Logistics: Putting the chickens to bed too early?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by AnnieOK, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. AnnieOK

    AnnieOK In the Brooder

    Dec 31, 2011
    Southcentral Oklahoma
    Hey all,

    Still planning and thinking about when I have some chickens, in a few months or weeks maybe. I have a question that I just know y'all can answer.

    I work 3 12-hr shifts a week, nights 7pm-7am. I leave for work around 6 pm and get home some before 8am. I don't imagine it will be a problem not opening up the henhouse until 8am, but I am wondering about how to work things in the summer, when there's still a lot of 'afternoon' left at 6pm. I'm just not sure how reliable the rest of my family will be, in putting the chickens to bed on the nights I work. So, if I don't shut them up before I leave for work, they would most likely have to stay out all night, or, if they go into the coop by themselves it would not be closed up against predators. So I'm wondering, would it be a problem to shut them up in the coop that early in the summer months, before I leave for work?

    As always, any comments, suggestions, or advice appreciated. Thanks!


  2. ll

    ll Songster 7 Years

    Have a run attached to the coop.

    On work days or when they can't be watched, they get to walk around in the run.
    On days off when there's time to listen and watch for them, they get to wander around the yard.

    Some let their's out a couple/few hours before dark then they "put themselves to sleep" when they are ready.

    Good luck.
  3. MyShunshyn

    MyShunshyn Songster

    Jan 16, 2011
    Sperrassoville, OK
    Hi Annie,

    My concern with shutting them up that early inthe summer is that they would be too hot in there with at least 2 hours of daylight left.
    You don't say if they would be in a secure run or free ranging during the day. I they are in a run then I would not worry about them too much if someone forgets to close the coop. They will go in there anyway when it gets dark and if the runis secure thenthey should be ok.

    We have our coop inside of a secure run and when it is really hot inthe summer I don't close the maindoor to the coop at night and everyone is happy.

    Hope this helps.
  4. MedChicken

    MedChicken Chirping

    Dec 25, 2011
    Virginia (Zone 7)
    Mine free range all day. I let them out in the morning and they go back in on their own at night. I go in later and close the door. In your case, you might consider a door on a timer set to open at 6am and close at 10pm (which will be after dark any time of the year!). If you search on here (forums and the main site), there are several sets of instructions to build a pop door on a timer. The materials cost looks to be about $70-100.

  5. RoosterLover15

    RoosterLover15 In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2011
    Down in the boondocks
    I agree you should have a run in area where they can get in the coop themselves. You will want to make sure the running area is fenced in and has a roof overtop to keep out predators. You should also probably shut them in when you get home from work just to be extra sure that they will be safe.
  6. MedChicken

    MedChicken Chirping

    Dec 25, 2011
    Virginia (Zone 7)
    Fencing and roofing really depend on your situation. I have a fence but no roof because my dog keeps the predators out. No hawk or crow dares roost in one of my trees! Plenty of people with several acres have neither. Whatever you do, be sure to confine them for a week or so in their new home so they learn that that is where they are supposed to go to roost. Otherwise you may find chickens in the trees at night! If you live in the city, I also recommend wing clipping if they are going to range outside of a run with a roof - mine could easily fly over a 6' fence before the wing-clipping.
  7. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Songster

    Oct 2, 2009
    Depending on where you are, you could be okay with leaving the coop open until you can get back. Also, consider getting an automatic door.

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