I'm getting my coop together for my first chickens and I am trying to decide a few things. I was hoping some of you more experienced chicken folks might be able to help.
I have seen some great designs for hoop coops and started to build one. However, there is actually already a closed in coop on my property that somebody left before I moved in. It looks like a mini-shed that the chickens can go into. Unfortunately, it is a heavy, immovable coop and my chickens will have to be confined because I live in a duplex and I share the yard with my neighbors and their four dogs. I could add a run to the existing coop but then the chickens wouldn't get to range over the whole yard. For this reason I was leaning towards a hoop coop so I can move it around the yard. I live in N. Florida so I think it could be suitable for chickens year round. Assuming that I don't have predator problems (electric fence combined with the four dogs in my yard should keep most of them away) would the chickens be fine in a hoop coop at night if half of it was covered in tarps and there were some boards and branches for them to roost on? Is it better to actually have a completely enclosed coop made out of solid material for them to roost in? My primary concern is winter. I do live in Florida but we can still have rare instances in which the temperatures drop into the 20's or even the teens for a few days. I am worried that if the chickens are just in a hoop coop they will be too cold, even with tarps covering half of the coop.
I am also considering connecting the hoop coop to the existing shed-like coop but making it detachable so I can move the chickens to different foraging areas each day. I could then re-attach it in the evening so they can go into the wooden coop. Since I am new to keeping chickens I don't really know how they behave and I am worried that if they perceive the wooden coop as their safe space they might not like being selected from it while in the hoop coop.
I appreciate any thoughts or advice. Thanks for your time.