I'd love to know what everyone thinks about an open floor design we are considering using with our hen house. We live in the interior of Washington state where the winters will get down to zero and even 10 below. (I've heard it can get to -15 but hasn't since I've lived here these last 10 years.) We also do not get a lot of precipitation 8-10" of rain a year.
The hen house would be raised off the ground about 24-30". The house and the coop would be completely fenced with 1" chicken wire. So, for the hens to enter the house they would (hopefully) hop up into it from the ground below. If that didn't work so well or if we needed to have it higher we could have some sort of ladder for them.
This way their roosts would be up in the hen house but there would be open ground below. The roosts would also allow them to access nesting boxes. We were thinking of keeping the food and water outside or hanging under the nesting boxes below the house.
So, with this design do you think the hen house would be warm enough? If not what about if the two walls on the windward side were all the way to the ground? Would that be enough?
Our reasons for this is it would give the chickens a little extra outdoor space and I think it would also facilitate the Deep Litter Method. I plan on doing the DLM for the floor of the house and the coop area.
If it is helpful to know what breeds of chickens we have they are two Rhode Island Reds, two Buff Orpingtons, two Australorps, an Ameraucana and a Barred Rock.
Thank you for your time. We would love lots of feedback. Please give us your thoughts or ask questions if the design isn't clear.