Housing for my hens: Planning stage

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ether, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Ether

    Ether Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    We recently verified that we can indeed have chickens where we live (Pittsburgh, PA- in the city) and are now in the planning stage of preparing for our lovely ladies. Two things which to me are immediate concerns in our coop and run/tractor designs are:
    1. Our summer temps (while the documented average is 82.5 in the summer, it easily ends up as hot as the upper nineties with high humidity)
    2. Our winter temps (average low is 20 with the average winter temp being around 35)

    I do have some prior experience raising chickens from my childhood, though I lived in Seattle, WA at the time so the climate was quite mild and wasn't a huge concern for the chickens.

    I'm wondering what special things I will need to do/consider for the temperatures here to ensure my hens will be safe and happy year-round.

    I'm also working with an urban setting, though I do have a fairly large yard for living in the city. I'm thinking that something which utilizes veritcal space would be a better economy of size, but I'm not sure if that's the right way to think about it. I'll take photos of my available yard space shortly so as to help with reccomendations.

    I appreciate any pointers in this regard, and will update with any new thoughts/queries as I read more and study the many lovely photos and plans for chicken structures here on the forum.
     
  2. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2008
    Those temperatures are well within a chicken's range with some protection. We had nights down in the single digits last winter with a rather breezy coop and had no frostbite or problems. I did cut most of the drafts at the window, but there was still plenty of ventilation, and no insulation at all. If you have a semi-shady spot in the yard (preferably under leafy trees so they'll get more sun in the winter), that should help a lot. Putting insulation in the roof of your coop will help keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and make sure to put in plenty of ventilation--most of which can be closed during the winter. There's a really great discussion on ventilation hows and whys on this forum, I thought I had bookmarked it, but apparently not. It was posted on in the past few days so you should be able to find it easily.

    nevermind, here's the link: https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION!

    Good
    luck, and take a good look around this forum, there are a ton of great coop and tractor ideas on here.
     
  3. Ether

    Ether Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Quote:Thanks for the link, very helpful.

    Unfortunately the only tree shade we have right now is on the opposite side of the yard from where the chickens will likely be housed (on the side with the cyclone fence in the terrace valley made by the stepped landscaping to allow houses and yards to be flat on our crazy hill street). We are planning to plant a few dogwood trees in the yard, one of which may end up near the chickens, but that won't impart much shade I'm afraid. We'll have to provide shade artificially via shade cloth.
     
  4. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2008
    I have a similar problem with no trees. This property was a horse pasture until a couple of years ago, so no one ever planted trees. Our poor birds have only the shade we provide. I really need a shade cloth because we've had issues with tarps not staying put. We're actually playing the the idea of putting a covered run on our newest coop, but that'll be at least next spring before we get that far.
     

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