My First Coop Build

conklinator

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
68
2
41
Fair Hill, MD
I'm new to the chicken thing, and am building my first coop. So far, I have used 100% salvaged/recycled lumber from the dumpster on a few local building sites. It's taken about 4 trips with a pickup truck to do some dumpster diving, but I've just about got the frame complete, and haven't spent a dime. The design is something I pulled completely out of thin air, and I'm adapting it as I build. Here's where I am so far. This is about a day and a half worth of work.

The floor plus front wall with 2 windows and door:
400


Side wall which will swing out for cleaning:
400


Other side wall with window:
400


Back wall with 3 exterior access nesting boxes:
400


Hopefully with another 2 days, I'll be able to finish it up.

I live in Maryland, and winters can get pretty cold. Is it recommended to fully insulate the floor, walls, and roof? Windows will be hinged, so I can close them during the cold months.
 

conklinator

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
68
2
41
Fair Hill, MD
Also, should I worry about sealing between the header board and roof joists to keep it warm, or leave them open with hardware mesh for ventilation?
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
600
448
South Georgia
Most people don't insulate, even up there, though some do. If you do, you will also need interior walls as they will eat things like fiberglass and styrofoam.

My concern is ventilation. You have a good plan to ventilate well by leaving open several inches along the highest wall, covering with hardware cloth to keep predators out.

Please reas the ventilation link in my sig line. She says it so well, and so completely -- and she is Canadian, so you know this is a necessity even up there.

Good luck!
 

conklinator

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
68
2
41
Fair Hill, MD
Most people don't insulate, even up there, though some do.  If you do, you will also need interior walls as they will eat things like fiberglass and styrofoam. 

My concern is ventilation.  You have a good plan to ventilate well by leaving open several inches along the highest wall, covering with hardware cloth to keep predators out.

Please reas the ventilation link in my sig line.  She says it so well, and so completely -- and she is Canadian, so you know this is a necessity even up there.

Good luck!

That's good to hear! I was wracking my brain trying to figure out the easiest way to seal off the space between the roof joists, so that will definitely save me some trouble.

As for the insulation, I have plenty of plywood to seal off the inside, as well as insulation to fill the walls. The amount of waste on a construction site is amazing, and a little disturbing... Doing my best to reduce, reuse, recycle...
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,640
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I live in Northern Wyoming. I'm one of the "not insulating" group Judy referred to. Lots of ventilation is key. Chickens do very well in the cold if there's a reliable way to channel moist air out of the coop so it doesn't settle on the birds. We left that gap between walls and roof open, and covered it with hardware cloth to keep out small birds and bats. I don't like bats in my chicken house.
wink.png
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
600
448
South Georgia
Lot of ventilation is definitely key, and Blooie knows a whole lot more than I do about keeping chickens up North!

Please read that link.. You don't have to keep the coop above freezing. It's unlikely you will have to provide any heat. Frostbite can be quite a problem, but it is mostly caused by a buildup of humidity in the coop.

By the way, something it took me a while to understand as it's for Northeners, is you do not need a second "air intake" in the coop to make the humidity and ammonia go out at your roof level vent. It will exchange with the outside air at that single vent just fine.
 

conklinator

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
68
2
41
Fair Hill, MD
Thank you for the great info! My coop is going to be on stilts about 2-3 feet off the ground, with an outdoor feeding area underneath for the warmer months. I'm thinking I will insulate the walls, and floor, because I have the materials to do so, but leave the roof joists exposed/open for ventilation.

I'll continue to post pics as my work progresses.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
600
448
South Georgia
The minimum roost space is about 9" or 10" for each hen. They also need at least this much space between the roost and the wall.
 

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