Is it necessary to close the coop at night?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DaraKing, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. DaraKing

    DaraKing Just Hatched

    May 19, 2016
    Rio Rancho, New Mexico

    I'll start this by saying that I live in the desert near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Predators here are primarily coyotes, hawks, and owls, raccoons or foxes aren't an issue. I am also brand new to raising chickens.
    Now, I have 5 birds--4 pullets and 1 cockerel--in a 10x6 dog run/fence, and the coop is in the run with them. I cannot let them free range here because hawks are always flying nearby. The run is completely enclosed and my yard is surrounded by 7 ft tall block walls, so I'm not worried about predation but I am wondering if it is necessary to close them in their coop at night? I am NOT a morning person (in fact, I'm writing this at 2:15 am!). I've got my birds trained to go into the coop on their own at dusk and currently I do close them in, but I go back out in the middle of the night to (quietly) open it back up so they can be out with the sunrise. I'm questioning whether this is a vital daily task. Other than keeping them safe from predators (if that risk existed for me), is there any reason the coop door cannot stay open all night?
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] If you are certain they are protected by the surround and nothing can get in then there would be no reason to lock them in the coop.

    But, your list of no predators vs predators there is not clear to me....if the run is not covered and there are owls - then they are a serious risk?

    If nothing can access your flock at nite, just let them go in and out at free will.

    But, do make it part of your routine to inspect the walls and run to make sure there's no evidence of a "weak link" in the "fort".
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree, it comes down to your level of confidence. It’s a personal decision. If you are confident they are safe, there is no reason to lock them up. You could very well be right. If you are wrong you are the one suffering the consequences. We can’t make that decision for you over the internet.

    Just to be clear, your question is whether there is any other reason to lock them up rather than predator protection. My answer is no, there is no other reason.
  4. Susan G

    Susan G Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2016
    I live in Minnesota and have pretty much everything that would snack on chickens. We are in process of building coop and it is VERY secure. Insulated and completly roofed I feel the chickens could do well with a door on the coop they could go in and out at will. Question for me is winter...wondering if chickens will use a flap door similar to doggy door to come and go from coop...anyone every do that type of door?
  5. Bantambird

    Bantambird Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 6, 2013
    I built a flap door using thick plastic cut into strips so it was easy to push through. And I have used old jeans to make nesting box curtains. If I can get mine to go through this, I bet yours will go through. It will probably depend upon what you use. There are also electronic doors of you want to spend money.
  6. Susan G

    Susan G Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2016
    Great idea!!! I think I will do the overlaping strips of heavy plastic. Thank you!!!
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    That is my set up. I lock them in the run if they were out free ranging, and they go in the coop at will and out in the morning at will. Works for me.
  8. ChickenKeep01

    ChickenKeep01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    They must be shut in at night and efantly with coyotes but if your run is attached to your coop and its predator proof then don't open the door cuz that removes the pourpse of it being predator proof
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    This is how I do it, too.

    If the run attached to the coop is predator proof, there should be no problem with leaving the door between the two open, as long as the door or gate to the run that leads outside of the run remains closed.
  10. DaraKing

    DaraKing Just Hatched

    May 19, 2016
    Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Thank you for your replies and input. As a new BYC'er I appreciate all the input I can get!

    So here's my setup: the coop is inside the run, not attached to it (photo below). The dimensions are 10x6x6. The bottom of the fencing run is sitting on chicken wire buried about an inch or so down, and the brick pavers are placed to discourage digging from my dog. She's not really a big concern, though. She's 14 years old and can't run, her bones ache too much. She'll walk over to the fence, sniff around a couple times and then go lay down or go back in the house.
    You can't see it in the photo, but the top of the run is fully covered by chicken wire, and I've moved the tarp over to cover about three quarters of the run for shade and to hide them from hawks. It gets brutally HOT here in the desert, especially for fur and feather babies! I've found that frozen apples and watermelon doesn't last long around hot chickens. [​IMG]
    So, it ain't pretty but it does the job well for my five birds.


    And since my bird babies weren't out in the run yet (my husband and I had just completed the coop when I took this photo, the birds were in my house while we built the coop) here's my flock; the four older birds are 12 weeks old, the Rhode Island Red inside the kennel is 5 weeks old:

    Pretty sure this one is a 12 week cockerel. The feed store called the
    chicks Dominiques but this is clearly NOT a dom.



    The feed store's version of an Ameracauna is more like Easter Eggers!

    Buff Orpington, she's the "boss" of the flock at the moment.

    I don't have an updated photo of my RIR, but I like this picture
    of her, she was curious about my phone as I snapped the pic.
    she's nearly feathered out now and wouldn't stay in
    the brooder so she's in a kennel getting to know her new flock
    n the run now. She's also quickly becoming my favorite bird as
    she insists on staying either near me or on my shoulder!
    She loves being petted.

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