finishing touches...roost ??s (was "building a tractor") PICS

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by haTHOR, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. haTHOR

    haTHOR Songster

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Near Asheville, NC
    we are getting two leghorn hens next weekend and are feverishly working on their home.

    basic setup is that we have a 6ft tall fenced garden and will be sectioning off a 20x35 area--using one 4ft 35' section of fence. this will be the chickens' ranging area. inside this yard we'll have a 8ft longx4ft tallx3ftwide modified-A fram (with cupola roof rather than straight A-frame top, so they have more head room.) this will be a two-level enclosure--roost/nest will run the entire length of the coop (8ft, with a nest box at each end and scratching floor/roost in the middle 6 ft) and the ground level is for them to scratch and peck when they aren't in the large yard. food and water will be on the ground here and bottom of coop will not have fencing (so i guess this is a tractor by definition?)

    very similar to the catawba coop seen here... http://www.catawbacoops.com/the-catawba-converticoop-chicken-coop-image-gallery.html

    questions
    . [​IMG]

    i notice none of the catawba coops have ventilation or windows. now i'm not using his plans, instead i searched out lots of designs to see if i could find one similar to what we came up with, and that was it. but dang, if so many happy customers of a design similar to ours don't have ventilation/windows, what gives? i thought that we might attach/retrofit a door from a dog crate to each nesting box opening so that when you bring down the nest box door, you then have to open the wire door to get at the eggs. this would allow light/air in the summer. any problems y'all can see with this idea?

    how cold does it have to get to need insulation? we are in extreme nw arkansas--zone 6. it's rare, rare--maybe once a winter--to get down to zero here. much more normal "really cold days" is 12-15 degrees--get about a couple dozen nights that get that cold. is there a guide to when you need insulation? we don't have the option of electricity in the coop at any time. i have to say that i see many rather shanty-esque backyard setups here that obviously don't have any insulation. i know breed has a lot to do with this too. we are going with the leghorns, other suggestions wrt dealing ok with not so cold winters and also some very hot (90-95 or so on many days) summer heat?

    we are in the country. the 20x35 yard i mentioned...i know the birds will be easy prey for raptors. i chose leghorns because they are dark and fast-moving and not such "sitting ducks". other suggestions for birds that can forage, move quick, are darker, and are suited to our clime?

    i need to make sure the hens stay in their yard. the landlord made that clear...we live in a tourist attraction so it's important. any way to predict whether they will fly out or if i'll definitely have to clip wings?

    thanks so much for your input.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  2. elliemay0305

    elliemay0305 Songster

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    sounds like you have a good idea for a plan. i live in TN and we get a good amount of cold weather. or what i consider cold. [​IMG] any how i would say you dont need any insulation for grown birds. we have a small shed out back that we use for our chickens. this winter we didnt put a heat lamp out or a heater and they did just fine. its an old shed so yours is probably even better than what we have. we did however cover one side that had gaps in the wood with plastic.but i would say as long as no wind can get to them they would be fine. they will roost together. and as for the door or window you were talking about adding, it sounds like a good idea to me. that way you can get the eggs out if you want or if there is ever some other reason you would need to get into it. and a chicken tractor is a cage that is mobile. has wheels so you can move it around your yard.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Plenty of people keep chickens in dark unventilated coops. That does not however necessarily make it a good idea, you know?

    i thought that we might attach/retrofit a door from a dog crate to each nesting box opening so that when you bring down the nest box door, you then have to open the wire door to get at the eggs. this would allow light/air in the summer. any problems y'all can see with this idea?

    Main problem I would see is that it gives you no way of ventilating in the winter, nor providing them with light inside the coop. I wouldn't do it. It won't actually kill the chickens outright, though you may get extra frostbite out of it and possibly other health problems. And I would not be optimistic about their egg production in a really dark coop (remember, from a hen's perspective, day length is the time she sees light, not just the time that the sun is up but she's stuck in a dark coop)

    how cold does it have to get to need insulation? we are in extreme nw arkansas--zone 6. it's rare, rare--maybe once a winter--to get down to zero here.

    Hardly anyone *needs* insulation. You sure don't NEED it in AR. However it is often nice to have, because it keeps the chickens more comfortable, encourages the water to stay liquid longer in winter (without electricity you will have to rely on bringing them a fresh bucket (or whatever) multiple times a day), and allows you to have more ventilation which is a lot healthier for the chickens and discourages frostbite.

    we are in the country. the 20x35 yard i mentioned...i know the birds will be easy prey for raptors. i chose leghorns because they are dark and fast-moving and not such "sitting ducks". other suggestions for birds that can forage, move quick, are darker, and are suited to our clime?

    Campines are pretty quick and paranoid and camouflage-colored. My hen lays pretty well, tho obviously not likely to compete with leghorns.

    any way to predict whether they will fly out or if i'll definitely have to clip wings?

    I think you'll have to clip wings to be on the safe side.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Southeast Louisiana
    First, welcome to this forum. Best I can detemine, there are about 5 or 6 of us on this forum that live in this general area. I'm in Prairie Grove.

