Need Coop Ideas for Northern Minnesota!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by missusduray, May 27, 2007.

  1. missusduray

    missusduray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2007
    Northern Minnesota
    Can someone help me? I need coop ideas for a new coop. We are currently using an old grain shed for our coop now. It has seen better days and there is plenty of ventilation and Light. We know that this is only a temporary solution for the chickens. We need something for winter that is easy to heat and has enough room. This one would need much work to be winter ready for the chickens, and it is not worth it since it is old and falling apart. Does anyone have any ideas that will work for me and still be cost effective?
    Estimated chicken count will be 18. What size would I need for them?
    Kristyne
     
  2. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Depending on the source, you need between 2 and 4 square feet of henhouse per chicken. With cold winters, the smaller number might be better, but overcrowing causes picking and fighting so don't go toooo small. You probably want 3 ft per bird, 18 birds = 54 sq ft, which you can visualize as 6ft by 9 ft coop. If you want to go with the standard "pet chicken" 4 ft floor space, that is 4 x 18 = 72sq ft, which you can think of as 8 x 9 floor plan. This is, of course, assuming the chickens have an ample outside run.

    Cold winters also mean that you need to pay attention to the fact that the taller your coop, the colder the floor. So I would say that you should make it just barely tall enough for you to comfortably stand up in. That will preserve the heat that rises off the birds to where they can still keep warm. Don't make it super short, otherwise it will be a nightmare to keep clean and gather eggs.

    I built my nest boxes inside the henhouse instead of protruding out to keep them warmer. This is my first season with the hens so I don't know if this was smart or not, but it makes sense that they'll stay warmer that way.

    If I were you, I'd check to see if anyone in your area is selling a used utility shed. Buying one new at a lawn and garden store is expensive, but you might find one that just needs some work that would function really well for the chickens.

    Good luck

    -MTchick
     
  3. chickiepooh

    chickiepooh Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2007
    Otsego, Minnesota
    I live in Elk River, MN. We have 17 chickens - egg layers and a few pet silkies. We use part of our garden shed (6x10 of it) for our chickens. We built on a 12x12 covered run on the side of the shed, where their food and water is, that we cover in clear plastic for the winter. We don't heat the shed, but, it is insulated and vented. The chickens do just fine and have plenty of room to roam. We use a base heater for their water. We haven't had any problems. They also have a very large yard (about 100x100) enclosed for them.
     
  4. missusduray

    missusduray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2007
    Northern Minnesota
    Thank you so much for the information. It has been very helpful. Do I need a run for them in the winter? I free range them now and I was hoping to not have to build a run. Sorry for another question.
    Kristyne
     
  5. joanna

    joanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2007
    I would think you'd want a run for them, even if it weren't that big. they'll want to get some fresh air now & then and remember they are always wearing their coats :eek:

    When we lived in CO, they spent quite a bit of time outside when the sun was shining; the hardest part I had was keeping the water from freezing as I wasn't crazy about running extension cords over 3/4 acre.
     
  6. missusduray

    missusduray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2007
    Northern Minnesota
    Well yesterday we ran electricity to the coop in prep for this winter. I am not sure if we will build new this year or make it work for now but my Brother in law is an electritian so that makes it easy to wire out to the coop. I will suggest the run to my husband. Not that he wants anything else added to his honey "do" list.
    Kristyne
     
  7. FrozenChicken

    FrozenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 1, 2007
    Alberta, Canada
    I guess depending on how cold it is there in the winter. If you have 18 chickens in an insulated building with a couple heat lamps you could get away with a 8X10 by 8 high building perhaps if you had the roosts off the ground (not leaning kind). Hens will throw a bit of heat on their own but when you get tempature drops to -20 Celcuis you might have some issues with frostbitten combs.
     

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