1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Historic Chicken House Info

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Howard E, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    402
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    I notice I tend to make a lot of references to "historic chicken houses" in my replies. The reason is that a lot of questions we all have about how to go about building a chicken house, what matters and what doesn't, was all worked out well over 100 years ago. What we seem determined to do is reinvent the wheel.

    The houses they built and used back then were intended for small flocks on farms and on backyard lots of the towns and cities. There were a lot of these around.......almost every farm had one........and they were just on the cusp of enlarging them to represent commercial flocks.

    Anyway, there was a lot of thought and study about poultry husbandry that went into building those houses.....what worked and what didn't. It seems each state and/or region had a plan for one, but most were all variations on the same theme, and had a lot of things in common.

    For those of us now contemplating building a house, even if you don't build one of these, consider the attributes of them.......where they put things and why.......and where they put things to get the most out of their birds. A lot of the parameters of light, ventilation, next boxes, roosts, etc. are all addressed in detail.

    Anyway, this was one of the books I have found to be a good reference.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=B...#v=onepage&q=fool proof poultry house&f=false

    Something to ponder on the long upcoming winter nights.
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    25,645
    1,828
    463
    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Awesome link, Howard E....thanks for posting. Wish we had those simpler, common sense times back.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    402
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    BTW, after looking at many of these older designs, I built a Woods Colony house. It is one of those referenced in the material above.

    The author of the book referenced above was a contemporary of Woods. Woods mentioned him and his work at the MO Experimental Research farm. So that would be the other dated reference, although the Woods book does not go into the detail this one does. Maybe Robert P will publish this one too?

    The tendency of those guys back then seems to be their own ideas were always best. Main complaint Quisenberry had with the Woods house was the complicated nature and expense of the build. It is that. When economics dictated what you should build, this guy was a big advocates of simple, low cost shed style houses and found a way to make them work. But in any case, there is a lot of hidden detail shown in these old historic designs.

    Modern era build that we sometimes see that was patterned after some of these old historic designs is the Wichita style coop, which for a lot of us is a good design to consider.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    402
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Here is a link to another one:

    http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/29768#/summary

    Google search for this one is: (there are different editions and sources)

    Poultry Houses and Fixtures

    by Reliable Poultry Journal Pub. Co, Quincy, IL

    ************

    This has many of the same houses as the others, but also goes into some detail on how to build the fixtures and some on pasture management systems. They would have traded a left n........ahem...... left arm......for an electric fencer.
     
  5. TerryH

    TerryH Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,083
    243
    161
    Mar 12, 2016
    NW Arkansas
    My Coop
    Thanks for posting the links Howard!! Really enjoying the read. Some super good ideas in the fool proof house book.
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    402
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Yes......a lot of good stuff in there and not all of it entirely about the houses. A lot of it relates to poultry management. An example is the part about fencing off the chicken yard from the main house and how no farm wife need to be confronted with the chickens setting up their home base at the back door of the house, so as to leave their messes and droppings on the back porch. I didn't do that and my back patio is now "littered" with a mine field of droppings we have to pick through to get out the door. My daughter's first set of birds did the same and preferred her patio furniture and painted it all the color of two tone poop. Not so nice a place to entertain dinner guests. [​IMG]
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    402
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Plans list from North Dakota State. Kudos to NDSU for keeping these active and available.

    https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension-aben/buildingplans/poultry

    These are a collection of older style chicken houses dating back to the 30's, 40's and 50's. A lot of these are getting bigger than what most of us of would consider building today. A lot of good detail, however, regarding fixtures, etc. Sizes for nest boxes, roost bar placements, roost sizes, droppings boards, etc. Note how many of them elevated the feed bins and water tanks well up off the floors on platforms. In the case of water, it was to keep the water pan clean.
     
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    402
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Of course no such list would be complete without a reference to the Fresh Air Poultry Houses and the Woods coop:

    http://www.nortoncreekpress.com/wordpress/poultry/fresh_air_poultry_houses_a/

    Kudos to Robert P who is a BYC member and the modern era publisher.

    Also available online:

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Open_air_Poultry_Houses_for_All_Climates.html?id=o08PAAAAYAAJ

    This book is the reference I used to build my Woods coop, which I consider to be the "gold standard" all the rest can be measured by. Book does not go into as much detail as the others on the aspects of poultry husbandry and how to build out many of the fixtures, but does cover the important aspects of light and ventilation.........critical concepts if you want your birds to do well.
     
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    402
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    More historic coops..........

    I work in rural areas, so get to see things others might miss. One thing I've begun to document is some of these old historic coops......the ones that are still standing; Here are two examples:

    First is a modified shed style.........

    [​IMG]

    This one had a concrete foundation, but still retained the dirt floor. When built, it had three windows and at least one pop door on the front. Location of side entrance door was on the east and of course it faced south away from the prevailing winter winds and opening into the winter sun. This one was also divided down the middle with chicken wire, and just enough framing to hold the chicken wire in place. One half would typically be used for layers and the other side as a brooder and/or for raising replacement pullets apart from the laying flock. Back wall that faced north had opening doors for summer ventilation or to let the birds out into a separate chicken yard. The overhanging roof on the front was seen as a mixed blessing. It shielded the windows from light and they thought rain, but any rain that did fall dripped off the roof, only to be blown back into the open windows. General belief was it was better to extend the shed roof forward and leave the broken eyebrow roof off. Simpler to build and worked better.

    Next up is the BIG GIRL......the Woods MAXI! This thing is like 2,000 SF and might have held 500 birds or more. Hoping someday to get a peak inside this one. Shed on the left was likely used for delivery of feed and shipping dock for the eggs.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,674
    5,426
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Clerestory, Yes......but Woods, Nope.

    So Cool to see all these old buildings!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by