Leaving my chickens - in or out?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by leight54, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. leight54

    leight54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm new to this board, and so new to owning chickens that I don't even have any yet. But I have 3 on order, due to hatch late April. I'm full of questions, but the most burning one is about leaving my hens when I go away.

    I think I can get someone (my cat-sitter) to check on them and feed/water them when necessary. But she will only be coming in once a day. Ideally, I'd like them to be let out into the run during the day, and tucked back in at night.

    Let me describe my set-up: I live in town, but with a large, fenced in yard. There is a playhouse near the back of the yard that is just screaming "hen house"! It's 4' x 6', and tall enough to walk in (once you get through the child-size door) and has 3 windows. It is elevated on posts, about 3 1/2 feet off the ground.

    I plan to enclose the underneath part in hardware cloth, extending it below the ground, and aproning it out. There will be a trapdoor in the floor of the hen house, with a ramp. I will eventually have a bigger run extending out from there, but while I'm away for 2 1/2 weeks, they will only use the small run under the house. They will only be 2 months old when I go, so eggs won't be a factor.

    My question(s): Should I leave the trapdoor open, day and night, so they can go in and out at will? Will they go in at night on their own (at 2 months)? Or would it be better to leave them in the hen house the whole time? (They will have about 8 sq. feet each.)

    Thanks! Sorry for the length of this post!
     
  2. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Palominas, Arizona
  3. leight54

    leight54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wouldn't that be a great LUXURY, to have an automatic door! Unfortunately, it's not in the budget. [​IMG] That's more than I'll have spent on the entire coop!

    Thanks, though!
     
  4. DawnCols

    DawnCols Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Will coons really get through hardware cloth that's buried below the ground?
     
  5. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Probably not. I was thinking about coons climbing the fence and dropping down.
     
  6. leight54

    leight54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, we do have raccoons and possums come into the yard. But I plan to make the actual coop predator-proof, if there is such a thing. Hardware cloth on the windows and door, and as I said around the lower level and into the ground. I'll research the best latch to get for the door, as well.
     
  7. DawnCols

    DawnCols Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. leight54

    leight54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! Maybe 2 latches would be even better! I haven't even met my chickies yet, and I'm already getting very protective of them. Like a mother hen! [​IMG]
     
  9. Thatchickenguy

    Thatchickenguy Out Of The Brooder

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    If u have a nice size rooster then u can leave everything open and stuff he'll protect the coop
     

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