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Chicken door - Help with 90 degree "arctic entry" design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WinterLadyAK, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. WinterLadyAK

    WinterLadyAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2012
    Palmer, Alaska
    Hello. I currently have thirteen 22-week old chickens, mostly plymouth rocks but 4 silkies as well, in an 8x8 coop and 10x20 roofed run. I'm thinking of constructing an arctic entry for their pop door which is currently just a hole with ramps on either side. At one point I had a door on it that I would open for them in the morning and close at night, but getting up at 6am every morning got old fast, so I've just been leaving it open. I'm not looking for warnings about how I should have them locked in safely as no run is completely predator-proof... while there are always ways something could get in we went pretty over-the-top with its construction and I'm satisfied with it and willing to take the risks.

    So if anyone has built anything like this, mainly just something to cut the wind, let me know! None of my searches turned up anything. I've thought about just doing the doggie-door type plastic strips method, and that would work fine for summer and maybe fall, but when we get sub-zero temperatures I thought this might be a better option for them? Tonight we're getting temps below freezing so I put a towel in front of the door on the run-side, but I want a more permanent solution.

    Preliminary thoughts: The opening to the pop door is something like 11"x11". So I'd make a wooden tunnel using four 11" wide boards, maybe go out one or two feet, then make a 90 degree turn that is a downward ramp into the run (silkies don't have trouble with the ramps, all four of them roost up high with the big girls).

    Would this narrow tunnel frighten the chickens? Maybe 11" is just fine for them to duck through but might be too scary and confined if it's a tunnel? Am I making this much too complicated? I've looked at a lot of the designs for the auto-doors, and maybe should just make one of those (the one using an old drill looked pretty neat), but I thought this might be an interesting option.
     
  2. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Certainly the automatic door would be your best bet, but the tunnel design sounds interesting. I know that chickens don't like the dark. Maybe if you made one side of it out of Plexiglass so the light could go through, they would certainly go through it, because chickens like windows. I would not put it on top though, because snow would cover it and make it darker inside. I'd be interested in what other's have to say.
     
  3. WinterLadyAK

    WinterLadyAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2012
    Palmer, Alaska
    Yes, I was thinking about that also, and thinking maybe about having a few little plexiglass windows in it. Then I realized with the price of plexiglass and the time it would take to do that, I was probably being silly not to do the auto door. Still just like this in theory though, thanks for the response!
     
  4. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good luck with whatever you choose. I know the winters can suck up there as they do down here. Anything to make life easier in the winter is a PLUS! I have been looking for ways to make cleaning easier for the winter and have been making a few modifications in preparation for it.
    By the way, I love your coop and run. I wish I had that much space. Your coop is very nicely lit with windows. I like that, and your girls seem to have lots of indoor romping room. Nice job!
     
  5. WinterLadyAK

    WinterLadyAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2012
    Palmer, Alaska
    Winters can be harsh, and that's part of the reason this idea attracts me more than an auto-door. That way if it gets a bit much for them, they can go back outside the coop during the day for some wind-free shelter. With the auto door it's in or out!
     
  6. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2011
    Here's what we did...we were going to go with the 90 degree angle and figured it would be a bear to keep clean. Instead, we installed a guillotine door with a pulley system to open and close from inside and made a 'foyer' for the outside. I don't have any silkies going up the ramp so, I can't help you there but, the NNs just love it.

    [​IMG]

    I don't know if it is snow worthy yet but, it worked really well keeping the remnants of Isaac out and a nasty t-storm. No water or wind got into the actual coop!
     
  7. WinterLadyAK

    WinterLadyAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2012
    Palmer, Alaska
    I love it! This is exactly the sort of ingenious idea I was after! Good point about the cleaning, I hadn't thought of that. Maybe I could do something like this and then put weather strips on both sides of it. Thanks for sharing!

     
  8. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2011
    Thank you :) I thought it turned out awfully cute :)
     
  9. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All we did was give it a good dose of caulking around the connecting edge. We made the inside door much smaller so that the weather would have a harder time getting in. It is working well so far. In the rain, a couple even took refuge inside the 'foyer' :) I guess that must mean it was waterproof! Good luck with your coop...please post when finished!
     
  10. WinterLadyAK

    WinterLadyAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2012
    Palmer, Alaska
    We didn't make ours quite as cute as yours, but it's certainly functional. We insulated the ceiling of the "box", and I still want to add some weather flaps to the outside doorway because already it's getting pretty cold during the day. Thanks so much for the pics you posted it really helped me! I did catch one hen trying to nest in there (the bottom is filled with 2" of sand) but I've moved her to the nest box and haven't found any eggs in there so far.


    [​IMG]
     

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