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!