hatch in floor of coop ! help please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by andy71180, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. andy71180

    andy71180 New Egg

    Dec 7, 2009
    hi guys !
    I have seen some designs of coops were the coop is off the deck with a hole in the floor and a ladder from the ground up to let the chickens in and out. Is this hole closed over at night or is it permanently open ?
    if it is left open is it not to drafty?
    this is a route i would like to go down but should i incorporate a door to close it off in my design or would it be fine to leave open to let access at all times? the coop will be in a run and free from predators.

    your advice, experiance and thoughts would be greatfully appreciated.

    cheers andy
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Yeah, close it off at night if you can.
  3. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    I have a door that stays open all the time inside a secure run. However, I can close it if I need to keep them inside for some reason. Too drafty? Depends on your climate. Make sure the roosts are not in a line from the door to your ventilation and it should be ok except in the coldest weather. DISCLAIMER: I have accepted the fact that if my pen security fails, I have no second line of defense.
  4. andy71180

    andy71180 New Egg

    Dec 7, 2009
    good point jen about the last line of defence!!
  5. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I would suggest that you look critically at your run. How long has it been there? What is it made of? Chicken wire is useless. Is it tunnel-proof? Is it electrified so as to be climber-proof? Is it protected from aerial preds? Is the latch complex enough to keep coons out? (if a 3 year old can open it so can a coon)

    I have two guillotine-type doors with 1/2" osb drop-down panels for closing. It is operated via overhead pulleys and cables that descend outside thru two tiny holes in the soffit. Super easy to operate. You could do a drop-down trap door with a pair of ropes or small cables to stop it at an angle. Then have a hinged walkboard that folds open from there to complete the connection to the ground. It could all be done from outside the coop with cables or ropes and pulleys. You will likely want it closed in winter anyway as is best to have all cold weather ventilation at top of walls of coop so as to prevent drafts at roost and nest levels.

    I have read many posts in Predator section of this forum about people who thought their run was secure until one morning they walked to their coop only to see the scene of a grisly slaughter. Read some testimonies in predator section before deciding.

    I have a 6 ft welded wire fence set in cement to deter tunnelers, with 4 courses of hot wire around it to deter climbers. Even so, I lock down my coop every eve just in case. Power failure, tree blowdown, fence charger malfunction, etc, etc, and Murphy's law. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  6. alamogirl

    alamogirl Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2009
    Fort Wayne
    I have a run in the floor of our coop, and in the nice weather I leave it open. I have a completely closed up run, one that I feel is very safe (our biggest predator is the hawk).

    But now that it's freezing, I open and close it each morning and night. Kind of a pain, but hopefully keeps them warmer.

    I don't like that it's harder to keep the bedding in. I have little side walls around the opening, but wood chips still fly around and then get in the way of closing it. Does that make sense? So if I could figure out a way to solve that, then it's fine.
  7. Airilith

    Airilith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA

    Not the best picture, but it gives you an idea. My ramps runs underneath the opening and can be opened and closed using a string accessed from the outside of the coop.

    It's definitely not predator proof when closed, but the run it leads to is. But where my chicks are only 7 weeks right now, and its winter, I've covered the opening with a piece of plywood that just completely covers it. The chicks precede to completely cover it with shavings each night, but I just move the board, pour the shavings back where they should be and lower the ramp when I want to let them out.

    In the summer I'm planning on not covering the opening to provide extra ventilation. Most likely I will even leave it down over night, as I really feel that my run is very safe. It's got 1/2 inch hardware cloth attached with 2 inch staples that were hand hammered in, and it forms over a 1 foot skirt around the entire coop. I also have another layer of chickenwire inside the hardware cloth that was on the coop when I got it. I just didn't feel like removing it.
  8. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    What gsim said.

    One thing to remember is that if you have a pop door in the floor and choose to use the deep litter method.... you're going to constantly have litter spilling into your run. I see lots of floor pop doors on this site and I don't have one, so can't speak from experience, but it seems like an accident waiting to happen. But, admittedly, I'm in the "lock 'em up every night" club. Seems like a lower pop door would be difficult to secure every night without getting on your knees in chicken poo and litter.
  9. andy71180

    andy71180 New Egg

    Dec 7, 2009
    thanks alot for your help guys i really appriciate you taking the time to awnser in such detail.
    i hadnt thought about the litter method you have given me somthing to think about gsim .
    thanks alot for the picture.
    regards andy

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