8' x 4' coop help.. Modified Woods style or Leanto?

sarahfvosz

In the Brooder
May 3, 2018
31
14
46
Western NY
Ok folks! Planning an 8x4 coop for 6 chicks. Trying to decide between a modified woods (open air) style and a basic leanto.

This is the second coop we're building and learned a lot from the first one. I'm really intrigued with the open air concept but not quite sure if one modified to be much smaller will work the same way. We are in upstate NY.

These are rough plans. Would love to hear all your suggestions! What am I not considering? What flaws do you see?

That big vent is a hallmark of the woods style. I need to read more though because I’m assuming in cold weather you need to be able to close all other vents, to prevent a cross breeze. We get quite a bit of snow and wind, but the coop will be in the trees so a bit protected, and the wind mainly blows W -> E, hence the heavily insulated side. Excited to have chickens again!
 

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rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
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For the Woods design from my understanding the way the big opening works is it allows air to circulate in and then up and out through the smaller windows above, while the roost area in the back remains clear of drafts. Any cross ventilation should also mainly stay in front. In your drawing you've omitted one front window and shrunk the second to a vent, which I'm not sure will work? Is there a reason you need to tilt the roofline there to omit one window, seems like unnecessary extra work without any benefit?

Also from my understanding dimensions are important in that design, so not sure if shrinking it down like this will have the same effect. Is there a reason you can't go taller with the build? I wouldn't want to be crawling around a 8x4 coop (with only 24" clearance in the front) to do cleaning and maintenance.
 
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Ghosty

Songster
Jun 26, 2018
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I like the modified woods better. I think you have the right idea by putting the big window vent on the short side. That way the roosts can be placed at the opposite end. The window next to the big door would be nice in the summer, but might impede your ability to secure roosts to the wall there.
 

aart

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Nov 27, 2012
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For the Woods design from my understanding the way the big opening works is it allows air to circulate in and then up and out through the smaller windows above, while the roost area in the back remains clear of drafts.
Yep, upper windows open in summer provide excellent flow thru ventilation.
But the main function on a Woods is that in winter all the windows are closed tight except the big front one, this creates an air cushion(no flow thru) which gives good air exchange but little to no air movement at back near roosts.

Also from my understanding dimensions are important in that design
Yes, the proportion of width to depth of coop is essential to function of a Woods design.

Neither of the sketches in the OP are a Woods.

Someone here, was it @Howard E ?.....had made a smaller version, not sure if it ever got done or tested.

@jthornton made a PDF of the original Woods book which give dimensions and instructions to build them.
 

sarahfvosz

In the Brooder
May 3, 2018
31
14
46
Western NY
I had rotated one section of the woods to be able to make more room for the door. I see the flaws in that though.

Honestly just trying to find a design that will be the most cost effective, simple to construct, easy to clean and maintain & spacious enough for the hens. I keep going back and forth between a raised coop (4' sloping to 3') or a ground level coop (5' sloping to 4'). I'm a perfectionist and obsess over decisions like this. :idunno
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
Nov 27, 2012
71,022
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SW Michigan
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I had rotated one section of the woods to be able to make more room for the door. I see the flaws in that though.

Honestly just trying to find a design that will be the most cost effective, simple to construct, easy to clean and maintain & spacious enough for the hens. I keep going back and forth between a raised coop (4' sloping to 3') or a ground level coop (5' sloping to 4'). I'm a perfectionist and obsess over decisions like this. :idunno
Take lots of time to plan, try different things....easier to make mistakes on paper than in lumber ;)

Leanto(single plane slanted roof) with large overhangs and open soffits top and bottom will give you good ventilation.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
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Mar 9, 2014
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Shop around for salvaged materials. We have a building supply restore here that gets overbuys, slightly damaged, and reclaimed materials.
I paid $7 each for 4x8 sheets of siding that would have been $35 each new.
Maybe your area has something similar.

Think about ease of tending the birds too. A walk in coop means you aren't standing in the wind, rain, sleet, or snow to clean the coop.

Draw things to scale on graph paper.

How much space do you have for your coop and run location?
 
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