When do you open your coop doors?

Chad the Chicken Man

10 Years
Jul 22, 2009
Belleville, WI
I live in wisconsin and right now when im leaving for work around 6.30 AM the sun is just starting to come up, so its still pretty dark. is it ok to let my chickens free range. i dont have a run yet, and the only other time they would be able to get let out is arounf 1:30 PM when my girlfriend gets home. I just want to make sure its ok. i always let my dogs out for 15-20 mins before i leave at 6:30 so i hope that would scare off any raccoons. any tips or advice would be great, thanks so much!!!
Chad...you can let them do whatever works for you realizing that if they are out, they are vulnerable.

i let mine out as soon as i am up and out there. i am home all day, but that doesn't stop predators and tons of mine are pastured. i let them do as they please and i also know Mrs. Red Tail Hawk does as she pleases also. as well as dogs, possums etc. do also.

it is just part of the territory. you just never say never and go on with it if you feel you can.
Hey Neighbor! I let mine out at 6am AND letting the dog out for a while before is exactly what I do. Scares away any pred that is close by at all. We have a small fox that sits on the top of our hill (live out on 20 acres in country) and he is LONG gone by the time my boxer gets done with him
I wouldn't worry...the should be just fine. I have had mine for over a year now and never had one predator attack (except neighbors dog that is) ever. If you leave them in the coop until 1:30 they may not lay as well for ya either.
If we are not home, the chickens are not out. If they are out, and we leave, even for 30 minutes to run to the grocery store, the chickens are rounded up and put back in the run. We have a lot of stray dogs that seems to always show up at our house while we are not home. Can't deal with their unpredictability.

That said, they do free range often out of sight of me, and sometimes I have to go out and call them, so they can check in. lol! I think it just depends on what you are comfortable doing.
I let mine out as soon as I get up in the morning. They are free to roam all day, even if I'm not home.
Nighttime is a different story. If I know we aren't going to be home by dusk I make arrangements for a neighbor to come lock them in the coop. All he has to do is come and lock the door, the chooks put themselves to bed.
I tend to mix it up a bit. Sometimes coop door is open all night and sometimes I close it. If I close it I usually get up around 8am to let them out after dog has run the place. I will be more concerned in winter than now as coyotes are more of a worry then. We have no smaller predators but we do have the flyers hawks and eagles.
Mine free range during the day. They don't have a run. They have a huge building as a coop. I let them out about 9:30ish AM, and they do as they please. I won't let them out too early in the morning because we have too many night time predators still up in the early AM.

I may loose a couple from time to time, but it's par for the course. I lost one just the other day, not from a predator mind you, but from my own fenced in dog. ( he likes to stalk things, which is why he is fenced in)
One of my buff orps got too close to the fence, and he snuck up on her
She wasn't as fast as the our other girls. She was too big.

Ours get let out of the coops between 6 and 8 a.m. depending on who lets them out. They free range all day and are heading to bed about half an hour before dusk. When everyone's in the doors get locked. We have some really good barn watch cats that keep an eye on the flock, and a couple of them have been seen attacking the occasional interloper. Even have a couple of cats we have to carry out of the coops once in a while. I've found them napping with the chickens on a few chilly drizzly days.

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