4 hens in COLD MN...coop ideas, please?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MNMomma, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. MNMomma

    MNMomma Just Hatched

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    Feb 19, 2017
    Northern MN
    Hello,
    We're new to raising chickens. We're expecting 2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Buckeye hens the end of March. We'll be brooding them inside, because I want to spend as much time handling them as possible. I'm looking for suggestions for an adequate coop that will get them through our cold winters. Any pics or links are greatly appreciated.
    TIA
     
  2. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had my 9 hens for just over a year so I am not an expert by any means. I can tell you what I have learned and what has worked for me. The "typical" recommended size is 4 square foot of coop space per bird for the coop and 10 square foot per bird for a run, if they will be confined to a run. I built my coop a little larger then what I felt I needed but if I ever add more birds I can, plus they will be a little nicer to each other on those long winter stretches if they don't come out. Typically the cold alone will not be the biggest concern for them, as long as the coop is well ventilated and there is not excess moisture. The ridge cap on my coop is vented, the eaves are all open, and I have 4 windows. I left all of them open all winter. We had a pretty mild winter but we did have a few weeks with some below zero temps and wind chills -10 to -15 overnight and they did fine. I made my coop tall enough that I can get in and walk around. I also have nest boxes that are accessible from the outside. It is very nice not having to climb in the coop to gather eggs.

    If you have any idea as to what type of coop you have in mind people will give you better advice and guide you along. Do you have the capabilities to build your own, are you planning to buy one that is pre built, or possible convert a shed or other type of structure?

    My feelings are that there is a fine line between getting a coop sealed up to keep the wind off of them but ventilated enough to keep the air fresh. I tried to set mine up so the roost is above the pop door but below the windows so they don't have wind blowing directly on them. Trying to insulate and heat a coop can be a nightmare and most agree it is not needed. If you keep a coop heated then have a power outage they will not be acclimated to the cold weather and can die. There are people way further north then you that keep chickens in unheated coops and they do fine.
     
  3. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in northern Montana. We had a very cold winter this year, there were several weeks that the temperature never got over single digits during the day and was consistently down in the negative 20s and 30s at night. My coop is not heated or insulated and everyone did fine. Flyin-lowe explained it very well as far as having good ventilation in the coop, as long as the chickens are dry, they'll be warm. My coop is a wooden shed with a metal roof. I've got a little pop door out into the run which is left open all the time.

    I have buff orpingtons (absolutely love them!) and they've done great throughout this winter. I periodically fretted about the chickens when we got into -30 temperatures, but whenever I'd check on them, nobody was shivering or miserable. Here's my setup.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. MNMomma

    MNMomma Just Hatched

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    Feb 19, 2017
    Northern MN
    Thanks! That's really helpful! I'm relieved that insulation isn't necessary. We will be building something, I'm sure. My fiancé is very handy. We are getting a tractor from a neighbor that I think we'll just use for parts, after hearing it can be uncomfortable for them, and won't be suitable for winter. It sounds like they don't need as much room as I originally thought, since they'll be allowed to roam the yard too. That's great news!
     
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    I rehomed my Sussex because the winters have turned too cold here in western PA. Also because an 80 ft. pine tree fell on my grow out pen and destroyed it, impacting my breeding season. So I rehomed them with another enthusiastic fan of my birds. That said, I sold all my old standard plan coops and have determined all my new coops will be Woods Open Air Coops. Dr. Prince Woods was a genius at figuring out how to successfully manage poultry in cold climates. The genius behind the physics of ventilation in his coops lets poultry live in very cold climates without fear of any limiting frostbite to combs and without heating the coops at all. You can read the book which has measured drawings for several sizes of the coop, at the HathiTrust digital library.
    I have decide to go with large fowl White Chantecler fowl as they thrive in the cold also.
    Best,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    Here ya go. Dr. Woods started a North American revolution in coop building with this book and his research.

    Modern fresh-air poultry houses; a new book on common sense housing of
    poultry--plans, dimensions and instructions for building open-front
    poultry houses and fresh-air equipment--fresh-air methods and open-air
    living--most practical and desirable for successful poultry keeping in
    all climates; fully illustrated with reproductions from original drawings
    and photographs,

    by Prince T. Woods, M. D.
    Published: Sellersville, Pa., Item publishing company, 1924.
    Physical Description: 191 p. incl. front. (port.) illus., plans. 24 cm.
    https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924003138272;view=1up;seq=7
    Best,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    I think if the coop is well ventilated all is good.
     

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