Cross country move and coop designs

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hobbsj, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. hobbsj

    hobbsj New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2009
    Just found out a week ago we're moving to Maine. Bought a house with enough yard to build a coop for our ladies, but a little nervous about the transition. We're moving from Texas and have no idea how bad the winter is going to be. And to make it worse, we've had hens for less than a year. SO, we're still figuring this out. My main concern is the coop design. I just built a small box with a roost here and a 4X10X3 run here. WHat do I do up where there's actually a winter? Will they use the run in the snow, or do I have to make them a large walk-in size coop for the winter? I've read about the heat lamp to keep them warm, but I'm at a total loss on what they need up there.

    Thanks
     
  2. Slywoody

    Slywoody Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in Minnesota so i know a little about cold and snow,lol,,,, Yep, you'll need a walk in PROPERLY VENTILATED coop. A lot of windows for LIGHT. A HEATER for the WATER. INSULATION would be nice also, but not mandatory. I don't know how many hens you have but, it's always better to go big. Most chickens in cold climates will want to stay in all winter and don't like snow. You won't really need the heat lamp for warmth. That's mostly for light so you get more eggs. As far as the run goes, there'll be so much snow at times you won't even see it in the winter. The closer you have your coop to the house the better,cause you'll have to shovel snow and hike out there everyday in some extreme conditions. I would also suggest you build it big enough to keep your feed in there too, maybe in a large garbage can. that will save you hauling it through the snowbanks everyday. I would suggest a gable roof of at least a 4-12 pitch or more. There is lots of info on this site that you can peruse and study till you come up with the perfect plan for you and your hens. I would say that VENTILATION is the most CRITICAL part of the coop in a cold climate. Chickens give off a lot of damp heat and you have to get rid of that or you'll be in serious trouble before xmas rolls around. Chickens can take a lot of dry cold, but damp cold will kill them in short order.
    I'm not trying to scare you off but i been in this state for 60 yrs and hung with chickens of all kinds my whole life. Hope i helped you out. You can PM me anytime.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I second the vote for a walk-in coop, if possible. Not so much just for the birds but for YOU, really! [​IMG]

    Some chickens go out in the snow and cold (if the run is un-windy -- I don't think ANY chickens like windy winter weather); others just won't. I don't know how to predict which kind yours will turn out to be [​IMG] so I would suggest planning as if they will largely want to be inside.

    You can wrap some or most sides of the run in tarps, plywood, plastic panels, or heavy translucent plastic to make the run more congenial, and a roof helps a lot too if you can afford it (mind it's engineered for the snow load though!).

    But I'd suggest at least for the first winter having a bunch of extra indoor space per chicken so they don't get all grumpy and pickin' on each other. I am probably a bit extreme but mine have 15 sq ft per hen and really it works quite well, they *like* going outside when they deem the weather suitable but if they can't/won't they are fine that way too.

    Build the coop so the roof does not dump a giant hill of snow right in front of where the people door opens. Really [​IMG]

    Otherwise, everything that the above poster said [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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