my first post--some coop questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by midwife mama, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. midwife mama

    midwife mama Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2009
    montana
    Hello! I am new here, just beginning my journey with chickens. We have an old coop on our lot, and I would like to renovate it and prepare it for spring chicks. I have been doing lots of reading online, but am still wondering about the issues below. Any suggestions are much appreciated! Thank you!

    Warmly,
    Erin

    1)Do coops need to have windows? I live in a high desert climate with sun nearly every day. If, for the most part, the birds are only sleeping in the coop, does it really need windows? Summer temps drop considerably in the evening and hot nights are not a problem here.

    2)What is the advantage to having coops elevated off the ground? Is this primarily for water control or predator control?

    3)If drafts and cold temps are not a problem, do coops always have to be closed up at night even if they are safely enclosed in a pen? (doors, windows, etc.) Or do they come and go from the coop as they please? And if the get closed in the coop, this means they must be let out in the AM? How early must they be let out?

    4)Do you have to round up the chickens at night, or do they go in the coop by themselves? When do they need to go in to roost, at dusk, or after dark?
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Three reasons to have windows (you might wish to put them on the north, or north and east, sides):

    1) you will need a way to ventilate out all the hot air from daytime,

    2) chickens have *terrible* night vision and if it is only just starting to get dusky outdoors but pitch black in the coop, you are likely to have problems with them not going in to roost i.e. staying outside and getting et by predators; and

    3) if it is dark in the coop, then from the chickens' perspective, days will be a lot shorter than they 'really' are, thus you are likely to have a much more prolonged portion of the year when they are laying poorly or not at all.

    2)What is the advantage to having coops elevated off the ground? Is this primarily for water control or predator control?

    For small (reach-in) coops, it is mainly for the person's convenience in not having to kill their back leaning way over all the time [​IMG]

    For larger, walk-in coops, it is easier to predatorproof a coop taht is up on blocks, and as you say it avoids flooding problems.

    Some people, if the coop is not too large, also use the space under the coop as a 'roofed' area of the run where chickens can hang out in hot or rainy weather.

    3)If drafts and cold temps are not a problem, do coops always have to be closed up at night even if they are safely enclosed in a pen?

    If you don't shut them into the house at night you need to be reaaallllllly confident in your run's security. It is quite hard to 100% predatorproof a run, you'd be surprised. Therefore, shutting them in at night gives you a second level of security.

    When you let 'em out in the morning (if they were shut in) depends on things like "are the water and feed inside or are they out in the run" and "how hot does it get in the coop, how fast?". For my chickens in the main buildign, that have LOTS AND LOTS of room indoors (15 sq ft per chicken indoors) and their food and water is in there, I do not sweat it if they get out late or not at all; OTOH when I have chickens in my little tractor in summertime, which has a little feed and (usually) water in the house portion but the house portion is *quite* small, I feel terrible (and they feel grumpy) if I don't get 'em out by sunrise or at least the first hour after it. So it really depends.

    4)Do you have to round up the chickens at night, or do they go in the coop by themselves? When do they need to go in to roost, at dusk, or after dark?

    They go in to roost on their own (you might have to 'train' them the first few nights by manually collecting them at, or after, dusk and taking them in and plopping them down on the roost, but they willl learn rapidly, and most chickens figure it out on their own the first night anyhow). Usually around dusk, like as it approaches too dark to read a newspaper, although some retire earlier. Though if you have lights on outside that can mess them up and 'keep them out late' sometimes.

    Good luck, have fun, welcome to BYC [​IMG],

    Pat​
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Edited because in having trouble with computer hanging up, I apparently posted the same thing a zillion times [​IMG]

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Edited because in having trouble with computer hanging up, I apparently posted the same thing a zillion times [​IMG]

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Yeah, yeah, edited out because it was ANOTHER repeat, go ahead, laugh at me [​IMG]

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Final repeat edited out, go ahead, keep laughing, you know you wanna [​IMG]


    Pat
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  7. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    S.E. AZ
    Hello and welcome!

    You'll get lots of opinions on all of your questions, so, here's mine:

    (1) Chickens have very poor night vision. I think having some natural light makes it much easier for them to get in the coop and on the roost before it gets too dark inside. I have disturbed my chickens at times when it's pitch black in the coop and they don't seem to be able to see well enough to navigate their way back onto the roost. Opening windows will allow you to get some ventilation into the coop to keep the humidity down.

    (2) Both my coops are ground level with slab floor. I like having the coop at ground level with a door big enough to get a wheelbarrel inside. On adavntage I can see of a evevated coop would be shade under it for the chickens. Around the S.W., shade is much more important than most other chicken comforts. Even today, mine are in the shade and run from shady spot to shady spot, without spending much time in the sun.

    (3) Closing up at night is for protection from preditors. The term should have been "Sitting Chicken", instead of "A Sitting Duck". They are defensless to flee anything at night.

    (4) Lock them in their coop/run a couple of weeks before you let them free range and they will usually put themselves to bed on their own.

    I see that Pat has answered most of these questions already and I agree with most of it. Best of luck to you.
     
  8. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    and welcome to you and yours!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Depending on your coop, a window might make it easier for you to see when you are working in the coop.
     
  10. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I think Patandtechickn gave you the best aswear.

    I just wanted to welcome you on board.

    Omran.
     

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