Putting chickens up at night


11 Years
Jun 3, 2008
Just north of Raleigh
Well, here's a newbie question, but why do people lock up their chickens at night? Is it because they free-range and need a little guidance to learn how to go in the coop at night and stay protected? I'm trying to decide if I should install a pop door and do the same, but I'm thinking no and would like to hear other opinions.

I have 6 BRs that moved outside last week at 4 weeks old. Here's a picture of my chicken tractor - they don't free range, we just move the tractor around. I still have an 85W red flood light in the coop end, and at night, they've always just gone in there on their own. Last night I forgot to plug the light in, and this morning they were all cuddled up together, but out on the grass. Apparently they had forgotten they slept in the coop for the previous 7 nights, derrr! As soon as I showed up, they were all about the food, ha ha! (They always have food and water in the run part of the tractor.)

So I guess no harm, no foul (fowl? ha ha!)


HR Patterson

11 Years
Feb 10, 2008
Gravity, PA
Mainly we put our chickens up at night for protection from predators. We lost 9 birds to a weasel over the course of 3 nights before I could weasel proof the coop. If not for the predators I would let them out whenever. The people we got the flock from did not "lock" them in and lost some to an opossom just before we got them. It would be your personal preference and how secure you feel they are at night as to whether you lock them up or not. We have some "young" ones (25 weeks) that still do not know that we want them in the coop at night and roost on our grill (little do they know!) and need to be carried into the coop. This has become a nightly ritual for the last 10 weeks, so I can't say whether you can "train" the stubborn ones to go or not.


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Mar 25, 2008
You really do need lock your chickens in at night to protect them from all the hungry predators that go hunting at night. Even if you've been lucky enough to never have a problem, sooner or later a predator will find the buffet. Mine get locked up tight every night!


11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
Floorless chicken tractors are like a buffet on wheels to a predator. They'll be under that in 10mins or less. Then if your chickens aren't in the wooden half or the predator is small enough to fit through that door you'll have no chickens come morning. We lost guinea pigs because we had a setup similar to chicken tractors for them to eat grass. It wasn't even over night. We were just inside eating supper and in that time a dog dug a huge hole under the edge and killed the guinea pigs who weren't smart enough to run into the solid wooden part.


The Crazy Chicken Lady
Apr 22, 2008
upstate SC
Even though my tractors have wire underneath them so predators can't dig under and get in, I still close and lock them in the coop for the night. I do not want anything to be even remotely tempted to try and do harm to my chickens.
All my free rangers go up at dark and I lock them in also. I try to make them as raccoon proof as possible. Those little hands can undo a latch like a human so mine have locks with keys hanging near and bolted to the wall on a chain. If those little boogers ever learn to put the key in the lock and open it, I may get a bit frightened myself.


11 Years
Sep 15, 2008
Big Sur, CA
Now I always lock them in at night...one time i brought home some new bantams and didn't want to introduce them yet...it was summer, so they slept 1 night in the "secure" run (dug in fencing, fencing over top) the next night they were gone, fencing pried off of a post
...always lock them in at night! I'll have the neighbor kids do it if I'm staying out late for a movie...always locked up tight!!!


The Great Guru of Yap
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
The Carpal Tunnel Rehab Center
To keep them away from predators and to keep them comfortable. We have some pretty sizable temperature swings here where I live, 110 in the summer, 30 in the winter (day temps), so we have ours set up for cooling in the summer and heat in the winter.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom