First time coop build and questions? *NEW pics*

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by donnap1967, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2008
    Northern NJ
    Hello all. My DH and I are building our chicken coop. We are first time chicken owners. (I begged [​IMG]) I have four silkies and six standard chicks. The silkies are about 6 weeks old and the standards are 3 weeks old now. We are building a coop that has ended up to be about 6 1/2 ft x 5 1/2 ft. I wanted it a little bigger but I couldnt push my luck too much. It is located in the small side yard of my house that we never made use of so DH couldnt find too much fault with it.

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    It will be insulated because I live in NJ and we will not be able to run wiring to it.
    It is raised so there will be a bit of run area underneath the coop for rainy days. I am also hoping to build an attached run and cover a section of that soon.

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    I also have a fenced yard so they will be able to free range for a bit each day.

    The human/cleanout door will be located on the left and you can see we have started a nest box which we are planning to split, so there will be two nest boxes with outdoor access.

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    You will see in the next picture there is some space between the rafters and the inner wall. My DH is planning to completely close that up when he puts the outer front wall up, as he did in the back. I was thinking of leaving it open and covering it with hardware cloth for ventilation. He thinks if I do that then insulating was a waste of time. What do you all think??

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    This side of the coop has a chicken door and will have a nice big window cut out in the area to the left of the chicken door. The run will eventually be attached to this side of the coop.

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    In the next picture, the long upper section under the roof I though would make a nice long window straight across the full length or maybe half of it at least. If we cut this out and cover in hardware cloth, will it suffice to just put plexiglass over it in the winter. Again here, DH says it would defeat the purpose of insulation. Ideas? Thoughts?

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    Picture looking into chicken door. On the far side I plan to run a roost along the back.

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    Still not sure where food and water will best fit. We have been working on this for weeks and there are things that looked good on paper that didnt work out well in reality. My DH has little patience for this but I am thrilled he is doing this for me at all. I never would have managed it on my own.

    This area that is currently a mess will be where the run will go eventually. It will all be cleaned out and a run will go along the fence line.

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    And because this post isnt large enough already (<----sarcasm [​IMG]) I tried to draw stuff in to help you get an idea of what I mean. Thanks!

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    Any thoughts or ideas or criticisms welcome. Thanks for looking!
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  2. coffeelady3

    coffeelady3 Froths Milk for Hard Cash

    Jun 26, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    Looks great! And if you ever want to get a little more coop space, you could put that doghouse to work! [​IMG]
     
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Great little coop - you guys are doing a wonderful job! Your DH is right, having insulation with an opening is counterproductive. Insulation only really helps if a room is tightly sealed. However, it would help with keeping the wind out if there are any cracks which would help in the winter. It just won't help hold heat inside.

    IMO, you are pushing the limits of that coop with the nine chickens you have. Since three of them are Silkies it might work Ok but you don't want to add anymore. Personally, I'm a big advocate of not overloading a chicken coop. The potential problems arise when they have to be locked inside the coop during really bad weather. That's when you may end up with feather pecking because of limited space. Just something to think about...
     
  4. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Shamong
    The coop looks great. Nice job cutting the rafters!

    I'm in NJ too, and I tend to come down on more ventilation and sunlight than insulation. I would definitely leave the top open and put in a removable window. Maybe some vents in the back. Damp is really the thing you want to avoid. Chickens can handle cold, if they are dry.

    Where is this coop in relation to the house? Is it on the north side of the house? If the sun is blocked by the house, then it will be colder. If the front of the coop is facing South, then that will help warm things in the winter.

    With the solid fence and house, you are probably out of the wind.
     
  5. Doughpat

    Doughpat Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Ventilation vs. Insulation is tricky. When you need one, you really don't want the other [​IMG] But remember that you don't want to hermetically seal the box of chickens! If you're caulking seams and really building it tight, you might be risking suffocation. I don't know--maybe I'm paranoid. I'd put in a window that can slide open when needed (most of the time). I would also err on the side of ventilation--remember those downy feathers are like a big winter coat....just don't let the birds get wet!

    Would it be possible to run electricity out to the coop? A couple of heat lamps would go a long way in keeping them warm.

    Nice job! Looks very well made. Your use of drawings overtop of photos is very clever...I'll have to try that!

