Locking chickens in coop for the night, a neccessity if they have a run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SmittenChickens, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. SmittenChickens

    SmittenChickens In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2012
    I'm building a run, that will be near predator-proof. Welded wire flooring that will have 4-6 inches of sand ontop of the wire. Hardware cloth sides. Padlocked door. Plywood roof with shingles. The whole shebang.

    I bought a very nice wooden doghouse as a coop:


    I'm going to elevate the doghouse somehow so it's off the ground at least 2 or 3 feet, not sure how yet.

    Do I need to lock the hens in the coop at night, if they're in a safe run? If not, will the open door be enough ventilation? Or do I need more? The flooring is wooden slats with small gaps between so there will be a very small amount of airflow through there as well.

    (Oh, and yes I know the doghouse as a coop is a bit small. I'm only getting 2 or 3 bantams. :) )

  2. Bears are grouchy in the spring and fattening up in fall, so if you have them in the area, you might want to lock them up at those times of year. What other preadators do you have around?
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    I have a very secure run with buried fence, hardware cloth, and heavy-duty poultry netting over the run. I leave the pop door into the run open all summer. I would not do it if my run was only NEAR predator proof, though - be sure it is completely secure or lock rhythm them in. You can always add more ventilation to the coop.
  4. SmittenChickens

    SmittenChickens In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2012
    The only predators around here are foxes, coyotes, racoons, dogs, cats, and birds of prey. No large predators like bears, thank goodness! We don't even really have snakes, it's been years since I saw a snake.
  5. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Songster

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    What size fencing will you be using? If you have weasels, minks, or martins they can get through pretty small size fencing and can do some serious damage in just one night. I had no idea we had them on long island until all my pheasants were killed but not eaten. I did some research and they just drink the blood.

  6. SmittenChickens

    SmittenChickens In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2012
    Drink the blood? Nasty. [​IMG]

    We don't have any of those around here. I've never even heard of a martin... and I've never seen a weasel or mink except for pictures, LOL!
  7. bethinoklahoma

    bethinoklahoma Songster

    Dec 18, 2008
    You wont know if you have a problem until its to late. nothing is 100% proof and if it were me i would add a line of hot wire along the outside and lock the door but thats from someone that has it all living in my woods. :)
  8. My brother thought he had no predators because he has dogs. He also thought his coop was secure. Then one night, a mink got in and killed his whole flock. He learned his lesson the hard way. It was very sad helping him pick up the mess. [​IMG]
  9. SmittenChickens

    SmittenChickens In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2012
    Yikes, ok, it sounds like I might want to lock them in at night. I guess I'll need to increase the ventilation somehow then. Maybe cut out a small window?

  10. Red Barn Farms

    Red Barn Farms ~Friendly Fowl~

    Apr 12, 2012
    Kentucky Heartland
    A small window would work fine. As far as the run it seems hardware cloth is the best secure choice. Chicken wire is great at keeping chickens inside but still predators can chew right through it. I would also recommend the top be secured with hardware cloth or roof panels which will greatly help in bad weather conditions such as rain, snow, etc. Best of luck to you and your birds! They are such fun and so interesting.

    p.s I do lock my flocks up each night inside the barn. Always better safe than sorry.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012

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