coop design and windows/sunlight, and building winter safe

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CrunchySarah, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. CrunchySarah

    CrunchySarah In the Brooder

    Jan 20, 2009
    I'm working on my coop design and struggling a bit. From what I've read, having lots of sunlight in your coop is important to keep down bacterial growth and the more sunlight your chickens get, the higher in vitamin D the eggs are. We have a couple of old windows in our garage (very old, I doubt they were original on our 1900 house, but they do have the glass that has "pooled", gotten thicker at the lower part of the window). I was thinking of using them to save money, but then I know they will leak air and be cold in the winter. This is the second part of my problem. We live in Iowa, and it's below freezing here for about 3 months of the year, with temps frequently below 0 F. I have cold hardy breeds (Rhode Is Reds, Plymouth Rocks, and Buff Orpingtons), but I don't want the girls to be freezing out there.

    Anyway, I have some ideas I want to run by you experts here. Hopefully some of you in colder climates can help me out with the winterizing type issues.

    Is it wise to have a raised coop in a cold-winter climate? The coop design I'm liking would have about 2 feet beneath the floor, but I'm worried having that cold air underneath in the winter will make the coop get too cold. Should I just build it with the floor frame resting directly on the ground?

    I was thinking of using corrugated polycarbonate sheeting for the roof, like Suntuf, to increase the sun exposure in the coop, but I wonder if these would leach out the heat in the winter? I also wonder if they would make the coop too hot in the summer?

    Y'all have probably seen this solar heater (I found the link on this site, but I don't remember where) I was thinking of putting this guy on the southside of my coop for the winter. My question is, and no one may know, but can I just install it over the windows? Will it still heat/convect effectively?

    Thanks for any help. We have our chicks now, so we really need to solidify our coop plans and get building!

  2. CrunchySarah

    CrunchySarah In the Brooder

    Jan 20, 2009
    Oh, I forget one more question... should I use like some kind of foam insulation, like a house wrap?
  3. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!! From California!! [​IMG]

    You have lots of good questions here!! I can't help you since I live in CA and don't have the cold weather issues.

    Just so you know -- you will probably get a better response if you post earlier in the evening (your time!!).

    Good Luck!! You are asking the right questions!!!!

  4. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    With the ground thing, I think on the ground would be better. BUT make sure that the ground is dry before building.
  5. Quote:We live in a cold climate and have a Playhouse Coop ; it about 2 feet off the ground. The girls have been plenty warm enough this winter and we have heavy breeds too; they have so much feathering that even when the temps dipped below zero several times this winter they still did just fine. Our coop is not heated or insulated and I personally don't think that's necessary except in really cold climates, like zone 3 or 4 (we're in zone 6.)

    I’m not concerned about the floor of the coop being too cold for them; there is always a thick layer of pine shavings on the floor that offers additional insulation and they sleep on the roosts anyway. A draft free, well ventilated dry coop is the most important thing.

    Right now it’s 28 degrees outside and I can see them happily free ranging in the yard.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009

  6. briana1975

    briana1975 Songster

    Feb 23, 2009
    Carleton Mi.
    We are just starting to. We are in Michigan zone 4. Me and my husband are planning on building off the ground because summer is so hot and it will be a shady place for them. We have such extremes in temps here. We had more then 2 weeks of below 0 deg weather this winter and when summer hits it will get well over 90 deg. We plan on putting straw bails under coop for winter to cut back on cold air getting under coop. These will be our first chickens so I am hoping it will work.
  7. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    We insulated our coop with 1" foam insulation, it doesn't usually get below -8 C in the coop at NIGHT in the winter. We're also going to blow in some mouse/pest proof insulation into the walls and attic of it this summer.

    The main coop is NOT Tyvek'd

    The duck house however, has R-20 batt and vapour barrier in the walls and Tyvek on the walls. Underneath (it's a raised shed style roof coop) we have 3" hard foam insulation and Tyvek, we also are siding underneath the coop. All seams will be sealed with caulking and our walls are packed with wire wool at the bottom (preventitive measures re: mice?).
  8. CrunchySarah

    CrunchySarah In the Brooder

    Jan 20, 2009
    Thank you for the replies so far - Briana, we were thinking of strawbaling too. We're right on the boarder of zone 5a and 4b here, it gets quite hot in summer, above 90 for many weeks, and quite cold, with negative temps for several weeks in winter. Makes coop building more of a challenge!
  9. [​IMG] [​IMG]

  10. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I live in Florida. I have some insulation in my coop but more for keeping it cooler in the summer and lots of ventilation in the coop too.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009

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