Hi there...I'm new to BYC! Our chicks are 3 1/2 weeks old and my husband is almost finished building the "Coop" and he will be starting the run this week. The coop looks great but we have a few questions about the design....as I'm worried about the cold winters here in South Eastern Connecticut. I'd like him to add a window but I don't know how necessary it is? Also what would be the most economical material to finish the roof with? We were thinking about cutting a hole in the roof (window) and using clear corrugated plastic (I don't know what it's called) we found at Home Depot. Any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated! Also, I don't know what type of light to purchase for the coop either.
Building our coop
What's necessary is high up ventilation to let the humid, ammonia air out -- particularly in winter. If you don't have some sort of roof vent, I'd add one. Also they should have natural light. You might even want a window that doesn't open, depending on the size of your coop. to avoid a draft on the roost area. I'm fond of metal roofs -- no more costly than anything else, and they last forever. I would not use clear plastic. They will need shade in the summer. Even in that climate, summer will feel hot to them. A light is convenient but not necessary, for either light or warmth. If you want to add light to increase winter egg laying, any simple utility light will work, and it will need to be on a timer. Just be sure it is out of their reach and a safe distance from the litter. Chickens make dust so anything electric is a fire hazard.
I have electricity in my coop. I've used a light on a timer for eggs one winter, and skipped it one winter, and really not gotten many more eggs when I was using it. I do use the power to run a fan in summer, and it's handy if I want to do something in there at night. But it's just a convenience. If it weren't already wired, I wouldn't add wiring, I'd buy a headlamp.
Two excellent articles, if you haven't seen them:
Happiness is when you can look at your chickens and smile....
Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.
Flockwatching my little bunch of mutts, a favorite pastime.