Is a coop door necessary?


9 Years
May 11, 2010
I am planning a coop with a totally enclosed run. I live in the middle of a large city, so I do not have a problem with many critters like some of you have. I notice that most have a coop door that is shut at night when the hens are in the coop. I was planning to include a door, but is one really necessary? Seems to me the hens can go in the coop or roost in the run at night if the door is left open. Is there a real reason to keep the hens in the coop at night, if predators are not a problem?
I would think that if predators breaking in to your run is not an issue it would probably be fine. Mine has a pop door that I open and close at night, I even lock it shut but that just for predator security...only other purpose of a pop door would be to seal off the coop from drafts on those cold winter nights...I've forgotten to close the door at night and they all go in and stay in till sunrise..
Mine are definitely more relaxed with closed doors during dark hours. They are afraid of the darkened door opening as darkness sets in. They have never been attacked while in the coop either. Just their instinct I think.

Better to have the option of one rather than wish you did.

Hopefully you are right about your predators. They are around more than one would think in more forms than one imagines. Chickens seem to draw they in for many people.

I think you may be surprised at the night-time predators in big cities. Go on a ride-along with a police officer at night, or hang out with a garbage collector who works in the wee hours of the morning and you'll see what I mean. Raccoons and opossums do not just live in the country. Nor do hawks, surprisingly enough.

Rats are egg-eaters, and there are rats in every city - most folks just don't see 'em. Rats also eat chicken feed and carry disease; do you want any of those in your coop??

Also, DOGS are the worst predators and they prowl at night, too.

In the winter, it might be nice to close the door at night to keep out bitter temperatures better.

But it's personal preference.
If you have a truly predator proof coop or predators are not a problem, then there is no strong reason to have a door on the coop. Possibly temperature control, drafts, or rain blowing in could be potential problems to consider. I do find it very difficult to build a truly predator-proof run unless you are building one of those very small runs totally enclosed in hardware cloth, which is a possibility in the city.

Before you assume you have no predators in your city, I suggest you call your animal control and chat with them about raccoons, possums, foxes, coyotes and skunks. Feral cats are usually not a problem with full grown chickens, but your neighbor's dog could be.

I find the inconvenience of opening the door in the morning and closing it up at night is well worth the extra security, but some people are content to not do that. My parents lived in the country and never closed the coop door. They had no run, just let the chickens free range. Sometimes they would go years in between predator attacks, but then they would have a fox or dog to deal with.

good luck!
A door also allows you to help regulate the temperature for them. If you're really in Utah, I'd think a door for that reason alone might be a pretty good idea. If it's a hassle you don't want to mess with (opening and closing) you can find threads on here where people set up automatic door openers/closers.
Thanks to all who replied. I do live in Utah (Salt Lake City) and weather here is pretty mild, even in winter, compared to you easterners. I did plan to add a pop door. Better to have one and not use it than not to have one at all. I do have a neighbor who free ranges his flock. His coop has a door but I have never seen it closed. He may just accept some predator loss but he has a couple dozen hens. I was just looking for some insight as to the real need for a door, particularly since my run is fenced.
Is skunk a problem? I see them in my yard occasionally. What about possums? I see them too.

I guess this answers my question.

"Skunks occasionally kill poultry and eat eggs. They normally do not climb fences to get poultry. If skunks gain access, they will normally feed on the eggs and occasionally kill one or two fowl. Many times the skunk will remove the head from the chicken to drink the blood. Eggs usually are opened on one end with the ended crushed inward."

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I have 2 coops in a neighborhood with lots of other flocks smack in the middle of a 100K pop. college town.

Every other neighbor with birds has lost multiple birds to predators, most of them to our storm-drain neighbors, the raccoons.

If I were to build a run with 1/2 hardware cloth washer-screwed to 2"x4" framing with out-flanged, buried extensions of the wire & with a baby-monitor inside, I might consider not closing the door. Better to prepare for even little predators like minks than to discover you have them and lose your friends.

A neighbor had minks break in and kill 12 birds overnight last year, and two nights ago, another neighbor had a fox jump a 6' privacy fence, break in through 2"x3" welded wire to nab a broody- the bird never made a sound, but the dog heard the PLUCKING through the window and woke the family up, so they got it stopped. The fox cam back twice in broad daylight the next day, leaping the 6' fence while they were in the yard!

This is on a VERY busy street in a dense suburban neighborhood with tiny yards!

Never assume you won't suffer any predators just because of the urban environment. I lost a bird to a hawk mid-morning last fall- I can't tell you how little I expected that!
I'm in the City too and boy oh boy do we have predators. I never saw them much -- maybe a raccoon here and there at night when pulling into the driveway, but just add chicken dinner to your backyard and the critters will come out in full force. And worse yet, those urban preds are pretty brazen - not a lot of fear or respect for the humans living with them.

My coop/run are VERY secure but I don't think I could sleep at night without a door on my coop. And I lock it every night. It's not that the girls are that precious to me - they're not - but they DO rely on me to keep them safe. And I don't need the drama of my kids going to the coop in the a.m. to open/feed the girls and find a blood bath.

I think Patandchickens says it best when she explains that it's not IF you'll have an attack, it's really more like WHEN. It might take years, but when it does happen it's no fun.

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