Open coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ole rooster, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    I have a question for all the keepers of hens.

    If you have hen's that are out all day, free range, and still you want to keep the coop and run predator proof, what do you do about leaving the coop open for the layers? Seems to me the run and coop would have to be left open or you would find eggs all over the place. But then if the coop is left open for the chickens access, that would be the time for a predator, snake or such to make it's way inside and hide till lockup time. My hens will have the run of my 19 acres and the neighbors 11. I kinda feel they will stay sorta close anyway.

    For anyone that's had this dilemma, how did you handle it?

    p
     
  2. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Mine stay close. You gotta leave the door open so they can lay the eggs in their nest boxes. I have never seen your coop but if you have a run that is attached you might want to leave the run door open & pop door open & close the main human door. This will limit the view into the coop. Hard to explain. When you go to lock them up in the evening I always do a head count & look around for predators. Look in the boxes & up in the rafters. Here's a shot of my coop & maybe this will help. In the picture the main door is open close this door & open run door the chickens enter run door & enter coop through small pop door which can be seen from the main door opening in the picture.[​IMG]
     
  3. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    You're right about predators entering. On my friend's farm one night they forgot to shut the henhouse door until after midnight when someone remembered and ran out and shut it.... shutting a raccoon inside with all the hens! The entire flock, except one bantam, was slaughtered that night. Thing is, you should be diligent in shutting the door early enough in the evening after they roost, so that you can SEE what's there. We actually think that raccoon came inside the open henhouse after dark, btw.

    Another idea is to have an entrance where they have to jump a little, to get inside (my birds have to hop up onto a stump to get into the coop). It might help to keep out some predators, but it won't keep out owls, coons, skunks, etc.
     
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I usually lock mine up before its to dark to see. But I have a light in the coop as well.
     
  5. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2011
    I think it's a size thing. I have a small coop so I'm out in the yard and over in that area a lot. I usually take one of my dogs with me to do a coop check at night as they won't alert to the chickens but they would to anything else. I peek inside with a flashlight. When we build our walk in run we are going to use trenching, lots of hardware cloth and other predator proofing. The girls will still free range sometimes but with supervision.
     
  6. laturcotte1

    laturcotte1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The main door stays closed the gate to the run in is open along with the pop doors. I never leave them free range without them having access to their nesting boxes. They go out about 7am and I call them back in with treats at 3pm, I close the run in gate then. While they eat their treats in the run in I go in and collect the eggs. At dusk they put themselfs to bed.
     
  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anderson, Texas
    Quote:I've been leaving the human door open for so long & the girls have always used that door to enter to lay their eggs. I'm wondering if I change doors will they figure it out. I don't wanna start looking in the yard for eggs. What do you think? Wish I would of done this from the get go. Seems it would be safer for the hens. Nothing could see them in the coop laying their eggs.
     
  8. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    NJ
    My birds have access back in the coop during the day, precisely for the reason of egg laying.

    Feed thievery by chipmunks, squirrels and ground hogs have been witnessed. Guess which bird chases away the invaders? Not the top birds in the order, but the lowest and youngest. I have big expectation when she matures.
     
  9. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    My coop stays open all day long while my girls roam the fenced in yard. But I go out frequently during the day to collect eggs and talk to them. The only predator is my kitty cat that likes to go in and eat the chicken feed.[​IMG] I check the coop early in the evening for any nasties before they put them selfs to bed.
     
  10. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anderson, Texas
    Quote:I talk to mine as well but their kinda like my son they never listen.
     

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