Advice on coop building for winter in Inland NW

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Schlecterhunde, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Schlecterhunde

    Schlecterhunde New Egg

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    Nov 12, 2015
    Hi!
    I don't have chickens yet. I live in Spokane WA. I am considering getting a few Australorps in the spring (maybe 3?), we have a small lot so I won't be getting a large number of them. What I wanted to know is, when we build the coop do we need to insulate it or are we generally fine without? And do we need to heat the coop or will they be fine as-is? I know the breed I want is supposed to be cold-hardy but if we take the time to build I want to make sure it's going to be appropriate for our weather.

    Also, does anyone have any tips on winter care that make life easier? I'm assuming the hens will want their coop more in winter so I'll probably have to clean it more?

    Also, for anyone living in Spokane, do you know if there's a setback limit or can I put my coop right against my fence? I was wanting to put it along the back near the alley. Two other options would put it closer to neighbor houses if I put it on either side of my house.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Rod-T

    Rod-T Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't need to insulate. . Long as it's enclosed to block wind..

    Far as a setback..I don't think so. It's considered a small shed.. I would pay attention to how it affects nieghbors..
    Is it away from the nieghbors bedroom window? Chickens make noise in mornings.
    Will snow from your coop land on there property if it does does it affect them like in there driveway?causing them grief.

    I'm in deer park
     
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    I am a huge fan of the Black Australorps and pleased that you have chosen that breed. I think you are fine without insulating. Mine have made it many a winter in an uninsulated coop with no troubles.

    Codes on placement of sheds or coops can vary widely from place to place. If it is going to be unmovable I would check with my local government on requirements for placement. They don't need to know it is for chickens if you don't want to tell them. [​IMG]

    Get a line locate done if you are digging post holes just in case there is something buried down there that you would not want to dig into. Again they do not need to know why you want a line locate done. [​IMG]
     
  4. Schlecterhunde

    Schlecterhunde New Egg

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    Thank you! Yes, up near the side of the house on either side, will be near the neighbor's livingroom. If I put it toward the back of our property line it's a dirt alley followed by another rather large backyard so maybe back there is better. Still deciding whether we'll build, or if I'll get a tractor. I found a guy in Coeur D'Alene ID that has gorgeous ones designed for up to 8 chickens. An Amish man in Montana makes them - uninsulated but very pretty! However, it's a bit expensive as labor is included. ($850![​IMG]) [​IMG] Thanks, Rod T and 21-Hens...glad to know insulation won't be absolutely necessary and Austrolorps are good....lol! Been reading about different chickens and keep coming back to them.
     
  5. Rod-T

    Rod-T Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Remember they kinda overrate size.. you need 4 Sq feet per bird in coop..so if that coop is 4x4. It's only good for 4 chickens.. the run recommend is 10 Sq feet per bird.. so just keep that in mind
     
  6. Schlecterhunde

    Schlecterhunde New Egg

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    OMG THANK YOU! We did not know that. I'll plan accordingly. I guess it's a good thing I had only planned on 3 or 4 lol.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
  7. Rod-T

    Rod-T Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah so if you want 8 chickens plan on a 4x8 coop and 8x10 run..
    Probably cheaper if you build yourself..
     
  8. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]






    I am subject to -40º weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing or heating your coop to help your birds combat the cold.

    Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

    Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.
    This is done by feeding them whole corn if available or cracked corn as an added supplement in a separate feeder.

    The extra nourishment is more then adequate to bring them through the
    "COLDEST" winter.

    Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

    That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

    I do not add any extra heat or lighting.
    Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

    Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

    I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

    You really do

    "NOT"


    have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

    "MAJOR" problems.

    When it comes to lighting if you find you are short on eggs it does apparently help. I personally do not bother in my operation eggs are sold only to neighbours when they are available (if the sign is out I have eggs). Eggs in my operation have a tendency to crack and freeze during the winter months (we do not disguard them and are fine but use them in house not for sale) the more eggs you produce during these months the more eggs will fall into this category.

    I have roughly 24 Golden Comet hens the longest I ever been out of eggs can be measured in hours >12<24. You will find that the egg supply in any hen is a finite resource the quicker you milk the eggs out of a hen the faster it will be spent and end up in your stew pot.

    On average one hen produces somewhere between 600 to 700 eggs in its life time. Lighting only effect the speed of delivery of the eggs which at the end of the day would amount to less than a year in the hens life is my guess

    If you do decide extra lighting is necessary have your light on a timer to lengthen the day "MAKE SURE IT IS SECURED BY 2 MEANS OF SUPPORT" one being a "SAFETY CHAIN" in case one fails especially if it is an incandescent bulb or heat lamp.

    I personally raise hens as a hobby; and for their manure to enrich my vegetable garden any thing else the hens provide is merely a bonus.

    Here is one BONUS NOW not many people can enjoy seeing in their back yard on a regular basis.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  9. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    You could make a coop and run like that for about $350. It's really not that hard and that way you can design it to your needs. Run size is far more important than coop size. With small coops nobody should be shutting birds in for days at a time nor putting feed and water in there so your management style of birds is dictated by a small coop. In this style of management birds are let out every day without exception. Coop opened in a.m. and closed after they go to roost. The birds wont hang out in the coop if feed and water are kept under it. They only go in to use nest box and roost at night. When temps hit -30F they'll hang out until the late morning highs of -10F and for those few mornings I toss some sunflower seed in coop to hold them over. Happens about 5 times a year where I live. Winterizing the run with a tarp around two sides provides a wind break (put on prevailing wind sides) and a thin layer of hay in run when the ground gets icy is all they need. You have to shovel out the snow though if run is not covered.

    I've had up to 9 layers in a 4x4 coop with external nesting box. The problem with small coops is when it's time to integrate new birds into flock. The limited size makes for longer integration and behavior problems until the establish flock mentality. Found that 6 or 7 birds worked best (Cock and 6 hens). Would sell or cull half and introduce 3 or 4 pullets each fall. Worked well with that number. 4 square ft per bird is for walk in coops where people tend to house the birds in the coldest month(s). Around 10 sqft per bird in run is a good number and more is better. Gives them things to do in larger areas and you've space to add dust bath area (I like wood ash for there dust bath) and can be as simple as an old tire with sand with DE or wood ash mixed in or something prettier. Can add perching areas to runs too for there lounging and people/animal watching pleasure.
     
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I forgot to add that predator prevention will require an apron around the run. It can be laid flat on gound and grass allowed to grow through to which it will disappear in a month from growth and can be walked on/mowed over or you can lift the sod and lay the fencing under it. 2x4 welded wire 14 ga. works well for this. Comes in 4 ft fencing so can be cut in half and at any length you need. Overlap corners and 18-24 inches out from run wall will stop all digging predators. Skunks, stray dogs, etc. will dig at run wall and hit welded wire, can't chew through 14 ga. wire so move to side and try again. Completely dig proof, inexpensive and easy to install.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015

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