I am a long time reader but this is my first post to the forum. After many years of wishing, we finally live in a place where I can keep chickens! I live in Alaska with 3 small children (4 years old and under). My husband and I are hoping to get the coop designed and built before winter comes.
Since we have small kids and not a lot of time, we are hoping to simplify construction. He has agreed to build me a 10x4 (maybe 10x5 shed style coop with a single pitch roof. We are planning for up to 10 chickens although we are only zoned for 6 so 6 will be our ordinary expected number. We don't have any glass windows available and are planning for framed windows covered in hardware cloth with cut-to-size boards for closing them off if needed. I also have clear corrugated plastic roofing that we can build into the design for extra light, although the main roof will be sheet metal and insulated. The whole coop will be insulated. I don't plan to heat the coop as we lost power a few times last winter. I had enough to worry about trying to keep my kids warm in -25 with no heat. I don't want to be worrying about my chickens.
I am planning one short (4-5ft) wall to be almost entirely open for summer similar to the Woods design, but I think that will need to be closed for winter and I need to plan for smaller, higher vents. Now it seems to me if there are high vents, they will create a draft on the roost no matter how they are oriented but I have never lived in a chicken coop so I am not really sure ;)
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to located upper vent windows (4-8" I am imagining) in relation to the roosts? Is there a rule of thumb for sq ft of ventilation in the winter? I have seen 1sqft/chicken but I assume that is summer only. How many sq ft of ventilation would you recommend? Would it work to put vent windows only on one side and the roosts all the way on the other side?
Our winters are pleasantly dry and range from 0-28 degrees on average with capability to drop to a max low of -25 over night for a week or so. In the summer we have a high of 78 degrees with night time temperatures usually in the 50's
Thanks for any ideas!