Earthen Coops / Coops that are partially built into the earth?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Thaney Design, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Thaney Design

    Thaney Design Chirping

    Mar 20, 2019
    Harmony Township, NJ
    Who's done it, and how did it work out?

    My first coop is going to have a green roof. Will post photos when it's done.

    But I'm realizing I will likely have more chickens than that coop can sustain by the winter. I would love to do a coop partially built into the earth to be its insulation, but don't know a lot about this, and would love to see what you all have done, and hear about what worked and what didn't.

    Pictures are particularly appreciated.
  2. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    The only problem I see wit your plan is there won't be a lot of light. I have windows on 3 sides of my coop, but they are small so the light is just OK in the winter. You will probably only have 1 side for windows.
    EggWalrus and ValerieJ like this.
  3. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Crowing

    Jul 24, 2016
    Washington State
    What will you do for ventilation in an earthen coop?
    EggWalrus and mdquilts like this.
  4. janiedoe

    janiedoe Crowing

    May 7, 2017
    East Texas
    Caves that I've been in are generally cool but also have a lot of humidity. I'm wondering if the air would be damp in an earth coop and thus bad for the chickens?
    There are a lot of BYC members who know much more about ventilation than I do & could be helpful. (@aart comes to mind)
    Trish1974 and EggWalrus like this.
  5. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Birds need fresh open air, not insulation. I know you are thinking it will be warming to them in the winter by having part of the coop embedded in the earth but it really isn't a good idea.
    I would stick with more conventional construction with lots of ventilation for air flow. You need to think DRY, not warm. Chickens make their own warm and it is held in by all the feathers. So you don't want a draft on them in the winter. All ventilation should pass over their heads or around them in such a way as their feathers do not ruffle.
    In the summer, the opposite is true. I have a fan that blows right across a large portion of the roosting space and they sit there with their wings spread to allow the excess heat to be blown off of them when they go to roost at night.
    Depending on how you've constructed your green roof, you may still be fine with ventilation. Please post some pictures.
    Shadrach, janiedoe and ValerieJ like this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Not a good idea going into your first winter.
    Just don't do's hard, I know, chicken math and all taht, but really, don't so it.
    The worst winter I've had was when I had too many birds.
    Chicken Cabin Fever is Real.....and it's Ugly!
    OK, got that off my chest.

    Earth bermed coop, hmmmm, could be advantageous,
    but ventilation could definitely be a problem.
    The next most important thing about keeping chickens,
    after lots of space,
    is lots of ventilation.
    I have never seen 'cave coop'.
    Shadrach and janiedoe like this.
  7. Thaney Design

    Thaney Design Chirping

    Mar 20, 2019
    Harmony Township, NJ
    Good point on the ventilation. Not sure how I'd be able to provide that sufficiently with something built into the earth, at least without it being an engineering nightmare, which is not what I'm looking to involve myself in at this point!

    The green roof on my current one is not green yet, but it's a pretty typical coop below the roof, with lots of places below the green roof that vent quite adequately. The coop is up off the ground and catches plenty of breeze.
    MROO, EggWalrus, Shadrach and 3 others like this.
  8. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Songster

    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Hmmm.... pics, please?
    EggWalrus and ValerieJ like this.
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I would think that it would be much more expensive too; structuraly sound, won't rot in a short time, and predator proof. Then, the ventilation, which could be at the top of the walls all the way around the three back sides, with drainage away from the openings, and an open front facing south. Warmth, they don't need, although it would be cooler in summer, a good thing. Shade and an insulated roof will help in summer, which is more important.
    I think a conventional structure would be best!
    Have you looked at Woods coop designs? They look wonderful!
    EggWalrus, MillersFarm and ValerieJ like this.
  10. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Enabler

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    My Coop
    I remember someone posted a thread about it, pictures and all. It was years ago.... I have to look and get back with you
    EggWalrus and ValerieJ like this.

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