Coop design questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by csreed, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. csreed

    csreed New Egg

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    Apr 12, 2008
    Hi! The website has been very helpful, but I need a little more specific help. I've built several coops in the past, but now I am living in a much colder area & have to re-think my previous designs. It will get over 100 degrees for a week or two in the summer, & overnight lows in winter can get 10 or more degrees below zero. I'm starting here with 8 Buff Orpington pullets, so they should be pretty winter-hardy. The henhouse & run (5' x 17') will be positioned between my unheated detatched garage & my neighbor's - 6 inches of clearance on each side to allow for some side ventilation of the henhouse. The garages have cinderblock foundations & will provide a mostly shaded area - the henhouse & most of the run will also be roofed.
    1). Insulation - would you agree that we need it for such a cold climate? Is insulating the roof enough, or should the walls be done too? Mice could be a big problem - ideas?
    2). What do you use for heating & cooling the henhouse? I'm thinking of a thermostat & greenhouse heater/fan - has anyone tried this? Is it worth the expense? If not, what do you use?
    3). I've never used lights for wintertime laying (Barred Rocks have aways done me proud with winter laying) - does anyone know if the Buffs will need lights? (My impression is that they probably won't...)
    4). I'm thinking that a concrete henhouse floor will probably work best to keep out rodents/snakes/wildlife (we have quite a bit!) & allow cleaning in the winter without having to use a hose. I'd leave the run floor as dirt. Any thoughts?

    Thank you so much for any input you can give us! We are clearing the area now & hope to start sinking posts/pouring the henhouse cement floor in the next couple of days. My husband wants me to hurry up & make up my mind on the details of the henhouse so we can get moving!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I think your life, and your chickens, would be a lot easier if you insulate -- especially since it sounds like the henhouse may not get very much heating from the sun? I would definitely insulate both the walls and the inside of the roof -- in fact if I had to omit one or the other I'd omit insulating the roof, not the walls, since there is so much more wall area than roof area. If mice are a problem, consider using the dense foam insulation board, which they don't burrow in *as much* as they would in fiberglas or in the kind of styrofoam where you can see all the individual white balls. Also, framing your walls without gaps, like seriously accurately, will also help keep mice out of the walls.

    2). What do you use for heating & cooling the henhouse? I'm thinking of a thermostat & greenhouse heater/fan - has anyone tried this? Is it worth the expense? If not, what do you use?

    Most people use chickens for heat [​IMG] Seriously. Chickens put out significant body heat.

    But if you are contemplating actually heating the coop, then by all means insulate the heck out of it as much as you possibly can, to avoid wasting energy!

    Most people, if they're going to actively heat the coop in winter, hang a lightbulb (doesn't necessarily have to be a heat lamp unless you *need* the big guns, which in your climate you shouldn't) or an infrared heater over the roost, and put it on a timer rather than a thermostat (or switch it on and off manually).

    If by greenhouse heater you mean propane, you should probably wire up a CO detector to alert you in the house if there is a carbon monoxide problem, ideally before you lose all your hens.

    3). I've never used lights for wintertime laying (Barred Rocks have aways done me proud with winter laying) - does anyone know if the Buffs will need lights? (My impression is that they probably won't...)

    Depends how many eggs you want, and (very importantly) on how much natural light the coop gets, esp. at dusk and dawn.

    4). I'm thinking that a concrete henhouse floor will probably work best to keep out rodents/snakes/wildlife (we have quite a bit!) & allow cleaning in the winter without having to use a hose. I'd leave the run floor as dirt. Any thoughts?

    If you can afford concrete, go for it. You will need to put an extra-extra thick layer of bedding in the winter, unless you want to put down rubber horse stall mats or plywood or such to insulate from the cold. Although beyond a certain point of coldness, a concrete floor can actually keep the coop 'warm' (well, less frigid) in winter as it draws some heat from the earth. If you are pouring a new slab for the coop, consider insulating all around the sides of it, so there is a thermal break between the slab and the surrounding ground.

    Have fun,

    Pat​
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008

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