The coop is inside the barn. The run is attached to the outside of the barn. The chickens get from inside (the coop) to outside (the run and beyond) through a tiny little opening called a pop door, seen below, at right, when the run was under construction.
The Man decided (and quite rightly) that a moderate number of dollars would buy a unquantifiable amount of peace of mind if we invested in an automatic pop door opener, which, fed through a timer, would raise and lower the door at times we chose, saving us the labour and responsibility of opening and closing the door ourselves, at sun up and sun down.
This has been the single best decision we’ve made. It took me a while to trust that it would a) not trap any of our girls outside and b) keep predators out, but now I am completely comfortable with it.
So, imagine my surprise when I went out to close the outer coop door at twilight tonight, and, when I wished the girls good night as I drew the door shut, heard a chicken call to me from OUTSIDE the barn. There was just enough light for me to see that there was, indeed, a chicken trapped in the run, on the wrong side of a closed pop door.
For, you see, Hermione had missed curfew. Yes, Hermione.
There was no way I could just open the pop door manually and scoot her in the coop; it was far too dark in there for her to find her way up onto the roosts with her sister hens. So, I opened the run door, scooped her up in my arms, talking to her the whole time, closed and locked the run door, walked around to the front of the barn, through the showroom, down the hallway to the coop, opened the inner coop door, walked into the now-dark coop, and placed her up on the roosts in an open spot.
Phew! Goodnight, Hermione!
(It must be said, in her defense, that she DID lay in the nesting boxes today. The ACTUAL nesting boxes.)