Lock them up at night? Or OK in welded wire coop? HELP!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by arwmommy, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    California
    OK, here's the situation!

    We have 3 bantams in our playhouse coop (see below). The babies (now 18 weeks!) are in the coop/house most of the day and then free range in our backyard for a couple of hours at night. We then put them in the coop (or they go in themselves) at almost sunset, and we go out at about 9:00pm and close the hen house door.

    I then go out in the morning to open up the hen house.... usually at like 8 or 9, but sometimes I forget until like 10:00! This would not be an issue, however the FOOD and WATER are in the RUN-- NOT THE HOUSE!! So I try to get out and let them out as soon as I can. (I cannot fit the food and water in the run, it would be impossible to change the food water the way the house opens-- so this is NOT NOT NOT an option!!)

    To be honest, it would be MUCH easier for us to leave the hen house door open 24/7, so they can go out in the morning as early as they want, and they also have access to food/water all the time. However, I am nervous about predators!

    The coop is well made, it is on a cement pad, and has 1" welded wire on all sides, including the bottom. The door has a latch with a carabiner on it, and a industrial magnet at the bottom to keep the bottom corner closed. The egg door also has a latch with a carabiner on it.

    I have always felt that they were safer inside, and that they would be warmer as well ---although 1)the house does not have additional insulation, 2)we are in So. Cal and so the lows at night are in the 50's, and 3)they are Cochins, and heavily feathered, so I don't even know that they NEED the extra warmth.

    Are they safe enough in the welded wire compound that I don't need to close the hen house door?? Or am I asking for trouble????

    HELP!

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2007
  2. siz8003

    siz8003 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2007
    Fitz.,NH
    That looks good to me I would have the door open! They will b fine with the cold (thats not that cold) [​IMG]
     
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I would probably leave it open, too, but I would put a good strong bolt at the bottom of the gate so no critter could get claws through the wire and pull that bottom corner out and sneak in. A bolt with a lock.
     
  4. greenmulberry

    greenmulberry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 17, 2007
    Iowa
    I would leave the door open, it looks very secure!

    I leave our door open to the run at night, I just made it very predator proof. I couldn't have chickens if I had to be home ever morning and evening to let them in and out. So I made the run very secure.

    It's already getting into the 40's at night here, I think cold is not a problem for you!
     
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    I second the suggestion to add another locking latch at the bottom of your door. How securely are your wire and door attached to the frame? Nails and lightweight staples are the easiest to tear off the frame, wood screws are the sturdiest. Other than that, I would definitely be ok with leaving the hen house/coop door open for them. That's a really nice coop!
     
  6. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is attached with staples, though they appear to be pretty heavy duty. It was built by a contractor friend of ours! He did a great job!!!!!
     
  7. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    I would leave it open too but I have one question, how is the wire attached? Or does the dog sleep outside, guess that's two questions.

    Raccoons can pull staples out. Strong buggers. I have my wire sandwiched between to pieces of wood. The 2X4 support post, the wire, then a batton. Its screwed together, I hate pounding nails, so that nothing can pull the wire out.

    And the additional lock in the lower corner that is predator proof from nimble little feet as suggested. It also holds the corner rigid so that they can not push through the door.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2007
  8. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

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    You could just leave that black thing in the bottom pic outside I dont think anything would bother them then. [​IMG]
     
  9. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    California
    Yeah MD, Problem is that he is a spoiled rotten baby and has never spent the night outside -- he sleeps on his (I swear) sherpa covered crib sized mattress on the floor right next to me. I am his momma and if I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night he follows me (to 20 feet away) to make sure I am safe. He doesn't even go outside unless I am with him or he is whining at the door. But that is fine with me-- he is a member of our family!

    He is a purebred Lab and is 105 pounds, but is an "American Lab" meaning taller, leaner, for agility and hunting (yuk-- not my dog [​IMG] OK, I will shut my mouth on that topic!). We frequently get asked if he is 1/2 Great Dane and 1/2 Lab because he looks so different from "all those fat labs" !! LOL

    He is great with the chickens, and is actually scared of them-- but happy to watch over them! It is hilarious!
     
  10. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

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    Quote:How do you manage that? our lab sleeps on her 1/2 of the bed and me and DW share the other half with the little dog.
     

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