Leaving coop door open?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BooksAreNerdy, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. BooksAreNerdy

    BooksAreNerdy Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2013
    NE Kansas
    If our run is fully enclosed on all sides and top with hardware cloth, do I need to keep the coop door shut over night? Do I need to bring the feeder in out of the run? Is the feeder best placed in the coop or run?

    We are planning a 4x8 raised coop with the area below it fenced as well as a 4x16 run. I was hoping to split the space under the coop into a 4x4 sandbox (with DE added) and then also hang the feeder under the coop to prevent it from getting rained on, etc. Will I be able to keep the food outside or will it attract pests? Will the hardware cloth run keep pests out well enough that I can keep the coop open and food outside?

    My motivation is pure laziness. I have a 2 year old daughter and getting dressed and fed is sometimes a feat. I'd hate for the hens to have to wait to be let out because the humans were Having a slow morning!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  2. Aphrael

    Aphrael Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 21, 2013
    I have been wondering this as well. I have been considering trying to make the attached run strong enough that I could leave the pop door open at night so they can get outside as early as they want (our schedule often has late nights and late rising). But I'm afraid of leaving them vulnerable too. Will be very interested to see everyone's opinions on this.
  3. PostgeStampFarm

    PostgeStampFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 7, 2013
    Cedar Grove NJ
    We are new to chickens too. We leave the coop door open on non-windy nights so they learn how to roost themselves inside. On alternating nights we leave a small light on for them. During the winter we leave the feeder and the water in the coop, but when it is warm we let them hang outside. We only turn heat lamps on when it is below 30F. I did add to the lazy factor by setting up a pulley system that allows us to open the coop door from outside the run...making release super quick and easy.
  4. BooksAreNerdy

    BooksAreNerdy Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2013
    NE Kansas
    Shameless bump! Just wanted a few more opinions!
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    If you truly feel the run is predator proof then sure, why not leave the coop door open? Unless you've winters to deal with then you don't even need a coop just roosting poles and layer boxes.

    I personally use the management style of predator proof coop and containment/ predator resistant run. It's far cheaper and only requires that I physically be there in morning and night to open and close the door.
  6. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2012
    I'm in a similar situation. I don't have the birds yet, hopefully this spring.

    My plans are for a 4x8 raised coop with a 8x16 run. I plan on digging in the run fencing to stop diggers and am not planning to even have a door on the coop entrance. I want them to be able to come and go as they please. Also with the addition of automatic water and feed setups I plan to be able to go away for a weekend(once I'm convinced that automatic stuff works as expected!). At least that's my plans, we'll see how it all works out once I get started on it all.
  7. Fentress

    Fentress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2012
    Chesapeake, Va.
    YOu need perimeter protection, especially at night, and especially from digging predators. I free range 20 chickesn and have electric net fencing which has stopped all four legged predators, however I still close the coop door every night because an owl lives in the neighborhood. Not knowing your specific environment, I would suggest you close the door, unless your run has the hardware cloth/poultry wire buried into the ground for about 2 feet.
  8. PaintedCavalry

    PaintedCavalry Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 29, 2012
    Jacksonville, FL
    We don't even have a door on our coop. Our run is predator proof and they put themselves up at night and they're out as soon as the sun touches the horizon in the mornings.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It purely depends on your risk tolerance and how comfortable you are that your run is truly predator proof. Like Egghead, my run is predator resistant and the coop is pretty predator proof.

    It’s really hard and can get expensive to make a large run truly predator proof but it can be done. Things climb so you need a good top. They can dig so you need dig protection. Gates are often a weak point so be careful how you build them. Running an electric wire around it really improves the safety.

    Instead of burying wire straight down to stop digging predators, I suggest you consider using an apron. Take maybe 18” to 24” of wire fencing, hardware cloth, welded wire, different things work, and lay that on the ground horizontally around your run. Attach that to the bottom of your run. You don’t have to bury it, the grass will grow up through it and hold it in place, though it works better to weight it down for a while. A lot of people just take up maybe 2” of sod, lay the wire, then put the sod back. That really helps keep the wire out of the way of a weed eater or mowing machine. The idea is that a digging predator goes up to the fence, starts digging, hits the wire, and does not know to back up. This is a lot easier than digging straight down, especially in rocky soil and I think it is just as effective.

    As far as the feeder, that is pure personal preference. Some people leave it in the run. Some leave it in the coop. Some have feeders both places. There are a whole lot of different reasons both for and against both. There is no right way or wrong way, just the way you decide to do it.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sounds like a good plan if you use 1/2" x 1/2" hardware cloth and use screws /fender washers or poultry staples to attach hardware cloth to framing. Should be good to keep all predators out, including vermin that want the feed.

    Agrees that burying some of cloth down and out from run walls is necessary also.

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