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Coop Layout by tackyrama
Here is the completed Coop/Barn 10/09/08.
The building is 16 x 20'. I installed a wood stove for the coldest of our Minnesota weather. This was neccessary as we will not be keeping enough chickens overwinter to keep themselves from freezing. The stove room is enclosed three sides with steel roofing with sheetrock on the ceiling. It is open on the front with a chicken wire door to let heat out and keep the chickens out also. There is a 6" board at the end of the "hall" to keep out litter.
The coop does not have electricity and I do not plan on wiring it. Before rural electrification and even after, farmers rarely had coops with electricity. Chickens got along just fine without it for hundreds or thousands of years and I figure mine can do just as well. I have to thaw out their water in the morning most mornings when it's very cold but they are fine waiting for it. I use a old-fashioned oil lantern if I happen to check on them at night. This works great. It gives adequate light and does not frighten or startle the birds. This also allows me to hang the lantern if I need to get anything done and gives steady light where a flashlight needs to be held or is seemingly always pointed in the wrong direction.
I heat the coop during the winter when the temps are below -20 degrees. The coop is well insulated and the chickens provide enough of their own body heat to do just fine without wood heat the rest of the time. Everything has met or exceeded my expectations for a functional, healthy environment for my chickens. The walls are 6" with fiberglass bats insulation. The loft is spread with hay and straw to a minimum depth of about 8 inches. The ceiling boards have gaps of 3/8" to allow for air circulation. The moist air circulates up through the gaps and out the 16x24" louvre type vent I installed on the east end of the loft for ventilation. This approach has worked out great for heating, ventilation and draft control. There is no condensation on windows or anywhere else even during the coldest weather.
The hens took right to the nest boxes. They seem to have no preference as to top or bottom, they all get used. I keep straw and wood chips in all the nests.
Roost boards are 2x3"s with rounded edges to help keep their feet warmer during cold weather. All the chickens easily hop up to roost and have ample room to fly down in the morning. There is some competition for top roost which is settled without too much fuss. Whoever gets there first is king. Nest boxes are to the left behind the partition in a cozy dark corner.
Looking toward the front door.
Board to keep litter out of the stove room and storage room.
Thermopane windows for heat in the winter facing south. There are three insulated exit doors at the bottom. (1 is open) I plan on having two breeding pens on the right side each with a window
What would I do different?
I would not have needed so much slope on the concrete pad. Other than that I can not think of a single thing I would have done different.
The second year after completion I added two features which have added greatly to functionality. (see pics below) The first was two pens about 3x4' that are used for breeding and isolation for injured birds. I built them high on the wall so as not to lose any floor space. Each one has a roost and a nest box. The second was a removable partition about 8x8'. I use this to introduce new chicks from the brooder into the flock. They get used to seeing each other and by the time I introduce the new chicks into the flock after a week or two there is almost no squabbling. The only squabbling is at feeding time when the older chickens try to chase the younger ones away.
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