Confused about coops

trailhiker

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2021
11
13
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I am learning so much from this site but it is definitely creating questions which is a good thing as I will be new to guineas in a couple weeks and I want to be successful...

First of all I want to thank all the generous people who respond to posts with their extensive knowledge. Secondly, I apologize for this lengthy post with multiple questions about coops. Everytime I think I am pretty comfortable with what I need to do BOOM! I lose confidence and am reminded that I don't know much and this is a genuine learning process that will continue as long as I own the guineas. SO, I know I won't master this but I am somewhat of a perfectionist and don't want to lose my flock and start over. Neither do I want them banging into each other trying to escape my endeavors! I don't know who will have more fun - or should I say challenges - me or the guineas.

Why are the coops built off the ground if there is so much trouble with the guineas trying to hide under the coop and under the ramp? If it was secure all the way around from predators could it be on the ground - like on concrete block or timbers with a floor in the coop?

I see some are building coops that are very open except covered by chicken wire for protection from predators. Some are using the plastic panels for roofing. I am in South central Missouri, very close to the Arkansas border. If I built a coop like that would they be too cold in the winter? Will they be bothered by rain that blows in? Will plastic panels on the roof cause the coop to heat up too much? They will be free range during the day but nights can be hot here.

I saw one post where there were triangular runs covered by brush in the coop so that the picked on birds could escape. Should those runs be a dead end? I would think they should come out at the other end in case they are chased through it.

I also read some information outside of this site from someone who seemed very knowledgeable. He stated that the coop should be at least 300' from the house as they are spooked by just about everything. That seems impossible for me unless I clear out a space in the woods but I don't want them in the woods I want them in the grass areas around the house which are pretty extensive since I have Lyme disease and really. really need to prevent a new infection.

Then, about the vents..... do they stay open all year? I think the average temperature here is around 40 but, of course there will be stretches of much colder temps.
And the lights.... should I use l lights that auto turn off after they are in the coop or do they need some light in the coop all night?

We have just moved here and are very slow moving in as this new house is at least 1/3 the size of our previous house and garages BUT we still have all our stuff🤨
So, The quickest guinea house that is safe and succcessful is what I want. I saw the ones using cattle fencing covered by tarps but that just seems like it would heat up so much here.

I have almost as many questions as I had with the birth of my first child. But, that was easier as I knew my baby would be right near me all the time. These guineas - now that's another happy expectancy that seems fraught with so many dangers.
 

R2elk

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My Coop
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Why are the coops built off the ground if there is so much trouble with the guineas trying to hide under the coop and under the ramp? If it was secure all the way around from predators could it be on the ground - like on concrete block or timbers with a floor in the coop?
I build my coops with a ground floor. One of the benefits of a ground floor for me is my method of keeping the water from freezing.

Alternate method to prevent water freezing.

My Guinea Coop

 

R2elk

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Feb 24, 2013
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I see some are building coops that are very open except covered by chicken wire for protection from predators. Some are using the plastic panels for roofing. I am in South central Missouri, very close to the Arkansas border. If I built a coop like that would they be too cold in the winter? Will they be bothered by rain that blows in? Will plastic panels on the roof cause the coop to heat up too much? They will be free range during the day but nights can be hot here.
Ventilation is critical. You can get away with a lot as long as you have good ventilation. If it gets too hot you may need to add a circulation fan.
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
35,987
175,953
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Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I saw one post where there were triangular runs covered by brush in the coop so that the picked on birds could escape. Should those runs be a dead end? I would think they should come out at the other end in case they are chased through it.
Guineas can be nasty to each other. It is beneficial to provide hiding places and obstacles so the lower pecking order members can escape from their tormenters. Hiding places should be open ended.
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
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I also read some information outside of this site from someone who seemed very knowledgeable. He stated that the coop should be at least 300' from the house as they are spooked by just about everything. That seems impossible for me unless I clear out a space in the woods but I don't want them in the woods I want them in the grass areas around the house which are pretty extensive since I have Lyme disease and really. really need to prevent a new infection.
This is personal preference. They can be loud at times. My guineas are quiet when in the coop. Well as quiet as guineas get. They are constantly making soft pleasant noises that do not carry far. It is only when the hens are "buckwheating" or the flock is alarming that they get loud.
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
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Then, about the vents..... do they stay open all year? I think the average temperature here is around 40 but, of course there will be stretches of much colder temps.
It can and does get down to -30°F here. I have two windows in my coop. They are wide open in the summer and cracked open about 1" all winter no matter how cold it gets out.
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
35,987
175,953
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Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
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And the lights.... should I use l lights that auto turn off after they are in the coop or do they need some light in the coop all night?
It can be beneficial to have lights available. You never know when you will need to see something at night. I have a light in my coop but only turn it on when I need it to see. Some people have a light on at dusk to help get their guineas in the coop in the evening since guineas do not like going into dark places. My coop is usually about the same light level as outside because of the huge skylight.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,166
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USA
My experience is with chickens, not guineas, but I think many of the considerations are the same.

