Do I really need a coop? How about just a pen with shelter?


8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
Jacksonville, FL
I'm in North Florida and have 6 pullets and 5 ducks. They are in a small temporary pen with no coop, just a plastic roof, some branches for perching and a Rubbermaid bin on its side if they feel like going in there. Can I do this on a bigger scale? Most of the year is very warm to hot, and during the winters gets down to 30s sometimes overnight, but more likely in the 50s-60s. What if I put up tarp on the sides of the pen to block the wind during the winter, and possibly a heat lamp on really cold nights. Is that enough?
Here's mine.

It's a two part deal because as you will find out the first is just not big enough....LOL
There is a doorway in between the two sections that I can close off if needed. I used hardware cloth on all sides and the top. The tops are covered. There is a solid back wall on the left section. You can see the side and the partial wall below.

I have been very pleased with it but of course I am planning on more! This past winter I put plastic up and they did great. THere are vines growing over the top and lots of vegetation around to help cool it. I also used sand on the bottom in the coop on the right. Chips on the one on the left. I much much prefer the sand. I am in North Florida as well. Near Tallahassee.

Thanks Sharon. Love your chicken pen. I'm glad to know the chickens will be alright. I just can't see stuffing them into a wooden box in this heat, and plus since I'm building the whole thing myself, it will simplify my job. BTW, I'm in Jacksonville.
Also in N Florida and I have a tractor that has two wire walls instead of wood for ventilation. Open coops down here do pretty well with the heat and humidity. I will cover the wire with plastic to block wind this winter. I did extend the roof out pretty wide (about 2 feet) to block rain from blowing in. Especially with hurricane season coming!
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There is a HUGE current mealworm thread on here.

1000 Mealworms off ebay $17
Huge rubbermaid bin $9
stale dogfood and oatmeal $0
happy worm chasing chickens PRICELESS!
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