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Can I Leave the Chicken Coop Door Open Overnight?


Like every other animal or pet, you will need to take good care of chickens. Additionally, as a chicken owner, you need to know their necessities to be able to keep them safe and comfortable. Have you ever wondered if you can leave the chicken coop door open overnight? If you have, I will answer the question right now.

The chicken coop door or any other entrance should not be left open at night. Leaving the chicken coop door open would make it easy for predators to attack the chickens and eat or harm them. Also, human intruders could steal your chickens.

If you are looking for tips to protect your flock, you are at the perfect place, keep reading to learn more about this.

Do Chickens Need A Closed Coop?

Yes, chickens need closed coops. A door is always the alternative to this. However, you should never create a door that is too big for your chickens. Here are the reasons why chickens need smaller sized doors:

  1. Small doors can maintain warmth: Big doors can let rain and cold temperatures into the coop. If your chickens get exposed to these conditions, they can get sick and, in the worst case, die.
  2. Small doors can bring them the required privacy: Chickens are picky when they need to lay eggs. They cannot concentrate if you have an oversized door because it makes them feel exposed and uncomfortable. Also, when they lay eggs, they need to be warm.
  3. A big door will not protect your chickens: If your chicken’s coop door is as big as the coop, it will not be as effective in protecting them from predators, cold temperatures, or wind rafts.

You can read my other article on the topic if you want to learn more about chickens coops.

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At What Time Should I Lock My Chickens Up At Night?

You should lock your chickens a little after dusk or when the sun goes down. Chickens start sleeping when the night arrives, and you should not worry if you lock them about an hour after the sun goes down.

Chickens usually sleep many hours compared to humans. They sleep approximately fifteen to sixteen hours, meaning that they sleep right after the sun goes down. Another fact is that they can sleep longer if they do not see any light because they wake up with the sunrise.

Should I Leave The Coop Door Open During The Day?

Like the majority of animals and pets, chickens follow strict routines. You should open the coop at a specific hour early in the morning and let them out during the day.

As you already know, they spend too many hours at night locked up in the coop, so if you do not open the door coop for them, they will be in the cage for a whole day.

Can Chickens Stay In The Coop All Through The Day?

Yes, leaving your chickens inside the coop during the day should not worry you as long as they have everything they need.

Listed below, you can see what your chickens need inside the coop:

  • They need at least 3 square feet per chicken inside the coop.
  • They need natural or artificial light because it helps them to figure out when they will sleep or wake up. Also, they need light because chickens lay eggs with a photoperiod process, meaning that it starts or activates with light. You can buy a light that turns on at a particular time or with a timer.
  • They need enough food and water containers, these should be sufficient to last them for a whole day.
  • When they are laying eggs, they need at least 12 to 14 hours of light.

Related article: Can Chickens Stay in the Coop All Day? (Plan your next trip)

Do Chickens Feel Scared If I Keep Them Locked In The Coop At Night?

Chickens will not be scared of the coop. But they can feel scared of the dark. Surprisingly, chickens are afraid of too much darkness. When they are all locked up with no light at all, they can barely see.

This happens because their vision is not that great (they are nearly blind at night), meaning they would not be able to know if something that could attack them is near them. At the same time, too much darkness can give them the feeling of being locked up in a cave, which is something scary for them.

In fact, chickens fear many things, as I explain in this other article.

Are Chickens Awake Or Active At Night?

Chickens are not that active at night. Chickens sleep for many hours at night, meaning they are active during the day. In some cases, they can be active at night, but only if they have artificial lighting or when the sun sets too late.

For instance, if you live in a place where the sun goes down very late (i.e., 9 pm), your chickens can stay active because they will think that the day is still going.

Will My Chickens Return To The Coop At Night?

Chickens are very routine-oriented. If they are accustomed to a particular routine, they will follow it daily without a doubt. This means that they will automatically go or return to the coop after they feel the night has arrived.

You can also train them with specific commands like ringing a bell or repetitively offering them treats until they learn the process. This should not be hard because they can get used to it in a relatively short lapse of time.

Why Are My Chickens Not Returning To The Coop At Night Or Do Not Want To Enter It?

If your chickens are already trained or are used to returning to the coop every day and do not want to enter it, something can be wrong. If they refuse entirely to enter, something dangerous or that could put them in danger is happening inside the coop.

If this is happening, you can enter the coop yourself and check everything, keeping a close eye on every detail, as you should not put yourself at risk either. Two main reasons can tell you what might be happening.

Here are those reasons:

  1. The coop might be infested: Bugs, parasites, mice, rats, mites, and other animals can enter your chicken’s coop and invade it. You should always clean and check them so that they don’t get too dirty. Keeping chickens in filthy coops makes them extremely unhappy.
  2. A predator can be inside the coop: This can be highly risky for your chickens and for you. If your chickens refuse to enter, a fox or another animal may be inside the coop. If you want to avoid or prevent things like this, you can buy a solid wired mesh that can keep animals from getting into your poor chicken’s coop.

Which Animals Are Chicken Predators?

Here you can see the list of animals that can attack, stalk, and kill your chickens. Beware of these animals:

  • Coyotes
  • Dogs
  • Foxes
  • Hawks
  • Mink
  • Owls
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes
  • Weasels
  • Possums

What Should I Do If I Cannot Close The Chicken Coop Every Night?

You can buy or create an automatic door for these types of situations because you should not leave your chickens with an open door. This can cost you quite a bit (check the price on Amazon), so you need to take good care of them. You can control an electric door even if you are far away from home or your farm.

Another alternative is asking a neighbor to do it every time you are far away from your chickens.

Final Thoughts

To summarize and conclude everything, my suggestion is never to leave the chicken’s coop door open because things like cold temperatures, wind, predators, and other animals can infest the coop. If you want to protect your chickens and keep them alive, please close the door every night.

Even if chickens can survive without a coop, it’s better to have the best environment to keep your flock happy 🙂

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Patrick FROMAGET

I want to share everything I know about chickens to help you take better care of yours! I grew up raising chickens at home and have learned a lot over the years. I hope you'll find my articles useful and learn something from them.

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