Gate to the run... Open in? Or open out? Does it matter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MyLittleRedCoop, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. MyLittleRedCoop

    MyLittleRedCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2012
    My Coop
    So, we're in the middle of building our coop & run... And my DH asks which way I want the gate to the run to open - in or out? And it occured to me that... I really don't know!
    Do you feel that one is better than the other? My first thought was "in", to sort of shoo any would-be escape artists back.
    But then, what about snow? (We're in Mn.) Is it harder to push in through snow? This will be the only people-door to the run. Granted, snow will happen on both sides of the fence - I get that... Just wondering how other people have their's set up?
  2. Dutchess

    Dutchess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello JVeith! Welcome to BYC!
    I laughed when I read this one because I had my mother (70+yrs) check on my chickens while we were gone for a long weekend. Well, I have the door to the run so that it opens "in". *sigh* kinda embarassing, but very funny...she couldn't get the door to "open" (pushing instead of pulling) so she squeezed through the door (pushing) and the door jam and basically "sprung" the door. LMAO!

    When I spoke to her when we returned, she was still wondering what happened with the door...
    Anyway, back to your question...It doesn't really matter which way (IMO). But, let me tell you, we have lots of snow here in Maine. I did not want to deal with the frozen ground with snow and ice packing the entrance and struggling with the door to open/close it, shoveling and scraping - you know what I mean.

    So, I made the opening for the door about 12" off the ground. What I mean by that is the framing for the door starts 12" above the ground (with a 12" kick board) so that I don't have to worry about shoveling before I can open the door. It works out great, the only thing is you have to step over it everytime you go inside. A small price to pay IMO! Good luck with your building!! Make it bigger than you think you need it! That's what everyone else says and there is a lot of truth in's called chicken math!!
    Enjoy your CHICKENS!!
    1 person likes this.
  3. Haunted Chicken

    Haunted Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2011
    The gate to the area I keep my hens in opens out and I hate it. We plan to rebuild it this weekend and have it swing in. I am forever shooing them back in. I hate having to walk in and then turn around to shut the gate. It would be so much easier to slide it shut with my foot or use my back while I'm still facing the girls. I also wish I had built the gate to the covered run swinging in. It swings out and so it swells in the rain, which is pretty much constant in the PNW. I'm all for gates that open "in", lol.
    1 person likes this.
  4. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2011
    Mine I made to swing out. I figure that any larger animal trying to get in would cause the door to stay closed.

    If it swung in then the only thing keeping a large animal out would be the strength of the latch.
    1 person likes this.
  5. fuhgeddaboudit

    fuhgeddaboudit New Egg

    Oct 1, 2012
    I vote open out because it's easy to hurt their little feetsies with an inward-opening gate.
    1 person likes this.
  6. oldcluck

    oldcluck Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2011
    Have it open out and put an old fashioned screen door spring on it so it is self closing and you wont forget to close it and let chickens get out.
    1 person likes this.
  7. DianeS

    DianeS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2010
    It doesn't matter to me. If it opens out, then when you go in the chicks will be pains as you enter and they get underfoot, and you have to have a free hand to shut the door behind you once you're in. If it opens inward, then the chicks will be pains as you leave and they get underfoot, and you need a free hand to shut it as you leave. One way you have hands full of food or water, the other way you have hands full of soiled bedding or eggs. There's no easy answer.

    I think the most important things about a door is that it should swing easily, latch easily, keep opening until it touches the wall behind it (not stopping part way), and have a way to be held open (as well as closed).
    1 person likes this.
  8. Red Barn Farms

    Red Barn Farms ~Friendly Fowl~

    Apr 12, 2012
    Kentucky Heartland
    When we first started building our run area this very same question came up. After consideration we decided the door should open in. We do let our flock out to free range daily and they are very use to being at the door whenever we go down to the run. So they always want out even when we do not want them to. It works to keep them inside for the door to open in. I can open the door just enough to allow me to get inside but they cannot get around my legs to go out no matter how hard they have tried. We added a very heavy duty clasp so we're not worried about any larger animals getting through it.

    Another idea is adding spring tension so the door can close by itself behind you.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  9. gardendufus

    gardendufus Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have two gates on opposite sides of my run. By design one opens in, one opens out. My disclaimer is that here in the Springs we seldom have heavy snows. I prefer entering the coop thru the gate that opens in. My chickens see me as the feed machine (and I frequently am), so they rush the gate when they see me approaching. the Inward door allows me to slowly push them back from the entryway as I enter. Also, If I have my hands full as I enter, I don't have to have a free hand to open the gate. My ample hips work as an opener. Once they have gotten what they want (and it isn't my company, it's the food I carry) they could care less about the gate as I leave.

    The outward gate is used while they are otherwise distracted to do things like exit with the eggs, push a wheelbarrow full of bedding thru, etc. Spring hinges to close the gates behind me are in the plans, but not installed. So far, closing the gate has not been a problem. I really want them more to shut my dogs out more quickly. They REALLY want in the run.

    When I get down to the point that I have not much more to do, my plan is to build a small 'vestibule' at at least one of the gates so that I can securely enter, keep the dogs out, the chickens in, and THEN enter the coop without worry about either animal getting where it doesn't belong.
    1 person likes this.
  10. MyLittleRedCoop

    MyLittleRedCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2012
    My Coop
    You guys are all awesome! Thanks so much for your input and the experience that comes with it! I'm going to have to mull this over...
    I was leaning towards "in", but the points for "out" are equally valid, and definitely offer ideas that I hadn't even thought of.
    I love the idea for a vestibule, but I'm pretty sure my DH will levitate (and not in a good way) if I suggest adding another thing!
    But thank you all again for the insight! You rock! [​IMG]

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