Cold climate coop design & good laying hearty Breed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BowChickaWowWow, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. BowChickaWowWow

    BowChickaWowWow New Egg

    Apr 29, 2009
    I've been scouring the sites and I've become more overwhelmed and confused than when I started my search to build a simple coop!?![​IMG]

    I'm thinking of getting 2-4 hens but again that has also become a daunting task of which breed is best for the cold yet still lays often enough...?[​IMG]

    I'm in the cold and unpredictable climate of Vancouver BC. or more specifically Bowen Island. (which would be perfect for a free range with there being no raccoons or other predators--but I have dogs, so there goes that fantasy.)

    So I'm just trying to figure out with all these variables...

    -To insulate or not to insulate?
    -Which coop is the best for keeping them warm?
    -Is there any conceivable way of letting them roam free or 1/2 free? LOL I guess I mean enclosed yet free? (oxymoron I know)
    -and just to really throw a wrench, could it be a tractor?

    Really I would like to fully understand what I must have, the roost, the boxes, the deep litter method etc. I would like to be less maintenance.

    alright well anyone's thoughts would be great. I just think this site is awesome and love seeing how many other peeps feel like I do. I've wanted a coop since I was a little girl and I finally have the perfect environment for it...Now if i could just make the right choice.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  2. lunkerchicken

    lunkerchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good morning. I live in New England and will be insulating towards the end of the summer, beginning of fall. I am still debating on which kind to install, roll insulation of the pink panels?? Either way, I know that anything installed needs to be covered or the little ladies will make a real mess! I too am looking for some input on this insulation thing from fellow BYC'ers! Let the suggestions roll.
  3. brandytab

    brandytab Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2009
    Upstate NY
    I look forward to the responses, too! I'm in New England also and will be making sure of insulation, too. I'm building two coops because I just HAD to give a home to a trio of Silkies that someone doesn't want anymore.

    Regarding cold weather, I'm incubating some Buff Orpingtons right now. They do wonderful up here according to locals, and lay well. While you are considerably further north than I, I believe that they are extremely cold hardy.

  4. tlharv

    tlharv Out Of The Brooder

    My brother has between 15-20 chickens and lives in Kent, WA. His coop isn't insulated, and has quite a bit of ventilation. He notices that when it's cold, everyone just bunches together on the perch without any problems. Granted, Kent is further south than Vancouver, and may not get the cold wet ocean weather you have. But from what I've read here, what matters more is blocking the wind & rain. I'm in Snohomish and don't plan on insulating my henhouse.
  5. Hillbilly Rooster

    Hillbilly Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Middleville, Michigan
    Just a suggestion if your not sure on what to put up on the walls after insulation go to the hardware, Lowes, Menards and ask if they have any damaged paneling. Heck for insulation ask if they have any damage pink, green, white styrophom insulation.

    I live in Michigan and the temps can sometimes be nasty mine is not insulated yet. I have another coop I have to build as well.

    Hope this helped.
  6. lelisabeth

    lelisabeth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Elverson, Pennsylvania
    I've heard that if you insulate your coop, your ladies will need it. If you don't, they will get used to the cold and won't need it. As long as you have a cold hardy breed, you won't need insulation, period. The worst thing to do is not ventilate your coop enough, and end up with a humid, moldy coop.
  7. jennmugg

    jennmugg Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2009
    Titusville Florida
    We have ISA Browns, which I have been told are hearty and prolific egg layers. I can't vouch for that though, mine aren't at point of lay yet.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    There is zero reason (except convenience and cost) not to insulate -- but OTOH you are not likely to absolutely NEED insulation on in your area, assuming intelligent choice of breeds.

    It does make life quite a lot more pleasant, and the coop easier to manage in the winter, though.

    I believe the poster who said 'if you insulate, they'll grow dependant on it" may be thinking of *heat lamps* not insulation. Insulation is a completely different issue, it merely reduces the rate at which the coop loses heat at night. You wouldn't say "don't build your coop in a sunny protected site or they'll grow dependant on that" or "make sure no snow builds up around the coop accidentally insulating it" [​IMG]

    I would advise against a tractor. THey don't winterize well, are hard to stay on the right side of the ventilation/temperature/drafts tradeoff. Also access can be miserable in winter.

    You can let them roam a large area, but you will occasionally lose some to hawks and perhaps loose dogs. Depends what you're comfortable with.

    Sexlinks are your best bet for serious egg-laying, and should probably be cold-hardy enough for you. The especially cold-hardy *breeds* (as opposed to sexlink hybrids), such as buckeyes and chanteclers and wyandottes, are just not going to come close to a sexlink in terms of egg output.

    Good luck, have fun,

  9. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    [​IMG] from MN

    I have 4 Buff Orps in a winter coop and I can tell you from experience that a small flock will *not* heat up a coop sufficiently, and if you *don't* insulate, whatever heat you get from windows will be gone as well. Spend the money, don't look back. Your birds will thank you and you will sleep better at night.

    You could do a tractor, but it's not a great idea. It's hard to manage where it gets cold and really, a house big enough for 4 big ladies probably won't be small enough to move around by hand. I'd recommend a playhouse coop. They are cute, you can make the run whatever size fancies you and they are a good size for 4 birds. A 4x4 coop is the smallest for 4 birds and if it was me, I'd go even bigger. One thing to consider - you'll want to build a "basement" under that playhouse to keep the cold wind from making the floor too cold. Great spot for storage anyways. Regardless, there are TONS of ideas in the coop design page and in the coop forum. Use the search function in the blue bar up above.

    Lots of people free range their birds. Lots of people lose their birds to predators of the 4 and 2 legged variety. My girls will venture out of the yard (or worse, into my gardens) if unattended. I allow free-ranging when I'm home and can supervise. To each his own.

    Good luck!
  10. BowChickaWowWow

    BowChickaWowWow New Egg

    Apr 29, 2009
    thank you all so much for your responses.[​IMG]

    I suppose I will insulate and I will go with the playhouse Idea.

    now does anyone know where I could get some ideas of how to insulate? some links would be great. or photos of how to properly do this?

    and even bigger importance to me now is ventilation!!!

    I really dont want to mess this up, so I would really love advise for how to properly do this for a cold climate coop.

    links/advice pictures...interior pics would be really great. whatever you got is so greatly appreciated!!

    ty all


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