Green house & coop in one?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RJ_Hythloday, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. RJ_Hythloday

    RJ_Hythloday In the Brooder

    Aug 27, 2008
    With the need for light and heat to keep layers laying through the winter, it seems to me it might be efficient to combine a bit of a green house in w/ the coop.

    A south facing wall @ 75 degrees, w/ window panels and some shelves to keep some plants on? I guess chicken wire to keep it partly seperated, and keep them from roosting on the shelves.

    Would the hens just fly up and eat all vegetation kept in the coop?

    I can't wait to get started, but I'm living in military housing right now, so I have to wait till next year when I get out and move back home. I'll be buying a house w/ a decent sized back yard and want to build a coop/run if a shed isn't already on the land. I'm just reading all I can in the meantime to get ready. Maybe I'll start by building some feeders, brooder, nest boxes etc.

    So has any one considered this? Searches didn't turn any thing up.

    I also want to have room for some meat chickens but it's cold where I'm going, zone5 and the extra space might make it harder to keep the hens warm all year. I guess the meats could have their own accommodations and share the run.
  2. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Meat birds are generally kept seperate from the layers, they have a different feed and are cared for differently.
    As for the greenhouse/henhouse idea...well, I wouldn't advise it at all. Hens will eat any vegetation, and a greenhouse would get far too hot in'll want to put blinds on the windows:>) The hens are also very dusty...I wouldn't want to be growing vegies in the same building with them. South facing windows are a great idea during winter though and might help warm the henhouse...
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Greenhouses get awfully hot in the daytime (sometimes even in winter!, depending on the size of the greenhouse and your location) and awfully cold at night (glass or plastic are not good insulators). You might have problems with night temperatures for your chickens, depending on your circumstances. There is a limit to how much you can do by just packing in thermal mass. And you would need VERY GOOD (read: expensive, b/c it has to be thermostatically operated) ventilation to control humidity.

    Actual greenhouses are really not nearly as cheap to build or easy to operate as one might at first think [​IMG]

    OTOH, if you have a fairly large, insulated, large-thermal-mass coop, you could just put a little cold-frame-like indoor windowbox inside of the coop window. I'd put cheesecloth or gauze (laundered regularly) on the chicken side to help reduce the amount of dust and pooey shavings that got onto it, and put up wire mesh to keep chickens from eating your greens. But with something like that you might well be able to raise a small crop of something like lettuce or cold-weather chinese greens for part of the winter. (I do not think this would work in a small coop, b/c temperatures would too soon fall below freezing. Remember that no matter what type of coop, you always need ventilation, hence you cannot plan on keeping the night temperatures up as well as you would in a true plants-only greenhouse)

    FWIW, I just finished (well ok not *quite* finished, hence no pix posted yet [​IMG]) a small lean-to run on the front of my coop building that I will cover in plastic for the winter to give the pen of chickens a protected playground and (this is the main concept) to warm incoming air to ventilate the building with. I think I will probably try a crop of container-grown lettuce, set up on a shelf so's not to take away from the chickens' space on the ground and covered with wire to keep the chickens off. (I am hoping that, not being in the coop proper, dust will not be an issue). Will report how it goes, come January or so [​IMG]

    Good luck,

  4. RJ_Hythloday

    RJ_Hythloday In the Brooder

    Aug 27, 2008
    Thanks for the replies, the lean to on the run sounds like a good idea for winter.
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    There is a plan for a greenhouse coop but it has a wall separating the greenhouse from the actually coop area. The greenhouse does warm the coop because of the intense heat build up in the greenhouse portion. I will try to find the book those plans are in and re-post the info for you.
  6. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    I was also ruminating about this, but we would have to make ours a shade-house rather than a true greenhouse since I can't be in sunlight at all.

    Shadecloth and proper ventilation would keep it cool enough for chickens.

    1/2 could be easily roped off - plants on one side, chickies on the other.

    What I like about this idea is that I could hang out for hours working with my plants, and have the chickens for company.

    In winter the shadecloth could come off part of it so it would be warmed by the sun.
  7. sfcityfarmer

    sfcityfarmer In the Brooder

    Jul 8, 2008
    Having a shared wall for your coop and greenhouse would make it easy to keep the chickens warm during the winter.
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Chicken Coops, by Judy Pangman has a couple of greenhouse coops. One isn't anything more than a greenhouse (actually a "sunshed") used as a chicken coop. The other is a greenhouse on one side of a shared structure.

    I've used my greenhouse for meat chickens thru a Summer. Actually, it is a sunshed also. The reason it was used was simple expediency . . . 35 broilers needed to go somewhere.

    Nearly all of the south exterior was covered with a tarp - large blue thing to compliment [​IMG] my green garden to the south of it. When the birds were large enuf to fly up on the shelf, they began to sample the foam insulation. So, the interior had to be sheathed in plastic, as well.

    I don't think I'll be doing this again.

    Okay, greenhouses are expensive to heat especially up here near the 49th parallel. The Winter nights are long and cold. Additionally, there are many cloudy days without the sun generating much warmth within the greenhouse. Spring days are kind of wild. The sun will blaze down then clouds will roll in, cold wind becomes a factor . . . I have only partial automatic control of temperatures and some days it seems like I can hardly risk leaving the greenhouse plants for more than an hour at a time.

    Having said all this: If you have all automatic vent openers, exhaust fan, and heating system - life would be easier for you as a greenhouse owner no matter what you have in there. My sunshed is used very successfully and I would not want to be without it nor would I trade it for a greenhouse with plastic or glass on all 4 sides (plus roof). Like some who have responded, I don't want the chickens (nor chicken air) on my veggie plants.

    I can understand the value in utilizing the heat gained on some of the days during cold months. It would make sense to have a wall separating a greenhouse growing space and a conventionally built coop.

  9. RJ_Hythloday

    RJ_Hythloday In the Brooder

    Aug 27, 2008
    Great replies, that solviva greenhouse sounds amazing. I had to find some pics


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