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Should I lock up my chickens the entire day?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SCOUT123, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're planning to go out of town tomorrow, and the chickens can't stand being locked up. I don't have a run for them; it's only a little coop with barely enough moving space (I only have two chickens). They free range all day, and I have a desk right in front of the yard to "supervise" them. They only sleep and lay eggs in their little coop. Opossums have been coming around since it's getting cold lately, and I'm afraid to let them out unguarded for so long, but when they get locked up they squawk. Really loudly. So we're planning to keep them in the garage and lock them up there. Would this work? It's really dark in the garage, and I'm afraid they'll lose their minds being in the dark so long. What should I do?
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Really it would be best to lock them up securely. Predators are much braver if there is no activity around. They may squawk, but they will be alive to squawk another day.

    Mrs K
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey there SCOUT123

    Yeah, that is a tough one!

    How long are you going to be gone? Will you be home before nightfall? I am just thinking that if you leave them out all day and do not get home before they go to roost and there is no automatic door, they are going to be defenceless against night time predators with the door open on the coop?

    Do you have electricity to the garage? Is there any way you can set up a light for them?

    I have found that a radio can sometimes help with relaxing them and hopefully reduce their need to squawk.

    No neighbours who might be able to watch/listen during the day and then close their coop door once they have gone to bed?

    In your situation, I would also consider a room in the house maybe? Bathroom?

    If you do lock them in the coop, is there enough room to give them some things to keep them amused? Corn cob, head of cabbage or some brussel sprouts to peck at, kick around etc [​IMG]

    I agree with Mrs. K, one day of squawking is preferable to the alternative.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    if your coop is 2 ft. by 4 ft. or 3ft. by 3 ft. , that's enough room for the 2 birds. keep them in the coop. Make sure they have fresh air. Give them a small head of cabbage to peck at while you are gone. Fresh water and feed. You only need 3 to 4 sq. ft. per bird in the coop.
    They will be fine.
    Best,
    karen
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  5. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have electricity to the garage? Is there any way you can set up a light for them?
    There is electricity to the garage - there's a lamp - but my parents are afraid to keep it on all night. We'll be back within a day or so, but definitely not before nightfall.

    No neighbours who might be able to watch/listen during the day and then close their coop door once they have gone to bed?
    Nope, no neighbors [​IMG]

    In your situation, I would also consider a room in the house maybe? Bathroom?
    We have a little.. yard..? (don't know how else to describe it) that is closed off by our house. It 's little space that is only accessible through the house. I'm afraid, however, that the sun might directly be shining down that place at some times, and my parents don't want to move the coop there. It will get down to the forties at night as well. I was thinking of just taking their little nestbox to the closed area (because they always preferred sleeping on top of the nestbox as well), but with no coop to shield them from whatever, will they do ok? We also have a little sandbox thing with tomato plants in it and I'm afraid they might eat the plants. I don't particularly care about the plants - I just care whether the chickens will be poisoned or not. The top of this little area is also not closed off. Also I don't know if the chickens will know to hop on their nestbox, since it won't be in their coop, when the night falls. But theyll be able to move around and complain freely. Or I could convince my parents to just put the coop there. That's option 1.
    Option 2 is the garage. If they go into the garage, they will be locked into their coop and probably not be able to see anything at all. It will be warmer in there and probably muffle the squawking, but I don't want the dark to drive them crazy. Or for them to hurt themselves. The last time I locked them into the coop all day one of them hurt her foot and lost her voice. Which of these sound better?
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  6. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is around 2x4, i think.
     
  7. laircy

    laircy Out Of The Brooder

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    Whenever I feel bad about locking up my chickens early because we'll be gone in the evening (had to do this a couple times, not often though) I remember they have much better lives than the chickens that have to live in tiny cages their whole life in the egg factories. You say "no neighbors" so perhaps it'll be okay if they squawk, it won't bother anyone. Or if there are neighbors who will get annoyed, well they could have helped put them back in at night... Just give them some treats and distractions. They'll be okay.
     
  8. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can opossums climb walls? For now weve decided to put them in the place out in the open but fenced off.
     
  9. laircy

    laircy Out Of The Brooder

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    They can climb trees, and I think I've seen them on top of walls before.
     
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Opossums are nocturnal and come out at night.....You can let them out during the day as you supervise.....Lock up like Fort Knox at night......


    Cheers!
     

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