Open or closed door at night?

UrbnGardenPeeps

Songster
Apr 28, 2017
97
178
106
Moscow, ID
Question - I live in the suburbs and my three girls, who are about 12 weeks old, have thus far been living in a renovated, stick built garden shed with 1/4" hardware mesh over 2 windows and a wood floor. We have a creek a block and a half away that raccoons frequent. We have seen them on our front porch and in the trees of the neighbor's yard behind us. My big, white cat keeps them out of our fenced backyard and I've actually seen him chasing a raccoon away - which brought my heart to a near stop!

We are building a run for the chickies which will have 1/2" hardware cloth, aproning on the outside, 12" cement block base and corrugated, white plastic roof. The latches will be secure as well. Do I still need to shut the girls up in their coop at night or can they come and go as they please?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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If your run is truly secure than I personally would choose to leave the pop hole open, but it's a personal decision based on how you feel about the risks of doing so, and how well you trust your runs security.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,517
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Exactly, it's a personal decision. If you feel your run is totally secure, you can leave the door open.

Some typical weak points are the latches and gates. Your hardware like hinges need to be robust. The hardware cloth needs to be really secured, sometimes a critter can get a grip on an edge and rip it open. I use furring strips, pieces of wood screwed down over the edges of the hardware cloth, to secure it. I rip my furring strips from a 2x4 so they are about 1-1/2" wide and about 3/4" thick. I drill pilot holes to make installation easier and make sure the screws go through a hole in the hardware cloth. If the wood is soft so the screw head sinks in much I use a fender washer to make it even more secure. Clamp that down tight and it's extremely secure, plus the sharp edges of the wire is covered so I don't snag my clothing or skin.
 

jvls1942

Free Ranging
12 Years
Oct 16, 2008
13,200
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wausau,wisconsin
all good advice.
make sure there is not a hole large enough for a coon to put his little paw through.. they will reach in and grab a sleeping chicken , and you would be amazed at how far they can stretch their arm ..

raccoon are very strong. I had one in a trap and he bent a 3/16" rod trying to get out.. I had to use two pairs of pliers to straighten that rod ..

I wouldn't depend on your cat too much. he might do well on one coon, but if there are more than one, wellll..

.....jiminwisc.....
 

UrbnGardenPeeps

Songster
Apr 28, 2017
97
178
106
Moscow, ID
I wouldn't depend on your cat too much. he might do well on one coon, but if there are more than one, wellll..
.....jiminwisc.....
Good point! And believe me, there are more than one! I have seen a mom with 3 teenagers on our porch. Sometimes at night I can hear them trilling outside our window. We don't keep any garbage or cat food around to attract them but it's a pretty good environment for raccoons in our 'hood.

Some typical weak points are the latches and gates. Your hardware like hinges need to be robust.
That's a good point as well. I'll show your post to my hubby. We are going to use screws for the wood frame and the big staples that you have to hammer in for the cloth. We bought all the supplies last weekend and will hopefully get this all done by the end of this coming weekend. When I've got some finished, I'll post some pictures for critique.

If your run is truly secure than I personally would choose to leave the pop hole open, but it's a personal decision based on how you feel about the risks of doing so, and how well you trust your runs security.

Thanks! Maybe I'll get the BYC stamp of approval as to the security level once my run is done. :)
 

IZZYBELLA

Songster
7 Years
Jan 11, 2013
512
168
156
Maine
I always close my pop door to the run. I think it is probably overkill and I'd rather have the circulation, but I sleep better at night. I do leave the window that is covered with hardware cloth open in the summer. It sounds like your run will be very well constructed - good for you!!
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
78
216
Olympia WA
I have a very secure run and coop, but I have always closed the coop door at night, even though it is a big pain. With a quick look around to make sure everyone is inside. I haven't lost anything to predators in 9 years, even though our place is crawling with raccoons, stray dogs, etc..Found a raccoon living under the coop recently! I've forgotten a few times, and they are just fine, but it makes me feel better to "tuck them in".


I would not trust the plastic roof on it's own, put wire mesh or welded wire under it. Don't leave anything they can get their little paws on and pull, as they will. All the vents on my coop are very high up on the walls and double covered with mesh and welded wire. Other windows are thick acrylic plastic.
 
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UrbnGardenPeeps

Songster
Apr 28, 2017
97
178
106
Moscow, ID
I always close my pop door to the run. I think it is probably overkill and I'd rather have the circulation, but I sleep better at night. I do leave the window that is covered with hardware cloth open in the summer. It sounds like your run will be very well constructed - good for you!!
Thanks! I'm an overkill sort of person too!

I would not trust the plastic roof on it's own, put wire mesh or welded wire under it.

Good tip, thank You!
 

BYChickenAl

Chirping
Apr 7, 2017
67
70
91
Troy, IL USA
All my girls go in on their own every night about the same time. I just make sure they're in their usual spots and close/lock the gate. We let them back out in the morning or we move them to our mobile pen. I've trapped several raccoons and re-homed them many miles away. They do try to dig under my coop and run but I have chicken wire buried and it works as a great deterrent. Give a critter an opportunity and you'll likely lose your girls.
 

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