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Ideas to retrofit a small coop?!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kae0123, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. kae0123

    kae0123 New Egg

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    Hello!

    I built a small chicken coop, based on the "Kippen House" plans. After living with it for 3 years, I find myself continually second guessing the design, and if I should do more to add to what I have, especially given winter nearing (I live in Colorado). So, I thought I'd reach out and get some opinions from you all- the experts!

    Specifically, I worry that the exterior is cedar boards nailed on. Should I put plywood behind them, so that it's a solid surface, without the small gaps in between the boards? The past few winters I wrap foam insulation in thick plastic to cover the wire openings, and we cover the whole thing in a blue tarp overnight if it's snowing or especially cold. I just don't think that's the best system, and want to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to make sure my girls are warm, safe, and dry throughout the winter months... The chickens free range during the day, so they do not live in this 24/7, but more so to eat, sleep, and lay.

    Does anyone have any ideas for me of how I could improve upon what I have? Or, should I look at getting a new coop that would let me rest easier? Note, I have *very* limited carpentry skills, and was super proud of myself for building this in the first place, so any retrofitting will need to be done at my novice level.

    THANK YOU so much for any ideas you might be able to provide!!!

    *these photos are from right when I completed it, before I added straw to cover the floor. There's now tons of straw & the girls are much bigger!

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  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    A wider roost would be good, for starters. A 2x4, wide side up will allow them to keep their feet completely covered and warm in the winter. If they spend most of their time in your yard, then you can turn the whole thing into an enclosed coop. You don't need to keep the food in there, unless it's the only covered place for you to put it. The nest box should be lower than the roost by at least a foot.
    How cold are your winters?
     
  3. kae0123

    kae0123 New Egg

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    Sep 3, 2013
    Thank you so much for your reply, junebuggena! I can definitely adjust for a new, wider roost, and make sure that the nest box is offset from it by a foot or more. Those are good suggestions for sure.

    I was also pondering exactly what you said-- that I could just add cedar boards over the places where there is currently wire mesh, in order to make the entire thing enclosed, since it really just serves as a shelter for them, I don't need any sort of a run. Do you think that would be enough, or would it still be slightly drafty, given the gaps between the boards in places?

    The past few winters in Denver we've seen a few back to back days/nights at zero degrees...

    Again, thank you! I really appreciate it. :)
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens can do just fine in sub-zero temps. They are really well insulated. As long as the coop is well ventilated near the roof line, so moisture can escape and the chickens are out of the 'draft' zone, they should be fine without any heat or extra insulation.
    I would replace the cedar with plywood since cedar can give off fumes that are toxic to chickens.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    They like to range in the snow?

    It seems awfully small.
     

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