Do I need a "coop" if I already have a secure pen?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LaurelC, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. LaurelC

    LaurelC Songster

    Mar 22, 2013
    Bothell, WA
    So last summer I conned my husband into getting muscovy ducks because chickens are somewhat noisy. For a multitude of reasons, the ducks and I are just not a good fit.

    So what I have now is a 12x12x6' enclosed coop with hardware cloth on the bottom 2 feet and 2x4" welded wire mesh on the sides and top. The hardware cloth is buried a foot into the ground. I also don't have any predator activity in our yard, despite having double latching doors, etc. What I'm saying is, the enclosure is very secure. I see no reason to lock the birds up at night beyond them being in their pen.

    I need a feeding and watering station, roosts, and nesting boxes. It does get somewhat cold here during the winter, so I assume the chickens need some sort of enclosure area to stay warm when it's chilly outside.

    I don't want to go over the top with building a really insane coop, but I also want things to work well and be convenient.

    Of course I need to put a roof over at least part of the run, and tear the pond out, but what else?


  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I see you are in Washington... the rainy side? If you are on the rainy side, maybe roof the entire thing, and put up just enough coop so that there is a dry wind free spot for a perch over a poop shelf. The poop shelf will GREATLY reduce cleaning.

    But no, you do not need a standard coop.
  3. S5apiotrowski

    S5apiotrowski Chirping

    Jan 19, 2014
    I am in North Carolina and have a similar set up - This will be my first winter with hens, and I am wondering if I need more of a coop.
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    what are your coldest temps?
  5. traceyj

    traceyj Chirping

    Aug 25, 2014
    BC Canada
    I'm in central BC, it's -30 today so I'm glad my girls are in their shed, which is single walled metal (wouldn't recommend this!!) stacked bales of hay around the shed and run provide some warm as does deep litter and a non windy aspect. It's still not toasty in there but they are wearing their own little duvets...
  6. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Crowing

    Jul 30, 2012
    Sherwood, OR
    My Coop
    My ducks sleep outside in most of our relatively-mild weather. If it's windy or wet, they just hunker down. My chickens prefer to sleep in their coop up on roosts. Chickens don't seem super bothered by our coldest temps, but my chickens don't like wind at all.
  7. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Ditto on the chickens not liking the wind.
    I did build a large coop. Perhaps over the top to some.

    I know that even on the rather nice days now they have been choosing to stay in due to the wind.
    It is nice to have a coop large enough they can all stay in and not pull each others feathers.
    I also like having the ability to walk in to tend or clean it.

    Hens will also want a dark cozy place to leave you eggs.

    Whatever you choose to do is of course up to you.
  8. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    If you do have wind, plastic panels on one or two walls, will block wind and rain, but still let in light.

    If three walls are solid, then there will be no wind rushing through, but you will still have good air exchange through the one open wall.

    Of course, if you live where you will have hot summers, you might want to have the solid walls have openings so that in the hot summer they can be opened, and cooling air can blow through.
  9. S5apiotrowski

    S5apiotrowski Chirping

    Jan 19, 2014
    It's been dropping to the teens and on occasion we see single digits, but 20's/30's are more typical. The raw temps aren't so bad, but it's a wetter cold than the bitter colds I grew up with (northern WI).
  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    If you have wet cold... You want your coop as open as possible.... Especially if you don't usually go below zero.

    Just make sure that the wind is blocked.... And there is enough roof to protect them from snow and rain.

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