Cold weather coop designs?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by deedles, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. deedles

    deedles Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    I've been looking around here on and off for the last year (waiting for my village to rewrite the ordinances so I can get my chickens this spring) and I am wondering about the need to insulate the coop? I'm in Wisconsin, gets pretty darn cold during winter. Do you just keep it small enough that the chickens can keep it warm or is insulation necessary? Heat lamp a good idea? Anyone up here in the frozen tundra zone that can offer some advice? Thanks
  2. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    I would insulate and provide a heat source, but I dont like frozen eggs or frostbite.

    Some folks will tell you that 100 years ago no one insulated or provided heat and they turned out just fine. But with that same logic 100 years ago everyone used an outhouse and walked 20 miles to school up hill both ways in the snow. There are better more efficient ways these days.

    Hens produce more eggs during the winter if you can keep the heat and light at a constant
  3. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    Depending on how many chickens you want. You don't want to overcrowd them....that's another set of problems. I live in MI and we have just about the same weather. I have 16 birds in a 10x12 shed. It is insulated...double walled. I provide a flat panel heater and when it gets really cold, I also have a heat lamp on. I know they can survive in the cold, but I want them comfortable and I don't want frostbitten combs or toes!! Temps are usually between 30 and 45 degrees.
    I hope this helps you decide what you want! Good Luck and show us pics when you get your flock!
  4. JimnJanet

    JimnJanet Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    S.W Pa.
    Hey deedles,
    I jist git my first "flock" 8 girls. I am new to this. I had to throw together a coop pretty quick so i made a 4'x4' box with two nest boxes, one roost an egg door and an exit door for the girls to git to thier small run, also 4x4.I did this and jist laid a 4x8 sheet o' plywood over both and covered the entire length with a sheet o' 6mil plastic with a plastic tarp over it all.I lined the inside and outside floors with hay and even tho we've been havin single digit temps here in girls are fine and dandy. In fact, they started laying last week and we were told by the breeder not to expect eggs for another 3 weeks from now. most nights they produce enough of their collective bodies heat that there water doesn't even freeze. I of course will improve, upgrade and expand this coop come spring.
  5. Sparks

    Sparks Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Our coop is well insulated. 8 ft. by 6 ft.5 ft. tall to ceiling. 10 standards and two bantys. We use the deep litter method. Have two 40 watt lights that go on about 3 a.m. Except when it got to -23 F. we left the lights on 24 hrs. Fed them hot cereal. Extra scratch also. Even those cold days my glasses would fog up when I went into the coop. It stayed about 22 degrees and felt cozy for the chickens. Heated water bowl. They were hatched in June last year and we get 7 to 10 eggs a day. We feel very fortunate they are doing so well. If I could figure out how to post pics I would. Thinking about adding another coop in the careful this chicken thing is addicting!!![​IMG]
    And welcome to you!!
  6. deedles

    deedles Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    Thanks everyone for the help. I'm getting six chickens.. orphingtons and wyandottes, 3 each.

    We're going to build a new structure which will be shielded on the north by our neighbors solid fence and by our garden shed to the east.

    I don't want them to freeze so I'll plan on some insulation.

    Also, it seems that space per chicken is important, right? Too big and they can't keep it warm, too small and they'll fight during the coldest days when they can't get out? That's what I think I've gathered from reading the posts here. I'm nervous I'll screw something up...

    Is there a perfect amount per chicken of floor and roost space?

    I am getting excited again to get my chickens! I've had to wait for the ordinance change (which of course still isn't done but they said yes AND put it in the newspaper so I'm in!) and have been busy all winter with other things. But now, my thoughts are turning back to chickens! My goal is to build a coop/feeding setup that is easy to work with, since I work full-time and I don't think my husband is going to do much more than build the coop. He's not as excited as I am at the prospect of having chickens [​IMG].

    Anyway, square footage thoughts for 6 of the aforementioned girls?

    Thanks again:)

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