OK to confine 10-wk-olds to coop in 90°F heat?


12 Years
Jan 2, 2010
Santa Fe, NM
OK, so my 3 babies moved out to their coop yesterday & spent their first night outside! My plan was to confine them 24/7 to the coop over the coming weekend while we attend my son's college graduation -- I read on BYC somewhere that they would identify the coop as "home" and go to roost at night more easily if I confined them for 2-3 days. Plus, the coop itself is well predator-proofed, but our fenced back yard would be vulnerable to the usual suburban predators if the chicks weren't locked up at night.

My problem is this: we have forecast highs in the mid-90s for the whole weekend. The coop is well-shaded most of the day, but I'm worried they will be too hot in the late afternoon when the sun hits it. The coop is not huge (4' x 6' x 4' high), but it is very well-ventilated (see photos below), and of course they will have plenty of water. Yesterday was our first really hot day (93°), and they spent the afternoon under a large shrub, and I noticed they were all "panting" in the hottest part of the day.


This shows the 4-inch covered vents on the sides of the coop (6 of them in all) and the 1' x 2' opened window in the end. There's also a 9" x 9" roof vent, which you can barely make out.


In hot weather, the main coop doors will remain open like this (with a plastic tarp over them as a kind of awning for the windows in the ventilated plywood doors). The windows in the plywood are about 16" x 16".

This worried chicken-mom needs to know if they will be OK, or if I need to make other plans!
If possible, I'd try to make other plans. The coop is liable to get much hotter than the ambient temperature when the sun hits it in the afternoon. Since you won't be there to monitor whether they're in distress, it just seems like an unnecessary risk.

What were your long term plans for dealing with the heat in the coop? Is there any way you could push that up a bit? At the least, perhaps you could erect some kind of temporary shade cloth to keep the afternoon sun off the coop.

Hope you find a solution and can enjoy your trip.
My quick suggestion/solution would be to rig up a fan outside (facing inward) at the end you're putting plastic up for an awning. This would move the air through the coop and reduce the heat. If you could connect the fan to a timer for the daytime that would be even better. Depending on the age of your babies and the height of their roosts, I believe with this modification you'll be fine. Congratulations to your son and have a safe trip.
Thanks for your help, Heathercp! I do plan to erect a shade cloth or umbrella, but our Kansas winds preclude "setting and forgetting" it over the weekend -- it would probably blow away! Long-term, they will free-range the (fenced) back yard during the day, so my thought was that they'll find a shady spot outside on hot days.
I agree with the fan idea. Personally, I'd mount it on the outside of that big window in pic #1. One caution - make absolutely sure that the water supply is secure and can't be tipped over. Water is their lifeline so long as they are locked inside in that heat.
Can you have a neighbor or friend come over and let them out to free range in the morning and then close them in at night? If your yard is enclosed, they should be okay. At least, I think they'd be better off than being locked up in the coop. From the picture it looks like plastic which can get very hot.

When I'm gone, this is what I do. The neighbors open their door in the morning and shut it after they go to bed at night.

You can promise them future eggs.

I'm thinking of asking a neighbor to do this, but they're not "chicken people," and i don't know if they could catch the chickens if they don't go into the coop to roost at night! It'll only be the chooks' 4th night out!
We are on the MO side of Kansas City. We went out of town last weekend and just left plenty of water. Our chicks were perfectly fine. I think your ventilation looks good. If you could rig up a fan, that would be stellar. Otherwise, I think they will be fine if you have someone checking on them. LIke you said, we get plenty of wind. There is usually a breeze, we if it is a hot one.

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