    Ryan
     
  6. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    You will definitely want some sort of ventilation, even if you do insulate. We made the mistake of not including any vents, and believe me, chickens put off a lot of moisture when they're cooped up in the winter. The ammonia can build up very quickly. The important thing is to block drafts in the winter. They can handle the cold, as someone else said, but they need to stay dry. You will want to keep the coop just above freezing in the winter, so eggs don't freeze, and you may need electricity to keep the water from freezing. We just keep a heat lamp trained onto the waterer in our layer's coop. In the breeders coop, we have the gravity-fed cup waterers, and they pvc pipe for that will be lined with the heat-tape to keep it from freezing.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Um, it is absolutely untrue (for a chicken coop) that insulation is pointless if you have a singlepane window or ventilation.

    As a very large number of folks here will tell you from personal experience, an insulated coop DOES stay warmer than an insulated one, EVEN WITH singlepane windows and ventilation. Think of it as the equivalent of mixing a little cool air in with the furnace input - that doesn't mean the furnace is doing nothing [​IMG]

    You absolutely HAVE TO have ventilation open in the winter (you might possibly close it off during an awful windy blizzard, or an exceptionally super-cold night, but it will be open the entire rest of the time). Chickens produce epic amounts of water vapor, also ammonia fumes. Damp air is really hard on chickens. It leads to frostbite and respiratory illness.

    I would say unhesitatingly, make your hardwarecloth--protected window with a singlepane plexiglas cover that hinges or slides over it; and more ventilation on other sides of the coop too, if it's not already there (sorry, your photos were not working for me, sometimes my ISP connection does that).

    Really truly seriously. Winter ventilation. Life saver.

    Have fun,


    Pat
     
  8. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    I'm still new to raisng chickens, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents worth. First there is nothing wrong with having a smaller coop, as long as it is designed well, and you don't mind working harder then the next person. I think you have a wonderful design, and based on experience I would only be concerned with a couple of things. Because you will have more chickens in a smaller space means that you will be cleaning more often. However, the drier you can keep it, the better off you'll be. If you can keep them dry they will usually keep themselves warm. So, lots of ventilation is a good thing since it will help keep the bedding drier. You will probably be replacing the bedding more often which brings me to my next suggestion. Make the bottom of the people door flush with the floor of the coop. Trust me when I say that it is much easier to just scrape everything out the door than it is to shovel it out. For what it's worth our coop had a trap door built in and it's useless because you can't find it under the bedding. Finally, consider painting or otherwise protecting the floor and walls. The wood will absorb odor and moisture making it more likely to rot and, at the very least, harder to clean. Other than that I think you have a great design and I hope it really works out for you!
     
  9. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2008
    Northern NJ
    Work on the coop is progressing. Man it is a lot more work than I ever would have imagined! We have been working on this coop for about 4 weeks whenever we can. I took a few pictures last week so you could see how it's coming along. Thank you everyone for the advice so far. I did leave the eaves in the front open for a added ventilation and I will probably cover it with chicken wire. It's less than an inch wide across the top so probably safe even without. I used a single pane sliding plexiglass window as well in the front and I can open or close it to any spacing I want so I can use that for ventilation as well. For the side we found a great little double pane, double hung window.

    Took the front door off for easier painting but....

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    Sliding window

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    We got an adorable little double hung window for this side. It's all installed since this pic was taken.

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    Nest boxes from the inside

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    I will have to take some new pictures after work tomorrow. It's really coming along.

    Quote:I want to say thank you to coffeelady3 for mentioning we should use the dog house if we needed more space. It used to belong to our great dane, Missy, who passed years ago. She was a fantastic dog.

    I measured the coop this morning and was so upset to learn that the finished inside measured so much less than I thought it would and will only comfortably fit my six standards. I thought I may have to rehome the four silkies but then I remembered the dog house suggestion. When I measured it I discovered it is the perfect size for the silkies. Yay!

    Next project....fix up the dog house! It will be Missy's Silkie Haven. [​IMG]


    Gratuitous chicken pictures:

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  10. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    Love the chicken pictures... the Silkies are wonderful!

    If they gave big brown eggs.. I'd have a whole flock of them. I adore the two I do have.
     

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