Do I need an enclosed area on a hoop coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Moogie, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Moogie

    Moogie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2011
    DFW, Texas
    We are new chicken owners here and have our 5-month old black copper maran in a 12x15 hoop coop under the shade of large trees. We have roosts at one end and will install nesting boxes in a month or so.

    Living in Texas, where our temps this summer are hovering around 102-105, I haven't covered the top, except for solar screen - and both ends are open. I was afraid it would get too hot inside. Originally, I had a nesting box inside, but I removed it when the hen decided to switch from sleeping in her roost, to sleeping in the nesting box.

    I wondered whether she was afraid of predators - we have coyotes, raccoons, possums and hawks and thought perhaps she felt more secure in the nesting box. I'm pretty sure the hoop coop is safe - we added a welded wire apron all around the bottom to prevent any digging.

    Today I purchased another BCM pullet from the same seller (we both agreed they were lonely for each other), so I'm hoping they'll sleep on the roost tonight.

    Do chickens need an enclosed area to sleep in, or are they fine in an open-air pen like I have. Or, is the enclosed area on a pen just to protect from rain (which we probably won't get here until November...sigh)

    [​IMG]

    I'd appreciate any help you can give. [​IMG]
     
  2. Annabella

    Annabella Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 17, 2010
    Being birds they have a inbuilt fear of predators. They dont know that the coop is safe.
    If they were out they would nest in the trees - among the leaves and branches..
    Sleeping in the nest was a good sign where she felt safe; as birds will usually sleep in the highest spot.

    Good luck.
     
  3. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Mine have a plastic playhouse inside a secure run. I added tree branches to the run but they still prefer to sleep on the roost inside their house. I 3-sided structure with no floor and a roost would probably help make them feel more safe. Open air is fine in your climate.
     
  4. Moogie

    Moogie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2011
    DFW, Texas
    So, should I add burlap (or some type covering) to the back & top in the back of the hoop coop?
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Granted, it doesn't sound like you guys will ever get rain again...lol...but IF a big storm blew through, do your birds have a place to get to??? I understand you're talking burlap to still allow some airflow, but you might opt for tarping a section toward the back instead...maybe just 3-4 feet of it with a roost under that section. Wherever you place your roost though, be sure that smaller wire backs it to prevent reach-ins at roost level. You might not even have to come all the way down with the tarp, as long as the roost was higher than the gap to present a "cozy" safe feeling.
     
  6. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  7. Moogie

    Moogie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2011
    DFW, Texas
    Thanks - those are great ideas! The entire run is covered with 1/2" welded hardware cloth, so it's unlikely that anything would be able to reach through (we had that unfortunate experience with our ducklings a few years ago in a different pen).

    I'm going to use the burlap for now - and like the idea of covering the top and only bringing it down just past the roost. I'll definitely add the tarp the next time they predict rain. Usually, we get a few days' warning... and then it dries up. I think this drought is gonna hang around for a long time... [​IMG] Maybe I should get my chicks a slip 'n slide? [​IMG]

    Thanks again!
     
  8. hcppam

    hcppam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:yes it is nice, but it is too open.
     
  9. hcppam

    hcppam Chillin' With My Peeps

    in the mean time I would move the roost under the covering you have.
     
  10. dirtychix

    dirtychix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 15, 2011
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Ours used to sleep out on a roosting bar and only go in to lay... Although we are in Santa Barbara where the climate is pretty mild.
     

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