8. countrybum

    countrybum Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    area pop. 96
    I go once in awhile for a couple days and what I do is keep them locked in the coop with all the windows open. I bought 2 5 gallon waters and have a 3 gallon. They all get filled to the brim and put in the coop before leaving. I add pans and fill all of them to the brim with their feed. It will not kill them to be cooped up for a couple days. If you are worried about geat, etc add a fan. I would rather my chickens be safe than dinner. My husband is the same, throw them food and that is it. You can let them out when you get home and they will still go back in at night. I have over 60 chickens and fill 6 3 gallon horse bowls which last them 3 days.
  9. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    Again, electric isn't practical and I doubt my husband would want electric out there anyway. I do run an extension cord for water heater in the winter but he's not mowing the lawn then and doesn't have to dig a trench to put it in.

    We rarely go anywhere as a family, usually overnight at Thanksgiving and Xmas so this isn't an all the time thing.

    I doubt I could get anyone over every morning and every night. Most of our neighbors are seasonal and the few that are up here we rarely speak to or don't know them well enough to ask them.

    Is there a way to maybe rig something up with a car battery for temporary electric? I do have a "garden" charger for my portable corral and ... thanks, problem solved! [​IMG]
  10. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Quote:I do the same thing--my DW and I are retired and refuse to let my chickens tie us down. I have a 5 and 8 gallon waterer that will last for at least 4 days. I fill two hanging feeders to the brim on the day we leave, lock the doors, open the windows--which are covered with heavy quarter-inch hardware cloth--and leave. As soon as we get back I check and fill feeder and waterers(if empty). Never lost a bird nor did I worry about them while away. If we were to go for a longer period I would have our petsitter feed and water them as well as pick up the eggs--I give them to her as a bonus. This was while I had 30 hens and 4 roosters.

    BTW, I bought 6 chicks from TS last April 17th, left for WDW with the family on the 19th, came back on the 24th. The chicks were left under a brooder light in the brooder side of the coop with enough food and water for the duration. Those chicks are now getting ready to lay.

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