Free Range Hens Coming Home to the Coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kateseidel, May 22, 2010.

  1. kateseidel

    kateseidel Songster

    Jan 9, 2010
    I am about a month away from letting the girls out for their first free range adventures. Do I leave the run door open, so they can come back in when they want (and risk cats getting in and waiting for them...), or do I close the run door and hope they come when I call them in the evening?
  2. ChickenCat

    ChickenCat Songster

    Mar 1, 2009
    craig county, VA
    I leave the door open. Even with all the feral cats around here never been a problem with one going in the coop. Besides, if a cat were in the coop the birds would let you know it by screaming their fool heads off and refusing to go in the coop. I have a rabbit living in the brush pile that the chickens use as shade. Even though the chicks know the rabbit, they still give ahuge sound off if it's in a different sitting spot.
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I agree....leave the door open and they will come home to roost.
  4. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Songster

    If they have lived in their coop/run long enough to know it is home, they will come in by themselves in the evenings if the door is left open for them. As the chicks get larger it would be the cat's health I would worry about if it snuck in to wait!
  5. Dorte

    Dorte Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    I just got my first chicks yesterday, so I wont attempt to answer chicken related questions yet.

    However, the cats waiting for the chickens in the evening brings back memories from my childhood at my parents farm that I want to share.
    We had a flock of chickens. The run was very insecure, basically just kept the chickens in and perhaps the dog out. Definitely not the cats. It wasn't really a problem since we closed the coop at night and it was reasonably secure, the cats (and we had many) never seemed to care much about the chickens (or vice versa). My parents probably kept the chicks locked inside until they were big enough, I don't remember any details.

    Anyway, my memory is of our big rat catching tomcat sleeping his day away in one of the nesting boxes. It was his favorite place, and he basically always occupied one of the boxes as if he was a broody hen. When one of the hens actually did go broody the rest would have to fight over the few remaining boxes with the result that they would lay in all sorts of places. I thought it was cute, my mother not so much.
  6. 3chimama

    3chimama Songster

    May 8, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    We leave our door open so that the chickens can come in for food and drink throughout the day and lay their eggs...they always return in the evening to be locked up. We have nine cats and it has never been an issue for us.
  7. I leave the door open as well.

    The chickens come back to lay their eggs, to get some feed or water if they are close by, and to go to roost in the evening.
    They have always been in before sunset.
  8. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Yep, leave the door open for them. My cats don't bother the adult birds or even the chicks with good mammas. I lost a couple of ducklings though when their mom decided two weeks was long enough to be tied down, so the furry critters are on lockdown for the next couple of weeks.
  9. gogoalie

    gogoalie Songster

    May 15, 2010
    So yer tellin' me I don't needo round them prior to sunset? Just leave the door open & they'll come home to roost?
  10. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:I come home from work well after dark, do a beak count and shut the door. Easiest pets I own actually. [​IMG]

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