Hi all, I've been lurking for a bit while planning the coop, finally started building it and now I've got a few questions! :) I'm just outside of Seattle, WA, so the climate here is pretty mild generally (above freezing for most of the winter, under 90 for most of the summer). I'm not planning on insulating the coop.
To give an idea of what I've sketched out, it's more-or-less based on this coop/run: https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/417276_369373753095985_1278354378_n.jpg
1. How does one build a "draft free" coop? Do I have to caulk/seal all the seams? Or is it a matter of "best effort" with respect to exterior boards? In other words, the boards on the outside of the pictured coop, besides making them fit together as tightly as possible, is there anything else I can do? I mean, I will be building it so that the vent opens/closes similar to the picture -- so even when closed, this is definitely not going to be air tight -- leaving the possibility for drafts, right?
2. Venting the ceiling of the coop -- given the Seattle climate, is it necessary to have a roof vent that closes? I didn't fully think through the ceiling yet, but with our climate, I was thinking that perhaps just putting hardware cloth on the entire ceiling (4x4) would suffice? Or is it advisable to ensure it closes?
3. In the picture, there's the vent that opens, and it's near the bottom of the coop. (the section below the coop is actually storage, so the floor of the coop itself is near where the hinge to the opened panel is.) Are drafts an issue in the summer/fall, or should that vent be placed elsewhere? I'm also considering putting hinges on the top 1x6 board on every side and making it an vent that opens/closes. If I left the ceiling open, would upper open/closable vents still be necessary?
4. There're a ton of opinions on roofing materials, and that's the last bit I need to figure out. We don't get a ton of snow around here, though the occasional bit, so I'm not sure that'd be a consideration? My goal was to get an overhang of about 1-2' per side, and slightly sloped. Unfortunately, given that this is a 4x8 coop, I'm not sure how I'm going to accomplish that without spending a ton and weighing just as much. With corrugated tin, I think that's seemingly my cheapest option, but I'd need 5 x 26" sheets to cover the full amount and have overhang -- and I'd need the 12' sheets. This is also so that the grooves ran toward the slope (instead of horizontally with the slope), so it can shed water (and I can potentially install a gutter). Are there any cheaper options? 5x26" sheets looks to be about $100, and could be a pain to cut. :)
5. The area I'm placing the coop isn't fully level -- will this be a problem for the chickens? It's a good couple degrees sloped, I'm not sure how best to go about leveling it if that was necessary..
6. Does the interior of the coop need to be painted, stained, sealed or anything? I suspect the chickens'll peck, and paint isn't good for'em. Right? :)
7. Coop cleanup -- I've never had chickens before -- will they make a mess of the coop area, the run area, or both (pooping)? Any good ideas for cleanup? I have yet to really research this thus far, wanted to get the coop built first...
Kind of along the same lines -- the coop/run are currently slated to be placed on gravel driveway -- I figure I'll be putting down something down on the ground, right? Or is a better location somewhere with growing foliage/dirt/grass, and forget needing to put something softer than gravel down? :)
I know this is a ton of questions, but this project and it's scope seems to grow a bit more each day!
Thank for any help!
Edited by vwap - 9/3/12 at 12:42am