I scared NOT to lock the coop door each night....

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BethieofVA, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. BethieofVA

    BethieofVA Songster

    Mar 27, 2010
    Yorktown, Virginia
    My four girls have been outside for two months now and I still go our every night and lock the coop door. It is getting pretty warm here at night and my hubby thinks I should leave it open for a breeze. I just don't know. Our run it pretty secure with welded wire, sides and bottom, with an apron two feet out and around. The door is tight, nothing is squeezing in. I know we have coons, but nothing appears to have ever attempted an entrance. I think they get plenty out of our trash cans and the neigbors. What do you think? Do you think if they were getting in they would have already? There is plenty of chicken feed spill on the ground to attract. I have only see a few squirrels and a tiny bunny in there.


    It is hard to see, but a welded wire apron is also against the back fence in addition to the wood planking you can see. I am still nervous. LOL!

  2. lleighmay

    lleighmay Songster

    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    Your coop and run are lovely and the apron sounds substantial but I have a few questions/concerns. What gauge is your wire? How big are the holes in it? Do you have hardware cloth around the bottom 2 feet or so to prevent a coon from reaching in and ripping a hen to pieces through the wire? I'm thinking if squirrels and bunnies can get in the wire spacing is enough to allow this to happen. It's good that you have the apron on the wood fence side too, but how sturdy is the wood? Some fence boards are not that thick and could be easily ripped or chewed apart by a determined predator. It looks like part of the top is covered with fiberglass but how heavy is the covering and have you covered all the gaps? Do you have wire (welded wire, not chicken wire) across the top of the rest of the run to keep out critters? Coons will climb anything and could easily come over the wood fence or climb up the wire and/or posts on the other side..... Coons like variety and would definitely fancy a chicken dinner if they find one available. It's obvious from the effort and care you've put into their home that your girls are very important to you. If it were me would increase ventilation opportunities on your coop (properly covered in well-attached hardware cloth) and I would be SURE everything about the run was as secure as I could possibly make it before I would leave my birds out at night. I always lock mine in just in case. Just because nothing has happened yet doesn't mean it won't.
  3. BethieofVA

    BethieofVA Songster

    Mar 27, 2010
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Quote:The whole thing is covered in welded chain link and around the bottom{2ft or so} rectangular shaped welded cattle wire to lessen the size of the hole. The top, three quarters of it is plastic roofing, overlapped and gaps secured. The far end is more chain link. My husband has wired the fencing together to prevent gaps. The squirrel and baby bunny came through the back side, through the cattle wire. We have since secured more boards OVER that wired, so it is horizontal boards, welded wire, then verticle boards. The apron on the backside of the fence is secured with "spikes as well as some concrete blocks.

    The coop's bottom is wire and there are ventilation holes, several, on the back side. It would break my heart if they were attacked. My husband feels very confident in the run, but I just don't know. LOL! [​IMG]
  4. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    The only thing I see is that you've got horse fencing over the chain link around the bottom 2 ft. It may lessen some of the holes but not enough to keep a raccoon from reaching through. I'd put some 1/2 x 1/2 (or smaller) hardware cloth around the bottom then I'd say you're good to go. Make sure that the roof is tightly secured on the run. Leave no spot that can be lifted and made bigger. That's really a wonderful coop and run.
  5. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Lovely setup! Your coop has ventilation- what is wrong with closing it up every night and saving yourself some worry. I have an automatic door, but I still go out and check on the chickens, before I go to bed- just to be sure all is well. If you were away for the evening and missed it once or twice, I am sure all would be fine-but why tempt fate?? Enjoy!
  6. BethieofVA

    BethieofVA Songster

    Mar 27, 2010
    Yorktown, Virginia
    I think I am always going to check the chickens, just like I do my children. LOL! My husband thought they might be more comfortable.

    "Make sure that the roof is tightly secured on the run. Leave no spot that can be lifted and made bigger. That's really a wonderful coop and run."

    No gaps and thank you!
  7. xyresicchick

    xyresicchick Songster

    Mar 5, 2010
    Providence, RI
    i love your run!

    i plan on doing gardens around mine like that! mine is going to be in the shade though so i will be growing low-light plants like bleeding hearts and lily of the valley.

    i say if the top of your run is enclosed, and very secure in every other aspect, then i would let the coop door stay open. raccoons are smart and can undo locks and latches, just make sure the run is extra secure and you'll be fine.

  8. BethieofVA

    BethieofVA Songster

    Mar 27, 2010
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Quote:That is another thing, IF they do get in, they can easily unlatch the coop door. It is just a hook and eye. I don't think they get in.
  9. spottedtail

    spottedtail Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    I'd replace the hook & eye with a better quality latch.

    Then lock it up.

    Your instincts are good and correct.

    Which is more important?...
    a bit more comfort? or better security and peace of mind?

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  10. Country_Gal@Heart

    [email protected] In the Brooder

    May 9, 2010
    Sunshine State
    We currently have 3 separate coops and I don't close any of them. It is just too hot here in Florida, even at night. Though the coops are well-ventilated I think it would just get too stuffy. We do have raccoons and opossums around here, but I have the added benefit of having a guard goose. He is very fond of the chickens and extremely protective of them. He attacks my two chihuahuas if they go anywhere near the coops. He has free-range of the backyard and he is doing a good job at keeping any vermin at bay. [​IMG]

    By the way, your coop and run design are very nice!

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