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Coop Question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mschramm08, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. mschramm08

    mschramm08 New Egg

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    Myself my wife and our 3 y/o son decided last week to purchase a few laying hens and did. (2 barred rock, 1 buckeye, 1 red star) All is well there after the first week and I am now entering the process of building a coop for these ladies. Living in central NY where the temps go down into the single digits and negatives at night during the winter months, I was wondering if the coop should be insulated, and if I should build a full shingled roof or a sloped roof with a covered henhouse. I want to build the sloped roof because I like the looks, but think it might be too cold in the winter. Any suggestions would help us newbie chicken farmers and BYC'ers haha!
     
  2. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

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    Making changes to an existing coop is harder than making it the way you want to begin with. When we got our coop, we THOUGHT it was what we wanted. However, as we learned more about our chickens, we've had to make a lot of changes. If you're building a coop, it would be simpler to go ahead and make it so it'll handle the weather - rather than possibly having to go back and add insulation or whatever later. From reading about other people's coops, it seems to be a common theme that people wish they'd started out making it bigger and better.
     
  3. DaughterOfEve

    DaughterOfEve Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish mine was insulated. Gets pretty cold here in Michigan in the winter. Some breeds are a little more cold hardy than others though.

    Not sure about the roof preference. I guess it depends how tall you want it (do you want to be able to get in there and stand up to clean or a shorter wall and stand outside to reach in and clean)

    Happy cooping.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'll give you some links that might help. The lady that wrote these lives in Ontario so she might have some more credibility for you than anything I say.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    Pat’s
    Cold Coop (winter design) page:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

    Pat’s
    Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    The
    lowest I had last winter was about (-) 4 Fahrenheit. My coop is not insulated and it is well ventilated. I did not have any problems with the cold. I like the taller coops with the ventilation up as high as you can get it. I think one key is to have the ventilation well above their heads while they are roosting so they don't get any drafts of breezes on them.
     
  5. mschramm08

    mschramm08 New Egg

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    I've got the layout down. I want to build a 10'x6' overall, and 6' high (so I can stand inside haha) with a 4'Hx6'W henhouse. I think this is plenty for 4 hens and maybe 2-3 more should we decide to go that route. I'm not looking to spend my life savings on this coop, so it seemed to me a sloped roof would be cheaper.
     
  6. 2overeasy000

    2overeasy000 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have similar weather to you and I didn't insulate and haven't had any problems with the cold. I agree with the vents up high, mine are up at 7' so the ammonia can escape but there is not a draft on the birds. You also picked pretty cold hardy birds.
     
  7. Gullygarden

    Gullygarden Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love being able to stand up and visit in my new coop! 3 cheers for that. Will they be out in a run or free ranging Part of the time?If not, go bigger! And do plan for the heat of summer too. Check out the archives at the hen cam for winter lighting ideas too. Good luck.
     
  8. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    A sloped roof, with all the snow in CNY, you want. You DO NOT want a flat roof. In fact, I suggest metal roofing, it is easy to put on and the snow and rain slide right off. But make it steep enough. I will send you a couple of picture of the housing we have built and you can see it doesn't take a lot, but you need to give it somewhere to go. Otherwise, you have to overbuild to compensate for the weight, and who wants to bother with that?

    Next item, it is not the cold, but the moisture that will hurt your birds. I built one insulated coop, but it is actually my brooder house for chicks and needs to be insulated to raise chicks in the colder months. The adult birds are in UNinsulated housing. In fact, my big house will be open in the South ALL WINTER LONG. You can search on here for Woods Open Air Coops and find a thread about it. Chickens are hardy, for most breeds and you have good hardy breeds there, especially the Buckeye who was bred for your climate. If moisture builds up in the coop, then you start seeing frostbite, you start hearing wheezing and coughing and you invite illness. Keep it dry, keep it WELL VENTILATED and you shouldn't have any health issues.

    People make the mistake of thinking that if they are cold, so are their birds. Chickens give off A LOT of body heat. If you don't believe me, pick one up and feel under the wings, even in winter it is hot. They have feathers that they fluff up to increase their "R-value" and it helps them keep that heat in. There is another thread on here that a BYCer in Alaska posted about keeping chickens in cold weather. They don't need additional heat if they are adult birds. Just a dry, safe place to go. You need to provide shelter, but don't get carried away with building something that makes YOU comfortable.

    I live in SE Minnesota now, but grew up in WNY. Anyway, I booted my chickens outside every day but the 3 absolute coldest last winter. I fed them outside, and if they wanted to eat, they had to come out. They did great! What helps them even more is to throw a bale of straw for them nearby. They will have it pecked and scratched around in no time. It is good activity for them in the cold months when they don't have anywhere else to scratch and peck. It makes them happy and gives them some exercise. In the spring, I get a fork and put it in the compost
     
  9. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    Quote:I understand you putting the vents up for the hot air to go out, but ammonia is heavier than air and sink, so what you need for getting that out is something low or a vent that will suck it up and out. But the easier thing is to keep it all clean and dry so there is no ammonia build-up.
    You have a nice yard for your birds. I have to plant trees around mine since we are on the prairie and not many trees come up unless they are near water or someone plants them.
     
  10. mschramm08

    mschramm08 New Egg

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    Quote:By the plans, I will have a 6'x'6 and 6' high covered run for them, with a 4Lx4Hx6W henhouse, plus a little supervised "free range" in the back yard from time to time.
     

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