Coop questions


11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
I have 25 birds on the way in May and am getting started on my coop and run. The coop will be 7X16 and the run will be 16X16, with occasional access to about two fenced acres, assuming our bloodhound can make friends. I'm pretty set on how things will look, but I'm not sure if I should insulate the coop or just put in a heat lamp when it's very cold. I live in Spokane, Washington (zone 5). Also, will 6 nesting boxes be ok? What size waterer and feeder is needed? Any other advice would be appreciated as I'm new to all of this. PS, I think this site is great!
For the "adult" chickens, I use two 12 pound hanging feeders. You can buy ones that hold 30 pounds. I also have different sizes of waterers. I have some that hold 2 1/2 gallons and 5 gallons. The larger ones come in handy during the hot summer. I never knew a chicken could drink so much water.

For babies, I use the round feeders that attach to a quart jar. The waterers are quart sized plastic until they get about 3+ weeks old. Then I go to the gallon sized plastic.

If you have more than one feeder and waterer that gives everyone a chance to eat and drink.

Good luck with your birds and Welcome to BYC.
I'd either insulate the coop right from the start if you have the cash and energy, or leave the inside side of the walls open so that if you decide to insulate next year you don't have to rip anything apart. Heat lamps are kind of a fire hazard as well as sucking up LARGE amounts of electricity, I'd suggest trying to design things so's not to have to use 'em.

Six nest boxes should be fine.

Have fun!

Is insulation enough to keep them warm in the winter? And how do you keep the water from freezing? Will it be ok if left in the coop, rather than the run, or do you just have to keep changing the ice to water?
Insulation is often enough -- but it depends on how cold your property gets, how many chickens you have, how high your ceiling, how high your roosts, what breeds you have, etcetera.

Most people up north here have electricity run to the coop so we use any of various sorts of heated waterers or waterer bases. If you don't have electric and can't realistically and safely get it out there, you can just use a fortex bucket and change it a coupla times a day for new water (but not hot water -- you don't want steam and humidity).

Hope that helps,

I live in Rathdrum, Id. and our winters are colder than yours. My 8 X 12 coop is insulated and home to 23 layers and 2 roos, but they also have access to a very large fenced chicken yard. I have roof ventilation and two screened windows that I can open if needed for air in the winter to keep any ammonia smell away. My girls stay plenty warm without any additional heat other than their own body heat. I use two heated deep water buckets inside so that their water won't freeze, so you will need to add electricity. That also enables you to put a light inside if you need to go in and check on things after dark. I have 6 nesting boxes, but the girls rarely use more than 3. They like to lay their eggs on top of other eggs. I also put pine shaving on the floor during the winter for added insulation. Not only do they love to scratch around in it, but it makes it smell really good. I change it out 2-3 times during the winter and add new.
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You really don't have to keep them warm in winter.

Unless prolonged freezing temps are a big issue (when they can get frostbite), the biggest issue is keeping them draught free and dry.

Many insulate and many don't .... even in northern territories.

Pay great attention to good, draught free ventilation and most issues will be solved.

In extreme cold you might consider some heating, esp. for the waterers.
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