2013 Walk In Chicken Coop
The old coop was too small, not insulated, lacked ventilation. It could not hold more than 10 hens. This year we had three groups of birds: (laying hens, baby chicks and feathered fledglings).
The new walk in coop will have insulation, windows on the South side for solar heating in the winter, a radiant barrier on the roof to prevent overheating during the Summer, electrical for lights, storage for equipment and supplies and secure windows that close on any predators that attack through the windows.
The interior shutters with hardware cloth for ventilation. The door was from Habitat for Humanity $15.
Security - vents were covered with 1/2" hardware cloth and screwed to their own frames so they can be easily pulled and repaired or swapped out or repaired. The door was installed to open in so we did not have to shovel snow in the winter to get inside. We had to reverse the door and open out because there was not enough clearance inside for the food and automatic door.
Windows - 95% were free from a neighbor. 8 on the South Side, 1 on the West side, 2 barn sashes on the North Side, $15 each at Menards windows in the cupola for $20 from Habitat for Humanity.
South Windows - two rows of four. All eight were free.
Heating - The coop is insulated with Styrofoam and spray foam around the windows. The coop is passively heated with 8 windows on the South wall. We use the deep litter method which worked well 2012/2013. In extreme situations we can easily setup a heating lamp on a timer.
Finished the walls, working on the roof and windows for the cupola.
Liam is helping with the roofing. He is a fearless five year old.
These roofing sheets are covered with a foil to reduce radiant heat in the Summer. It should help to keep the coop cool this Summer. - Do not sit or stand on them in the middle of the Summer heat.
7/29/12 - upper windows are installed, interior insulated on three walls.
Windows on the North wall still need to be installed. Pop door and ramp still need to be installed. Trim and interior perches need to be installed.
8/5/12 - Perches installed, ramp installed. The ramp is needed because the pop door is 2 feet off of the ground to keep the litter in the coop. We did not want to make it easy for raccoons or skunks to get in. The ramp is on hinges so it can be raised and blocks the entrance for added security.
12/1/12 Automatic Door installed. See http://www.chickendoors.com - Pullet Shut Doors. The default is the light sensor but you can over-ride to manual. It has locked the girls out on overcast days when it gets dark early. When you program the doors manually it remembers the opening and closing times and does not lock anyone out.
Old storage unit on the North wall.
The roll away nest box is underneath the storage and the tunnel is below the box.
The first storage unit on the North wall. This is too small to hold all of the food and supplies. The hens jump down from the ramp on the left and walk under the storage in a tunnel to the run on the right.
5/9/13 New food storage unit. The new storage is taller and deeper to hold three containers, each holding 50lb of feed. The top will eventually have a door and hold equipment and supplies. The new chute/tunnel to the run is taller and wider to prevent the girls from holding up traffic in and out of the run/coop.
New Brooder on top! Nest box below which is accessed on the right side from the run.
The brooder was included last minute. We recycled a window and added hinges and a pull. We added a 75 watt heat lamp for the babies. There are 9 in there right now. Eight fledglings are in the tunnel. My brilliant wife suggested blocking the chute entrance from the run with a cinder block so the babies can enter the chute and the adults are in the run. The babies learned quickly to stay in the chute.
Nest Box -
The original roll away eggs nest box did not work as planned. At night a few hens would sleep in the nest box and poop. Over the Winter, we were not checking for eggs when they stopped laying so we did not know that the box needed to be cleaned out. It was a huge mess in the Spring.
We decided that the hens can't sleep in the nest box anymore and it should be easier to clean out. I decided that the nest box would be accessed from outside the coop. The floor is made of hardware cloth to make cleanup easy. The box slides out and the door is to add bedding material to the box and get the eggs out. I will add another pull on the left and hinges when I buy more hinges.
We are locking the hens out of the coop during the day for the first week to train them to use the new outside nest box. A few seem to like it. The eggs are clean! We only had three eggs the first day. Normally we have between five and eight. No hidden eggs in the run.
We are trying to get the babies to go into the coop at night and train the adults to use the new nest box outside of the coop. We are keeping our fingers crossed.