Light for north-facing coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by stretchc1, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. stretchc1

    stretchc1 In the Brooder

    Jul 16, 2008
    I'm in the planning stages of a small coop that must be built on the north side of an existing shed. There's plenty of shade from trees overhead for the summer, but I'm worried that there won't be enough light for four layers during the other seasons. I'll have room for a large-ish run, but the coop must be on the small side (2.5'x6') with a roof and the west wall on hinges to access eggs and clean.

    I can put small windows and vents on the east/west sides, but I'm considering clear corrugated vinyl (or perhaps greenhouse roofing vinyl) for the roof to allow for light. I'm in CT near the shore; we get cold and snowy weather, but it's rarely extreme. The prevailing winds will be largely blocked by the shed itself.

    Questions: When books/experts say layers need "light," do they mean direct sunlight? Or, would dappled shade in the run and a dark-ish coop be fine?
  2. CATRAY44

    CATRAY44 Lard Cookin Chicken Woman

    Hello Stretch,

    Welcome to BYC! I will be interested in the answer to this, as I have the same situation and am new to the chicken world as well. I try to open up the door to the coop by 6 at the latest and they put themselves to bed as twightlight falls.
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:For egglaying (which seems to be what you're talking about) no you do not need direct sunlight, you just need sufficient 'brightness'.

    If I were in your shoes I would put windows as large as I can make them on the 3 sides of the coop where they will be possible. That should be enough (as long as the windows are *large*).

    I would NOT use clear roofing on the coop for two reasons: it will let all your heat out on winter nights, and it will also let too much heat IN on winter DAYS, resulting in unnecessarily and unhealthily severe temperature swings. I would also worry just a bit about its strength (vs steel or plywood) if the tree drops a branch on it, although I will admit I do not actually *know* anything numerical about the strength of that stuff.

    If it helps, the am't of light that is sufficient to keep hens laying when people artificially extend day length is something like one 60-watt bulb hung 8' off the floor every 10' or so in the coop. It really is not much light. Even without access to the south wall I just don't think you're going to have much trouble replicating that level of am/pm lighting as long as you have good big windows.

    Good luck,


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