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Coop Advice in Southwest Colorado -- Am I Overdoing It?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ValleyGirl81301, May 7, 2017.

  1. ValleyGirl81301

    ValleyGirl81301 New Egg

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    May 7, 2017
    Hi! I've been spending a good bit of time lurking, but this is my first post.

    We live in the mountains of Southwest Colorado, and you name the predator, we've got it -- weasels, bears, mountain lions, foxes, coyotes, etc.... We've got a definite winter here, with plenty of snow on the ground for a few months out of the year.

    We're in one of those desert-ish climates where, especially in the summer, it can get pretty warm during the day, but then the temperature will drop 40 or 50 degrees at night. Our highs in June (hottest month) will be in the 90s.

    We are in the process of building our coop, and I wanted to see what designs/materials other chicken raisers in areas with these climate conditions have had success with.

    The girls will be allowed to range around our fenced-in acre (lots of trees and greenery) during the day, and will be locked up at night in a coop. We are also building an attached run for those times when we might need to keep them more protected. (Just FYI, the fence in our yard is a 6-foot orchard fence on wood posts, with a couple of strands of electric wire on the outside to discourage the bears who love our fruit trees.)

    Our idea right now is to do a completely enclosed raised coop with painted OSB walls, painted plywood floors, a couple of windows backed by hardware cloth, and metal roofing with something to plug those holes created by the ridges in the roofing (either decking or hardware cloth underneath, or just roofing closure strips).

    The run will be concreted-in wood posts with wood framing and hardware cloth surrounding. We'll put a metal roof on the run, too, with the same considerations for the ridge holes.

    The whole coop/run structure will have an apron of hardware cloth dug 6 inches into the ground and running a foot out.

    Does any of this sound like overkill? We were thinking the run would need a roof due to the snow, but is that necessary if we just put hardware cloth over the run instead? It seems like different people have different experiences when it comes to chickens being willing to get out in the snow.

    How many people who let their girls out during the day also have a predator-proof run attached to the coop?

    I'm just wondering if we're overthinking this.

    Would love any advice you can give me from your knowledge and experience!

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. rbreininger

    rbreininger Out Of The Brooder

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    I live in SW Wyoming and we got a bit of snow this last winter (we broke all records locally) and as you can see my hens were out in it.

    I added to the run this spring and built a new coop.

    You can see construction photos and ideas on my post 'Expanded my run - coop is next'
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Cbennich

    Cbennich Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2016
    Your ideas sound just like what we have done with our coop and run. You can't be too careful when keeping your girls safe. We have a roof over half of the run. We put hardware cloth over/under every gap. We have no regrets or problems yet!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. ValleyGirl81301

    ValleyGirl81301 New Egg

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    May 7, 2017
    Thanks so much! It's so funny, some people say their hens hate the snow, and some say they don't mind it. What I haven't been asking -- but probably should be! -- is which breeds these hens are. My hens will be Orpingtons, Cochins, and Buckeyes -- so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the cold and snow won't bother them too much! :)

    Also, quick question -- what do you use on the floor of your coop and run? I'm learning toward deep litter for the winter months, and maybe even for the rest of the year since our nights are cool and the hens will only be in the coop at nighttime....

    Thank you again!
     
  5. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2016
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    I can't speak to the predators galore, but I will say that having a small predator-proof run has come in handy when we've been out of town. They don't get to go out in the big (less predator proof) run when we're gone, but they're not confined to the coop.
     
  6. Cbennich

    Cbennich Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2016
    Deep litter is working wonderfully well for my eight girls. We use pine shavings in the run, in the coop, and in the laying boxes. They love scratching around in it and keep it turned pretty well on their own. We have a little hay in the loft. My Wyandotte and one of the red stars like to lay there. As for snow, we are in Alabama and never see it! The heat is what we have to be aware of.
     

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