    Second,
    I spoke to the county extension agent's office and learned there will be a class taught on Saturday, April 4, in the Fayetteville Arkansas Public Library from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm. The topics are Breeds, Housing, and Diseases. I understand it is aimed at the small flock owners, not the big commercial boys. There should be some announcements coming out in the local newspapers. No advanced registration required. I plan to be there.

    Hopefully getting your hens won't interfere with this school. It should be interesting.
     
  5. haTHOR

    haTHOR Songster

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    Near Asheville, NC
    thanks so much for the heads up ridgerunner.

    pat, i read your ventilation article with great interest. thanks. the carpenter friend who helped us agreed that ventilation was a good idea. he felt strongly that a 'slatted" roof would give us what we needed. metal roofing will go over this.

    [​IMG]

    do you think this is adequate? are the spaces TOO big (my concern)? will there be drafts if they are covered with metal roofing? we will have the 12x12 windows by the nest boxes for temperate to hot days as well.
     
  6. elliemay0305

    elliemay0305 Songster

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    [​IMG] i think this looks great. i might have to steal your idea if i can get my husband to build me one!! i think if the top has tin over it and its enclosed it would be fine. during the winter the wind would be blocked out and you will have hay in it so it should do great. i like it.
     
  7. haTHOR

    haTHOR Songster

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    Near Asheville, NC
    i am considering separating off the last two ft section (upstairs and downstairs) for the chicks we'll be getting (they'll be 3.5 weeks old) so they have a chance, once they can be outside as they grow, to be there rather than completely separate from the two older hens (brown leghorns, about 1 year old). i hope that will allow them to get to know one another (apart from being raised in the same barn--same seller for all these birds) before ranging/roosting with the older hens, once they get acclimated.

    when they are able to live together, i am thinking of keeping the top story end adaptable--able to be sectioned off from the rest of the coop as a hospital, etc. with chicken wire. the bottom floor will be opened back up to the whole group though to increase ground/grass area.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  8. elliemay0305

    elliemay0305 Songster

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    well i finally found my book i got a couple of years ago on chickens. it has some suggestions in it about building a coop and i wanted to share them with you incase you could use any. it say to build a coop within two long heavy duty extension cords reach from your house or garage. in case you need power for some reason.

    next it says in places with really cold winters you should at least insulate the north wall and bank outside by using hay or straw bales stacked at least two deep. Save money instead of trying to insulate the whole thing.

    the coop should have at least two doors. one for you and one for your birds

    also for places that have really cold winter you should have large windows on the south side. 1 sq foot. of window for each 10sq feet of floor space.

    if your in an area rarely dip below freezing install more windows.
    said that chickens do need good ventilation in side their coop!. so i hope if your still thinking about it this might help! good luck. cant wait to see the finished pictures!
     
  9. briteday

    briteday Songster

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    I have a coop that is very similar to yours. And we have the same type of weather that you experience. My RIR hens have done just fine with the weather over the winter and they are never confined to the coop all day, even on the worst days.

    I have 6 hens and find that having a piece of plywood to section off the roosting area on really cold winter nights made it easier for their bodyheat to keep that section warmer. The coop has no insulation at all but in the winter Ihave the long axis of the coop facing due south to catch the winter sun all day.

    The actual footprint of the bottom wire sectionis 4' x 8' for us. The coop itself is only about 2+' x 8'. And it is plenty big for my 6 RIR's, but then I don't have to worry much about them being in the coop for days on end.

    We don't have any windows. But I'm not a genius at building things so there are bits of light that get in where the end panels meet the side panels, etc. Mine is a typical A-frame. And once again, the siding doesn't meet perfetly at the apex. I thought is would be good for ventilation though. And remember, I'm in a VERY dry climate (5% humidity during the summer, 50% humidity tops during the winter). But we discovered that water came in the apex when it rained a certain way. So we ended up putting some metal gutter flashing over the apex, but not tacking it down so tight that we lost ventilation.

    My only other suggestion that has worked well for us is to hav something to block wind and rain on the side of the wire run facing the prevailing wind direction. I have an old door that I can lean against that side on inclement days. And then my hens will still go out, rain, wind, or snow. You could easily use a tarp or plastic, but I would have some plan for bad weather days.

    I also have a 4' tall fence around part of the larger run. And you will most likely need to clip the wings. It's not at all painful and easy to do. Even with the wings clipped I have no doubt that my hens could soar over the 4' fence.
     
  10. haTHOR

    haTHOR Songster

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Near Asheville, NC
    thanks for the replies and suggestions! really enjoying hearing other's thoughts and experiences.

    finished the coop! almost anyway... will still need to put in the nest boxes, build up retaining walls on the interior to keep litter in, cut ventilation slots along the tops of the side walls and spaces for doors with glass windows on the ends (upstairs: one at a nest box area, one at the other end in the quarantine/chick area; downstairs: both ends will have big doors i can get in.)

    decided that since we are getting two hens and two 4.5 week old chicks (unrelated but from the same flock) at the same time, the final two feet of the coop is going to be just for the chicks until they can safely join the big girls. this means they have an upstairs and ground floor that will be separate, which i think will work great. they'll be separated from the hens by chicken wire for now, on both levels.

    i am really pleased with our coop. we'll see if actual chickens share my opinion!

    pics coming up.

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    tin roof is on now too. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009

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