Advice - Modified dog house

FunkyChickenButt

In the Brooder
Jul 5, 2020
22
47
36
Hi folks,

Like so many other first time chicken parents, I bought a pre-fab coop. Like many others, I’m now building a replacement coop (picture below is in progress). I created a basic 8x4x6 run and have gotten a medium sized dog house to modify for the actual coop. I have three banties and may eventually get 2 more.

I got a table to set the coop on and have built a ramp that flips up to close the door. The run will also be set on dirt when finished.

My questions are:
- is it important to have the nest boxes inside the actual coop, or can I have them outside in the run?

- are the thin gaps in the wood going to be too drafty in the winter? I live in Southern California so lows get to mid 40s. (I also have two windows at the top covered in hardware mesh for vents)

-I’m going to put roosts in the coop and a 2x3 roost running across the run. Is there anything else I can do to spice it up for them in there? Maybe utilize some space up high? They’ll be let out into my small yard most days to explore but may be confined to the run for a couple days at a time.

thanks all.


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May 22, 2020
576
932
123
Texas
My questions are:
- is it important to have the nest boxes inside the actual coop, or can I have them outside in the run?
- are the thin gaps in the wood going to be too drafty in the winter? I live in Southern California so lows get to mid 40s. (I also have two windows at the top covered in hardware mesh for vents)
-I’m going to put roosts in the coop and a 2x3 roost running across the run. Is there anything else I can do to spice it up for them in there? Maybe utilize some space
#1 I have a double nestbox attached to my coop, and a double nestbox in the run on 2 concrete cynder blocks. We have 9 pullets, some prefer the indoor facility and some the outside, from my past 3 month experiment. So imho it doesn't matter, so long as they have somewhere to lay their eggs, other than on the ground.
#2 Based on my experience tonight (temps dropping fast, rainy and wind chill is 28 and also dropping fast) yes those gaps will matter in a very bad way! Both of our coops (main and a sick bay) we made them from pallets and reclaimed wood. We caulked, sealed and painted the main. We did not get the sick bay finished yet. Our pullets in the main are doing just fine and it's a nice 42 degrees in there. We just rescued our rooster from the sick bay coop, he was huddled in the nest box, shivering, puffed up, and cooing/crying for help. He is now inside our house for the night. So yes yes yes, please fix those gaps! Wind / breezes can make your chickens cold, and they can get sick.
#3 I would suggest a hanging waterer to utilize some of that space. Some people dont put water in their coops and some do. We live in Texas and so it is a must have with our hot temperatures in the summer. Even in this cooler weather, they are still consuming water during the night, though not as much as in the summer months.

I hope these tips and my experiences will help you out to a smoother experience, than what I had to learn the hard way. :)
 

FunkyChickenButt

In the Brooder
Jul 5, 2020
22
47
36
#1 I have a double nestbox attached to my coop, and a double nestbox in the run on 2 concrete cynder blocks. We have 9 pullets, some prefer the indoor facility and some the outside, from my past 3 month experiment. So imho it doesn't matter, so long as they have somewhere to lay their eggs, other than on the ground.
#2 Based on my experience tonight (temps dropping fast, rainy and wind chill is 28 and also dropping fast) yes those gaps will matter in a very bad way! Both of our coops (main and a sick bay) we made them from pallets and reclaimed wood. We caulked, sealed and painted the main. We did not get the sick bay finished yet. Our pullets in the main are doing just fine and it's a nice 42 degrees in there. We just rescued our rooster from the sick bay coop, he was huddled in the nest box, shivering, puffed up, and cooing/crying for help. He is now inside our house for the night. So yes yes yes, please fix those gaps! Wind / breezes can make your chickens cold, and they can get sick.
#3 I would suggest a hanging waterer to utilize some of that space. Some people dont put water in their coops and some do. We live in Texas and so it is a must have with our hot temperatures in the summer. Even in this cooler weather, they are still consuming water during the night, though not as much as in the summer months.

I hope these tips and my experiences will help you out to a smoother experience, than what I had to learn the hard way. :)
Thank you for your thoughtful reply—very helpful. I’ve already learned the hard way so much in my chicken journey, it’s nice to get some advice before it’s too late!
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,564
23,307
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My questions are:
- is it important to have the nest boxes inside the actual coop, or can I have them outside in the run?

- are the thin gaps in the wood going to be too drafty in the winter? I live in Southern California so lows get to mid 40s. (I also have two windows at the top covered in hardware mesh for vents)
Nests can be anywhere as long as the chickens can access them whenever there's daylight, and as long as you can keep them dry.

What kind of bantams, like Silkies or birds with actual feathers? Unless there's a reason these birds need to be kept extra warm, in your climate, I wouldn't worry about the gaps at all and would actually consider replacing an entire wall with wire mesh. The side facing into the solid wood side might be an option, as the wooden run fence provides wind protection. Hot summers are going to be way more of an issue than cool (not cold) winters
 
May 22, 2020
576
932
123
Texas
It's always been my understanding, that the coop itself ie: protective area, should not have gaps in it. Have you ever set outside at night, in 40 degree weather, no coat, with the wind blowing on you? They DO NEED, somewhere to go, during those times. Nuff said.....
 

FunkyChickenButt

In the Brooder
Jul 5, 2020
22
47
36
Nests can be anywhere as long as the chickens can access them whenever there's daylight, and as long as you can keep them dry.

What kind of bantams, like Silkies or birds with actual feathers? Unless there's a reason these birds need to be kept extra warm, in your climate, I wouldn't worry about the gaps at all and would actually consider replacing an entire wall with wire mesh. The side facing into the solid wood side might be an option, as the wooden run fence provides wind protection. Hot summers are going to be way more of an issue than cool (not cold) winters
One d’uccle, one showgirl with satin feathers, and a silkie/Cochin with satin feathers so all have actual feathers. I was wondering if those gaps would be in my favor to help with ventilation in summer but negative in winter.

I can definitely consider adding more ventilation next spring but want to make sure they’re all set up as we get into winter.
 
May 22, 2020
576
932
123
Texas
One d’uccle, one showgirl with satin feathers, and a silkie/Cochin with satin feathers so all have actual feathers. I was wondering if those gaps would be in my favor to help with ventilation in summer but negative in winter.

I can definitely consider adding more ventilation next spring but want to make sure they’re all set up as we get into winter.
I agree with you, and we are heading into winter. On our coop (we live in Texas) we made big windows covered with hardware cloth on 3 sides. When the cold weather was coming, we boarded up those windows in a fashion, that could then be opened or closed, based on the weather. :) 👍 You can always make changes as the need arises.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
24,538
186,849
1,592
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
It's always been my understanding, that the coop itself ie: protective area, should not have gaps in it. Have you ever set outside at night, in 40 degree weather, no coat, with the wind blowing on you? They DO NEED, somewhere to go, during those times. Nuff said.....
Well... We are puny hairless mammals.
Chickens are never without their down coats. And they run about 7 degrees warmer than humans.
I'm sorry but you don't have cold winters in CA. Not even close.
Those gaps are great ventilation for CA climate. I love @rosemarythyme idea to remove the entire wall facing the fence for better ventilation.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
24,538
186,849
1,592
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
I can definitely consider adding more ventilation next spring but want to make sure they’re all set up as we get into winter.
Ventilation is just as important in the winter as in warmer weather. Maybe even more so for those of us with actually cold winters.
For me, cold is below 25F. For my flock, they start showing signs of cold stress at -15F or so. As long as that kind of temperature isn't sustained they do fine with just a boost of electrolytes in the water and some Poultry nutri-drench on their feed.
 

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