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New Age ecoFLEX Fontana Chicken Barn

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have any experience with this plastic chicken coop?  From what I can tell from the reviews, they either love it or hate it. I just have 2 hens in a 10' X 10' covered dog pen (and they also free range), but need something for them to get in before it gets cold.

 

http://www.amazon.com/New-Age-Pet-Fontana-Chicken/dp/B008E15UZM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446171142&sr=8-1&keywords=new+age+chicken  

post #2 of 7

Welcome to BYC!

 

Gonna be honest.

 

Might work for just 2 hens....but....I see no ventilation - not good.

It's really very small....which can make it hard to maintain.

Usually those tiny prefabbed coops result in disappointment in the long(or shorter) run. 

 

I'd pay close attention to the negative reviews.....even the 4-5 star reviews contain some negatives. 

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #3 of 7

NO,  no, no, no and no.

 

No ventilation, it is plastic, too small.  That's just to start.

 

I'm not trying to be a smart aleck but get a plastic 55 gallon drum and crawl in it with a down coat on a 90 degree day and have someone close the end and see what it feels like.

 

 

I HATE THOSE THINGS and they should be illegal.

post #4 of 7
I could not even find a size on that thing. Looking at the different views on the left, he fourth one, are those real chickens or just plastic statues?

Scooter will you quit being so subtle and tell us what you really think? I agree with you by the way.

RRobbin, where are you located? What are you talking about when you say cold? Chickens can generally handle what we think of as cold really well with just a tiny bit of help. Heat is normally much more of a threat than cold. You can cause chickens problems in winter by trying to be too protective. There are chickens in warmer parts of the country that overwinter fine in what yours have now.

Chickens don’t need to be kept warm in the winter, they need to be out of the wind. I don’t know how cold it actually gets where you are but you probably have wild birds that overwinter. You probably don’t see them a lot when the wind is pretty strong but they come out when it is calm, even if it is bitter cold. Chickens don’t like a strong cold wind but they don’t mind cold until it really gets ridiculous.

The other thing chickens need in winter is ventilation. The wild birds sleeping in trees and bushes get great ventilation. Bad air is exchanged for good. About the worst mistake you can make in the winter is to lock the chickens up so tightly they have to live in bad air. That’s a big problem with that plastic thing as far as I’m concerned. There are people that cause frostbite to their chickens in fairly warm areas of the country by locking them up too tightly in winter. If they’d let them sleep in trees they’d be safe from the cold but not the predators.

What you are looking for in a winter coop is a place the chickens can get good ventilation without a strong breeze hitting them. There are lots of different ways to achieve that but to me the easiest is to have a coop with a lot of ventilation over their heads so any breeze passes over the top of them but exchanges good air for bad.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #5 of 7

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 52.8 x 28.9 x 28.5 inches ; 57 pounds

 

The chickens are fake for sure, if you use their zoom feature it's pretty obvious...

...they've got those googly eyes.

One of the reviews said they must be miniatures.


Edited by aart - 10/30/15 at 2:57pm

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ridgerunner -   Thank you so much for your informative post!  I guess these birds are quite tougher than I'm giving them credit for.  I'm new to this.  Just got these two birds a few weeks ago.  

 

The plastic coup measures about 29 x 53 x 29 (not sure if those are real birds or not).  

 

I'm located in Central Arkansas.  I see that you are in Northwest Arkansas (I lived in Fayetteville several years ago), so you are familiar with the weather.  Here it gets below freezing and sometimes even in the teens and sometimes even colder, but not that often.  

 

Right now they are in the 10" x 10" dog pen with a tarp over it.  There is a 4x4 across the length of the pen for them to roost.  Then they have an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tote with hay for their nesting box, which they never get into.  Neither one has laid an egg until today.  I usually let them free range in the afternoon.  Today I let them out in the morning and one of them laid her first egg in my flower bed.  

 

I was told they would get in the Rubbermaid tote when it gets cold and they would keep each other warm, but they don't ever go into the tote.  And, there are only TWO of them, so how much warmth can they generate?

 

Also, I believe my pen is secure, but am fearful that one of the birds may get too close to the edge of the chainlink and a raccoon may be able to grab it from the outside while it is sleeping.  If the birds are inside something that would not happen.  

 

Anyway, any input you may have would really be helpful.  

post #7 of 7
It occasionally gets a little below zero up here, but as you said, not that often. It was 4 degrees above zero when I took this a few years back. I left the pop door open and gave them the option to come out or stay in. Since the wind wasn’t blowing hard they came out.


They were already outside when this 1” snow fell a couple of years ago. They just never bothered to go in.


I’ve been trying to think what I’d do in your situation for two chickens. I think I’d build a 4’ x 4’ box since plywood sheets are 4’x8’ and cheap 2x4’s are 8’ long so 4’ is a good dimension to work with. Elevate that about 2’ above the ground. Under the tarp it may not matter but I’d be tempted to put a sloping roof on it. Maybe make one side 4-1/2’ high and the other 3-1/2’ high. Yeah, sides, not front and back. You don’t want rainwater dripping on you when you open a door and the roost would be about 3’ off the floor on the high end and a foot away from the wall.

I’d have roof overhang to stop rainwater from blowing in, especially on the high and low sides, and leave about 3-1/2” (width of a 2x4) open on top of the walls for ventilation. Again, under the tarp you might not need an overhang. You could even leave all the walls open at the top. If you consider your pen predator proof you are OK but you can always cover it with hardware cloth for added protection.

With that open under the top you probably would not need a window but if you do, cut a hole in it somewhere and frame in a piece of Plexiglas or something hard and clear like that. Where they can see out of it on the roost would work well. Mine like roosting near the window.

You need good access to clean it so I’d hinge the back so you can just drop it down. Put the pop door front or back but on the opposite end as the roost.

Another option, probably easier, is to box in one corner of that dog pen. Use plywood, siding, whatever. All you are trying to do is build a box to keep the wind off of them but leave the top open enough that air can get out. Don’t worry if it is cold. They trap air in their down and feathers to insulate them. They keep themselves warm. Check out that first photo.

They probably will not want to move in there. They are used to sleeping outside. You may need to lock them in that coop at night after they roost until they get used to going in there on their own. I’ve had chickens get that message the first time I did it. I’ve had chickens take 3 weeks to catch on but if you are consistent the will catch on.

I can’t think of anything you can just buy and put in there for only two chickens without going pretty big. Maybe a big dog house?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
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