After months of lurking and doing research (mostly from this site), I decided to jump in and become a proud chicken owner!
I built our coop from scratch. I looked online, but just couldn't find anything reasonable that looked like it could withstand the Colorado Plains wind, sun and winters. There of course were coops that would, but they were way too expensive.
I put a lot of thought into the design. Decided on a mono-pitched roof (easier to build), chicken door down below (don't have to worry about wind entering), service door in the back, and external chicken nesting boxes. The floor plan is 4x8 feet, which should be plenty of room for 6 chickens. I did insulate the walls, but not the roof. I did this mostly for the summer heat. I used playground sand inside since it has a pretty good thermal insulation. I also read it evaporates water better? Kitty litter scooper makes cleaning the coop quite easy. There is straw and wood mulch in the nesting boxes, though.
I think I'm OK on ventilation, but I'm going to keep an eye on it. I've got a roof mushroom vent, the 18"x18" hatch below and the side vent just under the south side eave. The coop faces southeast to get a good amount of winter sun, which means the back of the coop (low roof side) faces northwest (where much of the ferocious winter winds come from). I just put up the tarp along the north facing side of the chicken run as a wind break. It'll get its first good test tomorrow as a pretty big winter storm is supposed to barrel through with 50 mph winds.
We do live behind open space, so predators are a real threat. There are Foxes, Coyotes and Hawks in the area. Decided to go with welded wire instead of chick wire for this reason. Our cattle dog may help keep the foxes away, but she doesn't like the coyotes at all (btw: she gets along great with the chickens).
This picture doesn't show it, but the "chicken hydrator" is now wrapped in heat tape and insulation. I'm hoping that will stop it from freezing. If it doesn't, I'll have to come up with something else.
We got 6 pullets from Big R back in August and they have probably quadrupled in size since then. To be perfectly honest, I don't know what kind they are. I tried figuring it out by looking online, but there are sooooo many breeds!
We're raising the chickens for organic, pasture eggs and to teach our kids how to raise their own food. It's been a fun adventure so far, and I can't wait until we start getting eggs. Maybe in February?