Originally Posted by junebuggena
When letting your flock sleep outside the coop, you must first have a very, very secure run.
#1 priority, I would think. The op's coop looks fairly secure, but that hardware cloth isn't going to stop a large predator from entering....needs some 2x4 mesh fencing at least around the lower sections to really kick the security up.
Originally Posted by saraem
Yes, the coop is under a tree and should be shaded for most of the day. The roofing panels I used actually are supposed to cut heat transfer by about 50%. They were more expensive than some others but I hoped to allow light to enter, at least during the winter. If we want/need to we can cover during summer, but I'm hoping we won't have to.
It is interesting, but being under a canopy of leaves is *much* cooler than being under a solid cover such as a pop-up tent or something...that's really nothing to do with the conversation but just an observation. The roofing panels that you're using will probably be fine. They should be less conductive than metal and if they're designed to be a solar-gain shield (kinda like shade cloth) then they may very well block enough solar radiation so that you don't need to do anything. The added light is nice, too. One thing you might do is stick a thermometer on the inside *and* outside just to see what difference you might have. A wireless one, permanently installed in the coop with the base in the house would be a nice feature, too. If it does heat up you could simply get a sheet of rigid insulation (lightweight stuff) lay it on top, attach a couple of eye-screws to each end roof rafter and run a cord across the top of the insulation to hold it in place.
Originally Posted by saraem
The run is totally enclosed in hardware cloth that is also buried into the ground at the bottom. Here's a pic mid-construction:
Nice looking coop. To re-emphasize it, if the chickens are going to have access to the run 24/7 I would put some 2x4 welded wire fencing at least along the bottom sections...dogs can chew through hardware cloth if they have a strong enough prey-drive. As for the open area above the house area, remember that in the winter you want ventilation...not drafts. It's best for the windows/vents to be above the chickens' heads so that the drafts will pass over them, expelling warm/moist air. I really don't see this build up of warm and moist air in this housing, but a cold breeze could possibly blow through and hit the chickens if the roost is high up in the house...I figure the roost is towards the back of the house so in the winter you might slide a board over the top that will cover the back half and help block off cold drafts/winds...it looks like there would still be plenty of ventilation towards the front/run side. In the summer I'm sure the chickens would enjoy a window on either side to get a breeze blowing through while they're on the roost. Cold drafts aren't good in the winter time, but cool breezes in the heat of the summer are. :)
Edited by Intheswamp - 5/21/16 at 8:32am