Who does or does not close their door to the chicken coop


In the Brooder
Dec 21, 2015
Do you close your door every day to your coop? My coop is on the small side (backyard city chickens) cannot fit no more than 6. It has a run attached to it that is 100% surrounded with wire, bricks and logs. Nothing is going to come thru cuz the wire is the itty bitty holes of hardcloth wire. There is also an open fenced in run for my girls. Not only that but our whole yard is surrounded by a fence. Due to evening events that seem to be nearly every day, during the school year, we are not home for the hens bedtime. I put them in the smaller 100% enclosed run attached to coop. There is a smaller bowl of food n water for them in this run. There have been more times than I have liked that the door has been left open, we get home really late. At first I was concern but now wondering if it's not a real bad thing. This way no one has to be up and out the door to let them out. They can hang out in their little enclosed run (yes, it's be enough for six) until one of us gets out there to let them into the larger area. Also we live in an region were our low is mid 20s. Summers are a bigger problem than the cold.


Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon

I don't have an actual door between my main coop and run, just a few openings in the coop walls. My run itself isn't predator proof, but I have multiple layers of protection including fences, my dogs and neighbor's dogs. I've not lost a bird to a predator (except my own darn barn cats) in years.

I think everyone needs to make their own risk vs benefit analysis on this matter. '

There are also automatic doors many folks seem to love.

The Lazy L

9 Years
Dec 16, 2011
Do you close your door every day to your coop?

No I do not. I did but when the automatic control malfunction and kept them lock in the coop all day, Lady's were mad! Plus I also have a secured run. Going on 4 years and Lady's haven't been attacked.

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Free Ranging
12 Years
Oct 16, 2010
That's a nice space Lazy L. It's a lot of work predator proofing a large run- looks good.

My thoughts on coops is if you don't lock the door at night then don't bother building a coop. What is a coops purpose? Providing some shelter is easier to do with tarps or tin than building a small building. The main purpose of a coop is predator protection. If the door is left open then don't bother building a coop. Build a predator proof run and put up a few tarps for foul weather.

The savings in not building a coop would be put to a predator proof aviary. I think we all would agree a run door is closed every night. Predator protection. Personally I'm all about moving the birds to fresh grazing. I do this with a coop and electric poultry netting. Both are portable. The electric keeps out all land predators excepting weasel and the coop with door closed keeps them and owls out at night.
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Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon
That was kind of my thought, too, Egghead. My main coop I referred to above is an old greenhouse we turned into a coop, then added the run a few years later when I decided to quit free ranging.

When it came time to build more pens, I went with an open style. In my climate, they don't need an enclosed space, just shade and something to break the wind and rain. My tarps failed but we put up some sheet metal to tide us over til we move and get to re-build. My next coops will be open style also, unless the property we purchase has an appropriate building already on site. I don't see the point of making a small enclosed space in my situation, but not everyone has my climate or different levels of predator deterrent.


The Jam Man
Jan 23, 2013
Pocono Mtns
My Coop
My Coop
I used to keep my chickens in a secured coop and run with an automatic door between the two that would open at dawn and close at dusk. After a while, I decided to let them begin free ranging on the property and opened the human door to the run each morning and closed it each night, and the automatic door would lock them in the coop. After a while the automatic door began failing, and I got tired of running out there to open it, close it, and trying to make it work properly, so I just removed it, and they had 24/7 access between the coop and run. Then, as human nature would have it, I got tired of going out each morning and evening to close the human door, especially in rain, snow and freezing temps, so I cut a chicken door into the run, fashioned a metal door on a track connected to a rope and tied off on a cleat on the door frame of my dining room deck. Now, I just open the door, tie up the rope, and they have access to the property. When they return to the coop in the evening, I let the door down. I've lost a few to predators when they have been free ranging (2 or 3 over the past year), but I am beginning to believe they are much happier now, and that is a risk I am, and I think they are, willing to take for freedom and real chicken activities. I have never lost one when they were inside the run or coop. A raccoon did try to get in through an open window one night, but the hardware cloth stopped him.

Old Philosopher

Jan 13, 2016
Rocky Mountain Trench
I have a door system very similar to MoonShadows'. My flock goes to bed when it gets dark, and I close the door. If I need to bed them down early, I tell 'em, "Time for bed! Get in your house!", and my rooster herds the ladies into the coop.

While predators are a minor concern, I keep them in their coop until mid-morning for another reason. There are 3 other flocks of chickens all within 1000 yds of each other. When all the roosters in the neighborhood start going off at 5:00 am, each trying to make more noise than the others, it can be pretty...annoying. My coop is virtually soundproof, so keeping my flock inside until I make my morning rounds keeps my rooster from waking up the world.


5 Years
Oct 22, 2014
I don't, but I do have a secure, predator-proof, enclosed pen.

As for why I bothered building a coop in the first place - I *intended* to have four chickens in a 40-sq-ft walk-in coop with a 60-square-foot predator-proof run attached. So that's what I built them. Then I ended up with nine chickens who were taking over half my back yard, so I built an aviary (enclosed with hardware cloth) around that half of the yard. Now they have a 40-sq-ft coop, a 60-sq-ft run, and 590 square feet of yard space. And I'm looking for a new spot for my food garden.

I also intended to close them in every night, and did until there were nine of them and they started being real impatient about breakfast. They're up at 7 and I get up at 7:30; I find that they let me sleep till my alarm rings if I leave the coop and run doors open so they can forage in the big pen before I get out there with their breakfast. (I tried feeders, but in this hot and humid climate the feed would rot in the container.)
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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 16, 2015
My coop is half of a 40x40 pole building, my large fowl chickens can come and go as they please, they have no actual run, my bantam have a run, if the weather isn't too bad the pop hole stays open, I try to close the run door most nights.

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