Need help deciding whether to build enclosed nesting/roosting area, or leave it open

lablover

Songster
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
572
11
124
I'm upgrading my 6 chickens from a 4x8 chicken tractor to a 10x10 dog kennel. I am also adding 3 hens. (they're only babies right now!) The roof will have tin on it. The back side will either be completely tin, or covered in tarp to block the northern winds. 2 sides will also either have tin or tarp covering half of them. The plan right now is to have branches as roosts in one corner, and a nesting box and food/water in the other corner on the back side. BUT... I like how most coops have an area (I assume) that has a roosting place, and a nesting place all in one cute, enclosed box with shavings as the floor. Then there's the little ladder that leads out of the chicken-sized hole in the "house." The rest of the coop is used as a run.

So is that possible with my dog kennel? Could I make a little "house" that is raised and big enough for 8 hens and roo?
 
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Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
577
448
South Georgia
It depends where you live. Where I am, I would not have a "box" type structure. They tolerate cold a lot better than heat and need the breeze and fresh air here. They actually do fine in an open air setup in many climates. You could still have a shelf type setup with wind and rain protection, and a ladder (actually a ramp,) and room for them to walk underneath.
 

cldrake2010

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 21, 2013
1
0
6
Hi. I am in the same boat you are. I used a 10 x 10 dog kennel for my 8 hens. It also has a tin roof. I have not covered the sides yet, because I was wondering if it was neccessary or not. I do have a hutch that holds up to 4 hens. I made a roosting perch which was simple, but I am stumped. I am not sure if I need to enclose a portion of the pen or just leave it open and block a portion of the sides. Hope we both can get some help. This is the first time I have had chickens since I was younger. I need all the help I can get at this point.
 

lablover

Songster
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
572
11
124
Flockwatcher, I'm in the SE U.S like yourself, so it is quite humid. Keeping it open probably would be best, but I just think that the box type structure is cute and would be easy to keep clean and dry.

cldrake2010, do you happen to have a picture? I'm just getting the roof on mine.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,100
19,561
857
Southeast Louisiana
I agree with Flockwatcher. It certainly does depend on where you live. For a lot of us, heat is much more of a danger than cold. In cold weather they need ventilation too but ventilation is really important in the heat. There are other considerations. You obviously want the eggs to stay dry in the nest but you can handle that with how you build the nests. If you have high heat though I suggest you make sure the nests are fairly well ventilated up high. You don’t want them to become an oven.

Think about a driving rain and high winds in a thunderstorm. They should have some protection from this when they are roosting. I’ve seen chickens sleep in trees in all kinds of weather, from temperatures well below freezing to through some really nasty thunderstorms. But these chickens are not roosting on a dead branch at the top of a ridgeline, squawking defiance in the teeth of a blizzard or a blasting thunderstorm. You might see that in a Disney cartoon, not in real life. The trees they are in will be in a sheltered place and they can hide behind tree trunks and thick limbs in bad weather.

In the warmer climates a coop with one open wire side works great. You can build a cute box but you need to take really good ventilation into consideration. Hot air rises. You need plenty of room for the hot air to escape at the top and cooler air to come in at the bottom. Make good overhangs and leave the tops of your walls open. Just cover that with hardware cloth to keep predators out. Make your coop extra tall. With openings high and low, that can actually create a bit of a cooling breeze. Just make your lower vents so you can cover them in the winter if you do get really cold weather. Adding a cute vented cupola on top of your coop can increase the height and help with creating that cooling breeze.

You can incorporate hardware cloth covered windows into your design. If you paint the hardware cloth a dark color like black or dark green, it pretty much becomes invisible.

For some people cute is important. The chickens don’t care but people do. In suburbia, cute can be important in keeping your neighbors happy. You are only limited by your imagination in how you accomplish it, but remember that ventilation is really important.
 
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lablover

Songster
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
572
11
124
Yes, ventilation is more important than cuteness for my coop. I think I will stick with the original plan to keep it open but well protected. :) but since some rain might leak in at the bottom, or even blow in a bit at the front, I'm not sure what to do about the floor. It will be too wet for deep litter.
 

PalmHen

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 14, 2013
63
0
28
I'm building an 8' X 10' chicken coop that is all wire with a 42 X 72" elevated roosting area inside of it that will be enclosed at night. I've already planned for the ventilation of the roosting area, but I was wondering if I have to have food in there for them at night. I know I need to provide water for them overnight. It just seems like I'm doubling up on provisions for them, having them both inside AND outside.
When I look at the plans for coops, I don't see the whole thing so I don't know how it's set up. Does someone have any idea of how to provide feeders (if they need to eat overnight) and waterers in this night time area without it taking up a lot of space? (the nest boxes are bumped out on the side of the building for easy egg collection).

Thanks
 

aggiemae

Songster
7 Years
Mar 18, 2012
1,408
138
216
Salem Oregon
I'm building an 8' X 10' chicken coop that is all wire with a 42 X 72" elevated roosting area inside of it that will be enclosed at night. I've already planned for the ventilation of the roosting area, but I was wondering if I have to have food in there for them at night. I know I need to provide water for them overnight. It just seems like I'm doubling up on provisions for them, having them both inside AND outside.
When I look at the plans for coops, I don't see the whole thing so I don't know how it's set up. Does someone have any idea of how to provide feeders (if they need to eat overnight) and waterers in this night time area without it taking up a lot of space? (the nest boxes are bumped out on the side of the building for easy egg collection).

Thanks
Chickens don't do anything but sleep when it's dark. In the brooder it's day time 24/7 but I remove the food from the brooder at night as soon as the are done using the heat lamp. You chicks will eat more during the day but over all it will be the same amount the were eating in a 24 hours period with the light on.

I don't keep any food or water in the coop. It makes a needless mess and invites mice (and possibly rats into the coop) but we open the coop at first light all winter and at 6:30 AM the rest of the year and leave "breakfast" out there when I open the coop and "dinner" is served an hour or so before dusk.
 
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PalmHen

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 14, 2013
63
0
28
Chickens don't do anything but sleep when it's dark. In the brooder it's day time 24/7 but I remove the food from the brooder at night as soon as the are done using the heat lamp. You chicks will eat more during the day but over all it will be the same amount the were eating in a 24 hours period with the light on.

I don't keep any food or water in the coop. It makes a needless mess and invites mice (and possibly rats into the coop) but we open the coop at first light all winter and at 6:30 AM the rest of the year and leave "breakfast" out there when I open the coop and "dinner" is served an hour or so before dusk.

Did you mean that you don't keep any food or water in the roosting area? There has to be water in the coop and food too!
 

PalmHen

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 14, 2013
63
0
28
Chickens don't do anything but sleep when it's dark. In the brooder it's day time 24/7 but I remove the food from the brooder at night as soon as the are done using the heat lamp. You chicks will eat more during the day but over all it will be the same amount the were eating in a 24 hours period with the light on.

I don't keep any food or water in the coop. It makes a needless mess and invites mice (and possibly rats into the coop) but we open the coop at first light all winter and at 6:30 AM the rest of the year and leave "breakfast" out there when I open the coop and "dinner" is served an hour or so before dusk.

Ok, I have another question. I am going to be building this box inside of the coop and I have a clear plexiglass roof. Does their roosting area need to be completely enclosed for darkness at night so they can get that cycle of dark and light?
I'm going to have electrical put in the coop so that I can have a light on at night if I want to in the winter for a little heat and so they'll lay. I guess my dilemma is that I don't want the heat to escape or to dissipate quickly because they have a plexiglass roof as opposed to a plywood roof. I just want it to be right the first time around, so lots of questions.
 

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