Coop construction, lumber and siding question


6 Years
Sep 8, 2013
Waxahachie, tx
We have started the coop building and I noticed our lumber is above ground rated severe weather (UC3b). The info on it says not to paint newly pressure treated lumber. How do I know if it is newly treated? Anyone bought lumber and paint it with exterior paint and have any problems? Does it need a coat of something else first?

Also...what kind of boards do you use for the coop walls? The design book I have doesn't say what types were used just the dimensions. I am looking for inexpensive wood walls/paneling that will stand up to the weather. Is it just as easy to get plywood and coat it with exterior paint?

I was thinking of making a hinged roof so that we could keep it closed during winter and open it for more ventilation in the summer. But it is starting to look a bit over my building knowledge lol so was thinking of going with one that is just slanted with openings all around the overhand of the roof and hardwear cloth under the slanted roof. Pro's and con's to both? One better than the other?

We are in north central texas and it is already starting to get down into the upper 50's at night.

My husband says I over analyze things and am wondering if this is one of those times?

Thank you so much for any and all assistance.

~ Nicole
If you haven't, I suggest you look through the coops section of this site. You will not only find some excellent design ideas but many in progress build photos too. It is really interesting to see what others do. For me, my building experience is very minimal so relying on how others put things together really helped. For our coop I didn't want to buy a ton of wood so I used a bunch of scraps my in laws had from former projects. It was all different types and thicknesses of wood. I painted it because of this, but if I were to do it again I'd go the route of stain cap much easier.
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As a guide or suggestion to coop construction, refer to:

Pressure treated wood should dry for a month before painting. Nevertheless, priming then painting with two finish coats will do the job. Moisture contained in the wood from its processing takes some time to work its way out. If you paint too early, the sections that were still moist will simply peel. Then you can touch it up. No big deal, as they say.

I used OSB for the walls of my coops. It is cheap, but not particularly resistant to weather. I also used whatever wood I had lying around. Having lots of paint and time, I primed and painted two finish coats. It has held up well. Plain Jane plywood will work as well. Most plywood is rated indoor and outdoor nowadays. The key is the glue for construction of the plywood. Whatever you use will last longer and look nicer with paint.

With a proper roof, the siding won't get much water on it.

A roof is a heavy thing once constructed and shingled. Hinges or not, I doubt you would be able to open it. Ventilation works better, as in the above plans, when placed in the walls of the coop. Rain stays out. Place ventilation openings across from each other offset so the wind will not blow through the coop. You want ventilation for the ammonia and moisture laden air to leave by the natural process of heated air rising to leave the coop while cool, outdoor, fresh air replaces it. An outlet up high will allow the air to rise. An inlet down low will allow fresh air to enter to replace it.

Openings for ventilation appear to be too small in most of the descriptions that I read. The inlets and outlets need to be a couple of square feet in area. Chickens will be fine in the cold, if they have ventilation to keep the air clean. Their feathers will keep them warm.

I made ventilation openings under the edge of the roof all around the coop. Another opening is the door to the coop. Hardware cloth seems to be the best for easy flow of air as well as protection from predators.

Analyzing things is not so bad. It is better to plan than have to change it later.

You want to make your coop impregnable in the same manner as Fort Knox.

It never goes below 0 degrees F here, but I never close the coop's vents.

The value of lights in the winter is to start the chickens' day early to allow for more light to stimulate laying. I don't light my coop. We all get a break in the winter here.

I use a birdbath heater to keep the water from freezing. I keep the water in the run so any spills aren't a problem. I keep food in the coop to protect it from the weather and to keep the dog from eating it.


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