My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

I left the chicken coop door open all night

21 Comments

I had to go away for one night last weekend and I had been agonising over what I was going to do with the chickens.

The big chickens live in the big coop that has a h0use and a run. The teenage chicks live in a slightly smaller coop that also has a house and run. Each night just on sunset, they all put themselves to bed in their respective coops. After they are safely tucked into bed, I go out and close the run doors so nothing can get in and get the chickens while they are sleeping.

I have no idea what I think here in New Zealand is actually going to get into my chicken coops and hurt my chickens but nevertheless, I like to shut the coops up at night. The only real night time predator living in New Zealand that would attack a chicken is probably a weasel or a stoat and I don’t think there are many of them around. I guess a stray and very hungry feral cat may harm the chickens at night.

But because I was going away for only one night. I decided to take my chicken friend’s advice and leave the coop doors open while I was away.

I felt bad leaving my chickens in such a vulnerable situation but I felt I had no choice and I was willing to take the risk.

So as we drove up the driveway at the end of the two days, I eagerly peered over towards the coop. All looked normal. Then I quickly got out of the car (barely waiting for it to come to a stop) and went out to find (and count) the chickens and chicks. Three chickens (Hannah, Helen and Hilda) and five chicks (Harry, Howie, Hedvig, Harriet and Hazel) all accounted for and happy to see me.

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21 thoughts on “I left the chicken coop door open all night

  1. You’re so brave. I’ve never done what you did though, in Sydney, there isn’t a lot that would bother my chickens either. We do have foxes but I’ve never seen one or seen evidence of one. Still, I’d be nervous. In the beginning we even locked the coop though the run where the coop sits is fox proof. We just felt safer that way. I feel quite carefree by locking the run gate and leaving the coop open. You’re a step ahead of me.

  2. what a releif! glad all was well. x

  3. Wow. I felt my heart rate elevate until I got to the final count. Simply reading your title made me look out the window at my coop this morning to make sure my door hadn’t been left open over night. There would have been a massive slaughter if I tried that here in central Texas, U.S.

  4. We have to leave our henhouse door open when we go out of town also. I didn’t know we had foxes in our mini-ranchette neighborhood until we lost one of our girls to one of those sly creatures.

  5. I’m so glad it all turned out ok!

    Here in the Rocky Mountains we could never get away with that with all the foxes, coyotes, racoons, weasels, bobcats, bears, etc. When we have to leave overnight the hens have to be closed in the coop starting the moment we leave, even if it is early afternoon. I feel bad for them being closed in all day and night, but it’s for their own safety. And it doesn’t happen very often, so that makes me feel better. We do the same thing with the barn cats, dogs, and the cow and calf. It’s just too risky here.

    Glad you live somewhere your hens can have freedom AND safety!

  6. Thank goodness…..
    I was fearing the worse

  7. I wouldn’t have slept a wink! Especially after losing one of my chicks to a predator… I’m glad they were fine, and I want to move to New Zealand now. 🙂

  8. I have left our coop door open for the odd night here and there, we live in the UK, and we do have urban foxes, but our coop is protected in a meshed enclosure. It is still a risk I know, but I always fully check this area fully before leaving the coop door open and locking the outer door. Really glad to hear your ladies are ok!

  9. I left the window in the bedroom next to ours open all night… Nearly had a conniption the next morning when,I realised I had left us vulnerable to assorted ratbags…
    Aren’t we lucky that the very small chance of a random ferret is the only thing (apart from ratbags) that we really have to worry about?

  10. I love hearing about your care of your chickens far, far away. We have had to do go away a couple times too. We have a different situation here in Illinois. We have large coyotes, racoons, cats, fox, dogs, skunks, etc… I leave my barn door shut when I have to leave but my chickens have access to the outdoors out the back ,into a completely fenced run, including the top. I worry about them no matter what! SO happy all is well.

  11. Thank you to everyone for your comments. 🙂

  12. Oh man. EVERY time we go away, I worry about the chickens to no end! Like. lying in bed awake at night, worrying about them. That’s even with having friends checking in on them. I feel your pain! I’m glad all was well.

  13. There is something so comforting about closing all the chickens up at night!

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