Question about coop use at night

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by newTexan2chickens, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. newTexan2chickens

    newTexan2chickens Chirping

    Jun 15, 2010
    I have read lots of threads on here about putting your chicks into the coop at night and I was wondering if that is a MUST? I have a coop and run/yard that all the chickens go into at night but many of them seem to prefer to roost in the high roosts of the run rather than going into the coop. I know it is hot here right now and I do have ventilation but they stay in the run. Is this a bad thing? The run pictured has hardware cloth all the way up with additional welded wire to about 4 ft. The entire thing has a 24" skirt that is buried. I have had no attempted attacks on the coop/run at night (did find some coon prints) but have had 2 attacks during the day by dogs... one successful where the dog pulled the plywood off the coop- reinforced with 2x4 and 2x6 for his next attempt which ended in defeat.

    So my question is.... do I have to run them into the coop at night or is the run/yard okay?


  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well obviously you don't HAVE to do anything. Some totally freerange, and whoever makes it in for the night does, and whoever hangs out in a tree all night, Pop doors aren't shut and whatever happens, happens. Then on the opposite side, some folk actually put locks on their coop run AND housing, including pop doors. If your run is covered ON TOP with sturdy wire...not just chicken wire (I couldn't tell from your pics, although it looked covered with tarp), I'd think your birds would be pretty daggone safe. After all, some people's coops are basically secure pens with open shelters. But if you don't have wire on top of your run, then just be aware of the risks of eventually losing some chickens.

    Edited for clarity
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  3. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    It certainly sounds like your run area, is more secure than most... I suppose you are always taking a chance, if the chickens are not in a locked coop. In your position (particularly in the hot weather) I think I would let them stay outside..JMO.
  4. rcentner

    rcentner Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    As long as you feel they are safe from predation, I would let them "chill" outside. I bet it's super hot in texas right now and I bet it's just that much cooler outside the coop at night.
  5. newTexan2chickens

    newTexan2chickens Chirping

    Jun 15, 2010
    The hardware cloth runs all the way to the roof (cuz my husband hates snakes) and is sandwiched between 2x4's with the welded wire attached to the outside. The roof is R panel because I didn't want my chickes to get wet and they needed shade.... my DH thinks I am demented but he is willing to build whatever to keep me quiet!

    They do get to forage outside during the afternoon when we are home to watch them but don't stray far.... maybe over an acre tops. And they all go back into the run/yard at night if they want to or not!

    Taylor is our official chicken herder.... he showed up about 4 weeks ago and hasn't left!

  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It is purely a personal decision, depending on your risk tolerance and your confidence in your run. I choose to lock mine up in a coop at night but I am confident my run is not 100% predator proof. I also have a fairly small flock of laying hens right now (6) so a loss of one or two would be fairly significant. My burial plot contains the remains of raccoon, skunk, and possom so I know the predators are around. My choice is actually pretty easy for me. But we all have different situations so ourdecisions willbe different.

    Good luck whichever way you decide.
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Sounds like your run is as secure as many coops. Given the night-time temps there right now, I think you don't need to herd your chickens back into the coop NOW.

    And what luck with Taylor! Of all the breeds of dog to just show up and adopt you, a border collie (mix or not) is the perfect herder. And so easily trained, and SO very smart!

  8. newTexan2chickens

    newTexan2chickens Chirping

    Jun 15, 2010
    I will just let the girls roost as they will then. Since my 1 break in has been through the coop I guess I don't see it as any more secure.

    And yes we were lucky with Taylor. I work PT for a vet and actually turned down a lady that wanted to take him because my DH has really taken to him. He is a great worker too.... guarding those chickies is hard work cuz they want to scatter and he wants to herd!
  9. babyblue

    babyblue Songster

    Sep 23, 2009
    your run sounds very secure. in your case with a run so secure I would feel just fine about letting them in it at night. even to think of it this way.. if that dog ripped the coop apart if they could at least get into the run it would be more room for them to get away and up high out of the dogs reach.
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Without a top on the pen it is possible for fox, coon, coyotes, etc. to scale the fence. An electric fence would solve this problem; however, your chickens would still be vulnerable to attacks by a great horned owl. I understand the reluctance to coop them up in the excessive heat.

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