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New Coop Construction with Photos!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Blazer, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2011
    Hi Everyone,

    I am expecting my small flock of 5 Buff Orpingtons to arrive around mid April, so I am trying to get this thing finished up in the next month! I live in North Texas where it typically gets over 100 degrees in the summer, and have fairly mild winters (except for this last year). Please let me know your thoughts on what I should change/modify before I put the walls on. The dimensions of the coop are 3.5' x 6' and it is standing on 2' legs. The walls are 30" high. The roof overhangs each side by approximately 12".

    I think it is over built, but it won't be moved once it is on its spot along my back fence. I used 7/16" OSB for the floor and painted it with 4 coats of oil based paint (think that is enough?). After reading the current OSB thread, I'm a little worried that I may have made a mistake. I can always cover it with linoleum or truck bed liner, just let me know your personal build experiences. Thanks again for helping a newbie out!

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    I put the shingles on the roof this past weekend to protect it from the rain, but I was tired and forgot to get some pictures. I'll get those posted soon!
     
  2. MamaChic21

    MamaChic21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice, keep up the good work and keep us posted on your progress.
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in North Texas, too. This will be my third summer keeping chickens, and I have bantams that can handle heat pretty well. Having said that, I have some real concerns about your set up and the summer heat.

    First of all, you've done a beautiful job in building your coop. Very nice craftsmanship. Now on to the issues I'm concerned about. A coop in the summer sun in Texas heats up inside awfully. There are a couple of things you can do to mitigate this, and where we live you probably need to do all of them. Siting the coop where it gets natural shade, especially in the afternoon, is the best thing. Is your coop location in the shadiest spot in your yard? If not, I sure would move it there. If you can't, or don't have a shady spot, you can probably rig some kind of artificial shade tarp over the coop to block afternoon sun.

    Secondly, ventilation. For our extreme heat, you want to have more, way more, ventilation than is typically recommend for a coop (1 square foot per bird). This summer ventilation should be down at roost level, so that if there is a breeze, the chickens can catch it. It's actually not overdoing it to make one or more walls all or mostly all hardware cloth, with panels you can screw back on in the winter time.

    I also use the radiant roof sheathing for our latest coop. This helps cut down on the heat that's transferred from through the roof when the sun's beating down on it. It may be too late for you to retrofit your coop with that, though.

    I would recommend that you put a thermometer inside the coop and keep an eye on the temperatures in there, as well as watch your chickens. When they start to pant and hold their wings away from their bodies, you know they're bothered by the heat. You might want to build a secure enough run so that they could roost outdoors in the summer, if they need to.

    Other things you can do for summer heat: put out shallow pans of water for the chickens to stand in (this cools their feet, which cools their blood, which cools their whole bodies). I ice down their water, and replace it frequently, because they don't drink water that's gotten warm, and they can dehydrate quickly from panting.

    Standard size chickens can handle our winters (even last winter!) with no problem at all. It's the summer that's the problem. Every year chickens actually die from heat. Shade is going to be your best friend. Here's a link to a great page about how another BYC member created his own shade solution for extreme heat:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=56638
     
  4. Blazer

    Blazer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2011
    Thank you for the advice Elmo. The spot in my yard is sandwiched underneath a large tree, and is between my fence and the house (the house should block late afternoon sun). On the northwest side is a very large crepe myrtle that should protect it from the sun as well. If it looks like I'm still not getting enough shade coverage, I will definately put up a shade tarp.

    I have some radiant barrier pieces that were donated to my project, however they were not big enough to do my roof with, so I was going to put them on my walls instead. Has anyone insulated their roof/walls with the blue/pink foam insulation sheets? What is the best way to tack it in place?

    Thank you for pointing out the lack of ventilation for our climate, I think that I will turn everything on the short ends above the chicken door / nest box into hardware cloth with panels to cover them in winter . I could also enlarge the top vent along the back wall as well. Doing a rough estimate, I think that would net me approximately 8-9 sq feet of ventilation.

    I'll be sure to post more updates as I get further in my project!
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree, very nice job, and I also agree, not nearly enough air for summer heat. Chickens can die at 100 degrees F of the heat, they are built o tolerate cold wth their down coats, and it never gets cold enough down here to worry about cold, if you can block off winds in the middle of winter. I would turn either the cleanout wall or the opposite one entirely into hardware cloth, with a simple panel that can be placed over it in the middle of winter.

    Just for an idea, here is a thread on hot weather coops:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=163417&p=1
     
  6. f8thnjc

    f8thnjc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great Coop!
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That all sounds good.

    I insulated my coop, too, and I'm very glad I did. It helps slow the buildup of heat inside the coop during the summer, and in the winter, helps retain the heat that I add with a small, oil filled radiator. I only add supplemental heat for below freezing temperatures, and only because I have bantam breeds not known for being cold hardy. The standard breeds you are getting should be fine with whatever winter weather gets thrown at them hereabouts. You'll just want to close down any vents that could let cold air blow over the chickens as they roost.

    You really don't need to attach the foam board. Just cut it to fit between the studs and jam it in there. You do need to cover up the insulation from pecking beaks (yep, chickens will eat insulation if they can get to it). I just used thin plywood to cover up the insulation in my coop.
     
  8. gottadance

    gottadance Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2011
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    Wow - that is really great - you're talented. But I have a question - how easy/hard is it going to be to clean it out - does your clean your door fold all the way down. I'm just thinking given the depth, those back corners might be hard to clean without a real strain on the back. I'm a newbie, so I have no idea, but I'm just trying to learn how things like that will work.
     
  9. SunnyD

    SunnyD Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Hey ditto on the great construction job! It shames me. I have a clean out door very similar to yours and I have no problem cleaning it out. My coop sits 32" off the ground and the clean out door is large enough that I don't have to lean over to clean it. The important thing that worked best for me was putting my hinges at the bottom of the door so it opens entirely out of the way. I made my perches like a ladder going from front to back of my coop and about half the width. 90% of the "Poop" will be under the perch where I put a layer of heavy paper on top of used feed bags that I have split down the sides. I simply open the clean out door, carefully pull out my first layer of paper as to not dump the Poop, right into a bagged garbage can that sits a couple inches lower than my coop. A few days later I pull out the bottom layer and brush the floor. I do this twice a week. I bought a stiff brush with a handle that's made to spread driveway dressing. (It also has a squeegee on one side.) I can easily reach the back corners and brush out any dried poop that might have missed the paper!
     
  10. tkvance

    tkvance Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2009
    Looks like a great construction job and setup. It will be good to see your finished pics with the siding on. Are you also building a run, or will they free-range?
     

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