Why are the coops built off the ground if there is so much trouble with the guineas trying to hide under the coop and under the ramp? If it was secure all the way around from predators could it be on the ground - like on concrete block or timbers with a floor in the coop?
Yes, it could be on the ground.

Why do people build raised coops? I think it's mostly a space issue, for small flocks in cute little coops. When you need to fit the coop & run into a tiny space in your small yard, it can make sense to have a raised coop that lets the birds still use the space underneath. And the space under the coop is a bit sheltered from sun, rain, etc, so it can be a favorite place for chickens to spend time (I assume guineas do too.)

My personal preference is a coop with the floor at or near ground level, that the birds cannot get under. I like it tall enough for me to stand up inside, with enough extra height that the bedding can pile deep and I will still not bump my head.


I see some are building coops that are very open except covered by chicken wire for protection from predators.
Hardware cloth (1/2" openings) is stronger than chicken wire, so it is much better for protection from predators. A raccoon or dog can rip through chicken wire, but hardware cloth at least slows them down. A raccoon can also reach through chicken wire to grab a bird and rip off pieces, but 1/2" hardware cloth should be small enough to prevent that too.

Very open is a good thing in hot weather, to allow hot air out on all sides!

I am in South central Missouri, very close to the Arkansas border. If I built a coop like that would they be too cold in the winter? Will they be bothered by rain that blows in?
Hardware cloth, or any kind of wire fencing, will at least slow down the wind and rain.

It's common to make one or two solid sides, in the directions that the most wind comes from. Solid can by plywood or siding, or it can be plastic panels, or even a tarp (secure it well so it cannot flap and shred itself.)

In that climate, I might try for 4 sides open in the summer, and 1 or 2 sides open in the winter. When they sleep in the winter, you do not want wind to ruffle their feathers, because that lets heat out. In hot weather, wind ruffling their feathers is fine, because they need to stay cool.

Will plastic panels on the roof cause the coop to heat up too much? They will be free range during the day but nights can be hot here.
I would not use clear plastic panels on the roof, but opaque plastic should be fine. If you have several sides that are "open" (wire mesh), the birds will get plenty of light, and hot air will be able to move out easily. Hot air will tend to go up and collect near the roof, so be sure there is some space above the birds' heads when they are sleeping-- that way the hot air can move up and away from them, instead of staying right where they are sleeping.

An opaque roof provides shade (important in summer), as well as keeping out rain and snow.

I also read some information outside of this site from someone who seemed very knowledgeable. He stated that the coop should be at least 300' from the house as they are spooked by just about everything.
Chickens can get used to anything, if it happens regularly. That is true of most other animals as well. I do not know if guineas are an exception or not.

Then, about the vents..... do they stay open all year? I think the average temperature here is around 40 but, of course there will be stretches of much colder temps.
Advice for chickens is one square foot of ventilation per bird, open all year long, plus more if needed. Guineas are probably close enough to chicken size that you could use that as a starting point.

For chickens, wind is bad and humidity is bad, but dry cold with no wind is not a big deal. The trick is to put the ventilation where the air can move, but is not blowing hard on the birds.

Again, I don't know enough about guineas to know their cold tolerance.
do they need some light in the coop all night?
I would expect them to be fine sleeping in the dark, but they might need some light while getting settled for the night.

If they need light at night, the species would never have lived long enough for people to domesticate them :confused:

So, The quickest guinea house that is safe and succcessful is what I want. I saw the ones using cattle fencing covered by tarps but that just seems like it would heat up so much here.
If you're talking about the hoop houses (looks like an arch), the tarp can go on the top and partway down the sides. Leaving both ends uncovered does a good job of keeping it cool. Whether to run the tarp all the way to the ground on the sides will depend on which way the sun comes in: shade is good, but ventilation is good too, so you'll need to find the right balance for where you have the pen.

For winter, cover all the way down the arched sides, but still leave some space uncovered at both ends for ventilation.

