Would you leave your coop open at night?


12 Years
Feb 21, 2007
My wife and I are having a semi-disagreement, and I wanted to see what people here would do in this situation.

We have two Great Pyrenees guarding our flock of chickens. The dogs have been wonderful at protection; we haven't lost a chicken to predation (except me at dinnertime!) since we got them. They sleep right outside the coop door most nights, and as far as I know, keep all the night-time critters away. They do an excellent job, but they're still technically puppies at 8 months old.

I'm very fastidious about making sure the coop is closed and locked every night when the chickens go in, to the point of being kind of picky about it. On the rare occasions that we're out as it's getting dark, I get more and more spazzy about getting home to make sure the coop is shut up for the night.

This is where our disagreement is. My wife thinks with the dogs it would be safe to leave the coop open every night. I don't think it would necessarily be unsafe, but I feel like it's tempting fate.

If you have (or have had) LGDs protecting your chickens, do you still lock them up tight at night?

Chauntecleer's Keeper

10 Years
Feb 28, 2009
West Little Rock, AR
The only way you will really know is to try it for a couple of nights. If it works you will be free from worring about that door. My "guard" plugs in and will really get your attention. Since I put that hot wire on the top of my fence, I dont have to worry about shutting the door. I had a few nervous nights when I first started leaving the door open though. I promise you will not miss shutting the door at night. Let us know how it works out.


10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
Boondocks, Colorado
I am lazy. Our coop is only 15 ft or so from the door, and I never close them up. i dont even close them up in the pen, they are truly completely free range.

We have a German Shepherd and we have never had anything get them. Except our other dog, who we lost about 10 to before we realized what was up. Since she has been gone, we have not lost one. He keeps them very safe.

Our coop doesnt even have a door on it, and they were fine, even in the winter when the predators would have been extra hungry. We have done this for over 6 month with no losses.

I would not ever recommend this to anyone. It was at our own risk we do this, and we knew it. You would just have to try it and accept the fact that something could happen.

We also live in an area where any coyotes that are seen are shot at, so they have a very healthy respect for people, that would also make a difference.

If I were you, I would not hesitate. But that is just me!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
I thought my hens were safe for 2 years.

Just a few days ago raccoons killed 2 of the 6.

And I didn't even know raccoons were abundant in my area!


11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
Somewhere in between. I wouldn't worry so much about being late to close the coop if your not home. Relax. The dogs can do their job and what are the odds something will show up to get them in that time. However leaving it open all night every night just cause you don't feel like going to close it seems dumb to me. It's an unnecessary risk. Just close it when you get home or it's convenient for you so that the risk is minimal and you aren't stressing over it.


12 Years
Apr 29, 2007
Yeah I agree, if you have something to do at night... do it. That's what the dogs are for. I still lock my coop up every night but sometimes I don't do it till 10:00 or 11:00 but it's habbit. I pitty the animal that tries to sneak past this gentle giant at heart.... but she can be very viscous when it comes to predators and anything hurting her livestock/chickens.



11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
Lexington, Kentucky
I would still close the door, just to be safe rather than sorry.

Something got one of my birds last night when I forgot to close the coop door for the first time ever, and it ripped her head off. We don't have dogs outside though, they sleep inside.

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