Question about Leaving Chickens


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 14, 2009
North Carolina
I have a silly question...

We are building a coop and will have a closed in run with a cover. With that type of setup, will we have to close the chickens in the coop each night or can we just leave the coop open and let them go from coop to run at will?


Chook Norris
11 Years
Jul 7, 2008
Palm Springs, California
well, in just my opionion, it all depends on the details of how well your coop is built and the level of prededor activity you have. I have a VERY sturdy coop and run connected to each other just for that purpose, and i leave them on their own for a few days at atime on occasion. I just have a neighbor check in peridically and remove the eggs (which he may keep as payment) and check there are no emergencies occuring. I have feeders and waterers which are able to provide clean food and water for 7 days unattended but i always leave a bag on hand for the neighbor just in case the need should arrise. I have yet to have any issues and it seens to work well. I leave the pop door open 24/7 when i travel. That being said, you do of course increase the risk when you do this.


11 Years
Apr 30, 2008
east freetown, ma
several years ago I had that setup and lost my flock to a fox, now I lock them up at night.

But am thinking about building a breeding coop where they would go in and out of the coop and run but this time I'm going to bury wire into the ground around the coop
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In the Brooder
11 Years
Dec 19, 2008
Memphis TN
Our Pen/Run area is enclosed. I allow for our chickens to come and go as they please from the coop. In Winter I still leave it open only covering the larger window of our coop to protect them from the cold.

It's funny they all fight over who gets to sit in front of the door at night!



10 Years
Feb 12, 2009
Western North Carolina
I always recommend locking up the chickens at night. That's when they are most vulnerable to a number of predators. Leaving the door open screams "come on in". I have posted this pic before, but it is my opinion to lock up and be safe....


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
If your run will be pretty sincerely digproof and the "cover" will consist of a strongly-engineered solid roof or a very strongly supported top of nothing larger than 2x4 welded wire mesh, then you can play weasel roulette and take the risk.

Otherwise, you are just laying a buffet for predators. Raccoons can climb pretty much anything you're likely to build, and coyotes and foxes can dig under, and weasels can get through a 1" gap.

The thing is, once predators KNOW there is free chicken dinner to be had, it becomes MUCH harder to keep them out in the future.

So IMHO there is a whole big lot to be said for locking them into the house at night, even if you *think* you really have a pretty predatorproof run (meaning with a solid or 2x4-wire top as per above)

Good luck,



11 Years
Aug 21, 2008
Land of OZ
My coop is inside of our run also. The run is on concrete (no digging there) and completely covered with chicken wire. Dog stands guard over night. On nights above 30 degrees, the pop door stays open for them to come and go as please. I open the run during the day to let them freerange. My predator level is low here.


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
IMO, the safest place for a chicken at night is in a secure coop. No matter how secure you make a run it will never be a secure as a coop with solid walls and a solid floor.

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