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How a Simple $2 Latch Saved My Sanity

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hook and eye latch

This, my friends, is the entrance of my chicken coop. Inside? Six hens who would really prefer to be on the other side of the door. The outside of the door. I like to let them free-range when I can, but sometimes I need them to stay in.

Gathering eggs means I have to enter the pen, fighting back the jailbreak. Once I’m in? They do their best to push their way out. They are impressively successful at this. Until now. (Sometimes it’s the simple solutions that take so long to implement and make such a big difference.)

Tada! A simple hook and eye latch on the inside of the coop allows me to contain them while I’m taking care of business on the inside.

chickens in the garden, one brown one looking at camera


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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

8 comments… add one
  • Jupiter Apr 29, 2014, 4:38 am

    If your chickens could use the Internet, they’d be making social justice memes about fighting unfair incarceration and oppression 😉
    I’m glad you found a sanity saver!

  • Victoria Apr 29, 2014, 3:46 pm

    When you added three new hens, do you have any problems with the others picking on them?

    • CJ Jan 10, 2015, 3:06 pm

      I realize this ? Is old, but thought I would provide some feedback.
      Chickens will always establish a pecking order. When you bring in new adult or young, the new order has to be established. We keep new members seperate from the general populace for just a few days. I will let the newbies into the covered flight and everyone else out to free range.
      There will still be some scuffles, but they seem to be reduced.

  • Kate Griesser Feb 5, 2015, 7:59 am

    I toss a “treat” of chicken feed into the pen before I attempt to open the door. That distracts my ladies into not charging the door as I open it. Also, we use a simple bungee cord to close the door behind us. In your photo that would work well hooking it on each side of the chicken wire.

  • Franceska May 23, 2016, 12:17 am

    Good idea! We are finishing coop now and we made coop door into a half or whole door. While I’m in there cleaning up or kids are working in there the top door will be open. Hubby put that latch on outside bottom part. Hoping this works:) Our 1st 16 chicks will be 4wk on Wednesday.

  • Karin Oct 18, 2016, 12:27 pm

    I had the same conundrum. I used a pneumatic storm door closer on mine… works great… especially when my hands are full. I only latch bolt it shut at night or when it’s really windy. Lowe’s sells for about $10.-

  • Pat Aug 25, 2017, 12:25 am

    I use the old fashioned screen door spring on the inside of the coop. That way it pulls the door shut as soon as I enter the pen.

  • [email protected] Sep 10, 2017, 11:24 pm

    I love using magnets. They don’t slam like springs and they require no fumbling like a latch. Just buy according to poundage of force you need. Chickens have no interest in forcing their itty bitty weight against the door.

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