Will me chickens be safe?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chickenlady12, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. chickenlady12

    chickenlady12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    28
    1
    62
    Dec 9, 2013
    Hi Everyone. I have a small coop -- 5 feet long by 4 feet wide by about 2 feet high -- raised off the ground on legs. I have a ramp up to the door, which opens into a run of about 10 feet wide by 10 feet long by 4 feet high, surrounded by chicken wire and covered with clear plastic roofing. We lost a few chickens to disease and are left with two nice hardy ones. It has been our practice to close and latch the coop door every night for the chickens' safety. Once or twice it wasn't latched properly and they busted out into the run in the morning but nothing happened to them. My question is, does everyone think it's necessary for me to latch them in every night? The run is pretty well constructed, and while cats and hawks have come to stare hungrily at the chickens a few times, nothing has ever gotten in. We are going out of town for the weekend, and I'd have to find someone to let them in and out every day. I'd still like to have someone come check on them once or twice and make sure their water isn't frozen and get the eggs, but do you think they would otherwise be safe? Thanks.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Chicken wire and plastic is no match for raccoons, or a plethora of other hungry predators.
     
  3. GentFarmer

    GentFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    This one all comes down to personal opinion and what you're comfortable with. If you're wanting to know from everyone if their safety can be guaranteed, it's a "no" across the board. I'll share my experience, however. Just know that YMMV.

    I live up in the mountains. Predators here include everything from weasels to mountain lions. And that's not including avian predators like the Cooper's Hawks and owls that frequent the place. As is, I have a coop inside a chain-link run, inside a larger chain-link yard, inside a wooden privacy fence (honestly, it's a maze constructed by previous tenants.). When I first moved in, I covered the smallest run with chicken wire, and I was religious about closing both the outer run door (originally a dog run) and the coop doors, and latching both. As the chickens started growing, they wanted out earlier and earlier, so I started leaving half of their coop door open (I built it with a dutch door). Then, I started leaving both the coop door and the run door open so they can get up and forage in the larger enclosed yard at will. And after a recent storm, I took off the chicken wire.

    In more than a year, I've not had anything come anywhere near the yard. Does that mean they won't? Nope. But I've grown comfortable enough with both my flock, my setup, AND predator patterns to feel like I'm still in my comfort zone. Currently, I'm 20+ miles away at work, and my chickens are out and about enjoying the yard. If and when I lose one to a predator, my philosophy is rather pragmatic. As much as I love my hens, I know that they are having fuller chicken lives than 99% of chickens elsewhere. And I know I've done what I can to make them comfortable and safe without spending my time going overboard.
     
  4. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,629
    37
    153
    Jul 1, 2012
    New Jersey
    Chicken wire can easily be pulled apart. If you change it to hardware cloth, then I think it would be ok to not latch them up. But for now, close them in at night.
     
  5. GentFarmer

    GentFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes. I should have included that the coop windows and dutch door are covered with hardware cloth. For a predator to have gotten in, it would have had to get through a wooden fence, a chain link fence, another chain link fence, then hardware cloth and/or the coop itself. Anything that made it through all that deserved a chicken. lol
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by