Cattle panels have such large holes you need a layer of something else (like hardware cloth) to keep the birds in and the predators out.
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,714
9,015
676
Stillwater, OK
I am learning so much from this site but it is definitely creating questions which is a good thing as I will be new to guineas in a couple weeks and I want to be successful...

First of all I want to thank all the generous people who respond to posts with their extensive knowledge. Secondly, I apologize for this lengthy post with multiple questions about coops. Everytime I think I am pretty comfortable with what I need to do BOOM! I lose confidence and am reminded that I don't know much and this is a genuine learning process that will continue as long as I own the guineas. SO, I know I won't master this but I am somewhat of a perfectionist and don't want to lose my flock and start over. Neither do I want them banging into each other trying to escape my endeavors! I don't know who will have more fun - or should I say challenges - me or the guineas.

Why are the coops built off the ground if there is so much trouble with the guineas trying to hide under the coop and under the ramp? If it was secure all the way around from predators could it be on the ground - like on concrete block or timbers with a floor in the coop?

I see some are building coops that are very open except covered by chicken wire for protection from predators. Some are using the plastic panels for roofing. I am in South central Missouri, very close to the Arkansas border. If I built a coop like that would they be too cold in the winter? Will they be bothered by rain that blows in? Will plastic panels on the roof cause the coop to heat up too much? They will be free range during the day but nights can be hot here.

I saw one post where there were triangular runs covered by brush in the coop so that the picked on birds could escape. Should those runs be a dead end? I would think they should come out at the other end in case they are chased through it.

I also read some information outside of this site from someone who seemed very knowledgeable. He stated that the coop should be at least 300' from the house as they are spooked by just about everything. That seems impossible for me unless I clear out a space in the woods but I don't want them in the woods I want them in the grass areas around the house which are pretty extensive since I have Lyme disease and really. really need to prevent a new infection.

Then, about the vents..... do they stay open all year? I think the average temperature here is around 40 but, of course there will be stretches of much colder temps.
And the lights.... should I use l lights that auto turn off after they are in the coop or do they need some light in the coop all night?

We have just moved here and are very slow moving in as this new house is at least 1/3 the size of our previous house and garages BUT we still have all our stuff🤨
So, The quickest guinea house that is safe and succcessful is what I want. I saw the ones using cattle fencing covered by tarps but that just seems like it would heat up so much here.

I have almost as many questions as I had with the birth of my first child. But, that was easier as I knew my baby would be right near me all the time. These guineas - now that's another happy expectancy that seems fraught with so many dangers.
Mmmm, lots of questions at once!

1) Elevate vs on ground - personal preference. I have two chicken coops that are elevated - it allowed me to have a smaller footprint because part of the run is under the coop. It also provides a shady, cool spot for birds during our extreme heat. Downside is that there’s no ground insulation during seriously cold weather, and it can be hard to catch chickens (actually, it’s my PIA ducks!). My guinea coop is on the ground, which is more insulating and was easier to build.

2) Vents, I have the arched cattle panel coop with the South end open wire. In the summer, the entire south end is open hardware cloth and the upper North end is also open. That means that the top section, where they roost, has open airflow all summer for cross-ventilation. I cover the arch with a white vinyl tarp which reflects the sun, so the coop does not get too hot in our 100+ F degree summers. This coop was primarily built for our hot summers, sometimes up to 110 F. For the winter, I cover the upper areas with a clear tarp. That leaves the North totally closed off and the South end closed at the top, so roosting guineas don’t have wind directly blowing on their high roosts. The South side below roost level is always open. See attached pic of South side during winter, with upper portion covered with tarp. So, my ventilation is different from what you normally hear about with high ventilation. Mine is lower than the birds, both for the guineas and chickens. This was my attempt to follow Woods coop principles without building a Woods coop! I could use more ventilation in my chicken coop but the guineas coop behaves well. Yes, rain blows in sometimes. If it gets too wet, I shovel it out and add more shavings. Summer storms are warm and not a problem for the birds. In winter, cold storms are from the North, which is blocked off. Warm storms are from the South, which is mostly open. Even during extreme winter cold (highs in single digits, lows of -10 F) this past Feb, guineas did well confined to the coop.


3) 300’ - that’s up to you. Guinea fowl are LOUD! Like, really loud. But it’s my roosters that I hear at 5 AM… I have the guineas at least 300’ away and still hear them faintly some nights. In spring, new noises and deer rustling around will wake them up. Sometimes I check on them, sometimes not. For me, nighttime buck wheating (female call) is a somewhat annoying spring issue. I can mostly ignore it.
 

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