Going On Vacation - Should I Have The Person Close & Open Hen House

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ShaunaCH, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. ShaunaCH

    ShaunaCH Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2011
    San Diego
    Hi,

    We just got our 3 hens this past weekend. They are 20 weeks old. We will be leaving on vacation for a week in August. Currently, the hens have a coop that is attached to a run. The coop has a separate door that is latched with 2 latches. Within the coop is the hen house that has a door that shuts but doesn't lock. The run also has a door that latches and has a garden fabric roof. The coop and the run are surrounded with hardware wire and have an apron skirting of hardware wire covered with rocks and lined with bricks.

    Currently, each evening, I close the hen house door and close and lock the coop door and the run door when the chickens go to bed. Each morning around 6:30/7:00 a.m., I open the hen house door and the coop door, but leave the run door latched so they have room to roam while we're at work.

    When we leave on vacation, my Mom will be coming over each morning and evening (she lives around the block) to let the chickens out of the hen house/coop and to lock them back up at night.

    I'm thinking that she may not be able to make it to our house by 7:00 a.m. each morning (and it's kind of a lot to ask of someone) and am wondering if (1) would it be okay to leave the hen house door open, but the coop locked up each evening, so the chickens can come out in the morning and at least have access to the coop until she can come & open the coop door to the run; or (2) do you think they would be okay having to wait to be let out until later (say 8:00 a.m. for example).

    I hate to leave any door open because of predators, but as you can see, we have been pretty thorough making it a bit of a chicken guatanamo.

    Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks,
    Shauna
     
  2. NanaLantana

    NanaLantana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lantana, Florida
    Chickens can wait until people are ready to let them out! When you read the specifics on almost all of the different breeds of chickens, one of the characteristics is "bears confinement well"!! In any case, they'll be really happy to see mom [​IMG]
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I'm a bit fuzzy. Are you saying that your coop has a housing, a small built-in run, plus another bigger run???? If that's the case, then yes, as long as your main coop/run is highly secure (you mentioned HW cloth, so I'd assume that means on top too), I'd leave the housing pop door open. With the heat the nations been under recently, I don't want my birds contained indoors any longer than necessary...
     
  4. ShaunaCH

    ShaunaCH Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2011
    San Diego
    Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let's see if I can paste a couple here. First, the view of the coop (the smaller structure w/a built-in small run) and the run (the taller structure):

    [​IMG]

    and, here's a picture looking into the coop, so you can see the hen house (and my 3 year old son doing his impression of a chicken):

    [​IMG]

    We live in San Diego, so while it can get hot, it's generally nice temperature.
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If that first little run area is secure (hard to tell from pics how secure it is), then I'd leave the little housing door open simply because that space is so tiny. Of course that also depends on how early/late your mom would come over. I'm assuming you don't have water inside the tiny henhouse, so if she didn't come over until 10 am, then that's quite some time (after all night) to go without water. But if she's there by 8 am it probably wouldn't be such a big deal. So I guess it all comes down to how secure that section is...
     
  6. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    Quote:x2
     
  7. ShaunaCH

    ShaunaCH Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2011
    San Diego
    Thank you everyone for your response.

    While the hen house portion looks small, it's a tad bigger than it looks. I think my son could curl up in a ball and lay in it;) Would you believe all three chickens are sleeping in the nesting box every night! I really don't know why other than it makes them feel safer. The hen house portion has a roosting bar, but maybe it's too high for their heads (we're going to lower it this weekend) and the hen house has hardware cloth on the bottom, whereas the nesting box is filled with pine shavings. It's just crazy that they are squeezing themselves all into the tiny nesting box (that was meant for one) every night and they stay there all night too. When I go to close them up and put them to bed, they're all huddled in there and when I come let them out in the a.m., they're still all huddled in it. My husband is stressed about this thinking that when the time comes for them to start laying eggs, they won't be able to because they're all huddled in there together. I'm not sure whether to be worried or not.
     
  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anderson, Texas
    How many sq ft is the coop? Sure looks too small for three chickens.
     
  9. ShaunaCH

    ShaunaCH Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2011
    San Diego
    The coop itself is a tad over 4x4 (16 square feet). The run adds an additional 4x5 (20 square feet). So, throughout the day while we're at work they are in 36 square feet of space of moving around space. When we come home we open up the door to let them roam freely, although they rarely want to come out. The hen house is about 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 (6.25 square feet) with a roosting pole inside and out and the nesting box is approx. 2x2 (4 square feet). Surprisingly, they all huddle into the nesting box at night when they have both the hen house and the nesting box to utilize.
     
  10. Sassafras

    Sassafras Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 16, 2011
    N.H.
    When we say coop you mean "hen house". It does look pretty small for the size of the hen in the doorway in the pic. Is the round pole on the side of the hen house the roosting pole? They probably feel more secure in the nest box.
     

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