1st Coop Construction Advice/Critique Greatly Appreciated

ChickadeeBee

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
7
3
11
MA
Hello BYC! Been gathering lots of great info from here for a while, and this is finally the year my chicken owning dreams are becoming reality!

I’m in the early stages of building my coop, and would be grateful for advice from those more experienced than myself regarding window + ventilation placement, and anything else you might suggest. The floor has been built but I’m hoping to avoid any regrets before I go further! I currently have week old babies in a large indoor brooder :)

Below is info on what I am planning, but please tell me if I should change anything!

This will be a 6x8’ coop, housing 5-7 chickens (though who knows if that will grow!). Breed is Sapphire Gem, I’ve been told they are as hardy as Plymouth Rocks. I’m in MA- temps average 80F summer, 20F winter, with extremes of 90F / 0F.
Coop will be in sun from around 11:30am-5pm. Run will be covered for shade and I’m planting a dwarf mulberry tree in front for future shade and chicken treats.

I’m planning to insulate the coop with foam board insulation in walls between plywood sheets, and already have fiberglass insulation in the floor. Not planning to artificially heat the coop so they are acclimated to the winter if we lose power. I’ve also planned the nest boxes to be inside the coop, rather than bumped out, to keep them warmer (door access from outside still). Coop bedding will be 3-4” deep construction sand.

I’ve mocked up my rough ideas in google sketchup and attached some screenshots. Pictures explain things better, but I’m thinking a window on the east + west side for cross breeze in summer + light. Gable vent on north + south walls. Small vents under roof overhang on east+west sides. (The door faces south, for reference)

What I really need help figuring out is that sweet spot where ventilation doesn’t become a draft. How can I properly vent the coop in winter without rendering the insulation useless? (& is the foam board insulation overkill?) Do I have enough ventilation for the summer heat? I would like to maybe put another window or at least glass pane to let light in, but not sure if that would render the insulation useless unless I got double-paned.

Thank you for any help!!
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DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
29,634
237,806
1,612
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
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You don't need insulation at all in the coop in your area.
I live in NY and our winters can and do go below zero and our summers can get quite hot approaching 100. I have no insulation in the coop.
What I do have is A LOT of ventilation. Windows all the way around the roost area that are wide open during the summer and closed in the winter.
I wouldn't bother with the tiny vents high up on the walls but would instead just leave the soffits open and cover them with 1/2" hardware cloth to work with the gable and ridge vents. I also would just frame out the peak of the gables so you could install more 1/2" HC and increase your rake overhangs to at least one foot to prevent wind driven rain from entering.
This is what my coop looks like during winter.
2CAA8E144C7F_1574876951434.png


You need to think about getting and keeping things DRY not warm.
Birds keep themselves warm by fluffing their feathers to trap their own body heat. If the air is damp, they get a chill.
Don't make a building designed for nekid mammals. Make a building designed for feathered birds.
 

ChickadeeBee

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
7
3
11
MA
Thanks for the advice, leaving the soffits open is a good idea. it's a confusing topic as I've read multiple articles that say insulation ins needed if you live in a cold climate. Also since I have so few birds I was worried if they could generate enough heat for themselves, compared to something like 20+ birds in a coop.
 

ChickadeeBee

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
7
3
11
MA
Hmm yeah I guess that's why it never quite made sense to me. So basically a properly built coop will be the same temp as outside in winter, we just want to keep it as dry as possible?
And thank you!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,306
29,226
1,002
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
So basically a properly built coop will be the same temp as outside in winter, we just want to keep it as dry as possible?

Chickens are always carrying around a thick down coat with them. As long as they stay dry, the down and feathers will be able to effectively trap heat against their bodies. If they get damp, the feathers become less able to do that.
 

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