One Man's Tiring Search for Coop Perfection

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by darbycrash, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. darbycrash

    darbycrash New Egg

    Sep 14, 2012
    I've been on the internet for who knows how long, trying to find something of use to me, but I'm rather new at all of this fowl stuff, so I'm having a hard time finding a certain coop that'd be perfect for me and the fam. Essentially, I'm asking one of you kind members to do all the searching work for me, because it's late, I'm tired, and would love some help.

    We live in upstate New York, where it gets rather cold in the winters, and were looking to start a small operation next spring. Six chickens for the wife, and four or five ducks for myself. Initially, the plan was to put the chickens and the ducks in one big coop, but I've heard quite horrible things about doing that. The two fowls don't really "mesh," I guess. So, we're looking to raise both birds for eggs, and I've been looking at buying some khaki campbell ducklings next spring for myself, and the wife's looking for a dozen rhode island reds. Open to suggestions on both those topics.

    But, the task at hand here is the shelter for these animals. We live in a moderate area, warm summers and cold winters. Rarely do the temperatures here hit the negative fahrenheit degrees, however. I want to build two small coops which would be predator safe and insulated, and plans would be awesome. We live on thirty acres of land, and would keep the birds on the same acre our house is on. We do have predators here, so we'd need to keep the birds safe from those as well. I figure if I can just build a small insulated coop and put heating lamps in both, I could create a relatively nice environment and keep morale high for our egg-producing-slaves. I'd also like to have a small body of water for the ducks somewhere in their coop if possible, and would keep drinking water available in the winter months via heating lamps. I could keep them free range, since we live on a country road completely to ourselves, and we're at the end of a dead end.

    So if anybody has any plans that would allow me to build two small coops that suit or needs for not much more than $1,000, that would be fantastic. Thanks for reading my rant.
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    It sounds as though your climate may be similar to what we get here. We can get 50+ triple digit days in the summer, and a week or more at a time where temps dip to single digits at night and climb to the teens during the day, in the winter.

    I do not insulate my coops. I have read of more problems caused by the insulation, than benefits. The main thing chickens need is good ventilation, and it is hard to have both insulation and good ventilation.

    I also would not heat by heat lamp. I do not offer any supplemental heat and have never had an issue after several winters. Heat lamps cause coop fires every year - not a risk I am willing to take. It is surprising how much heat a chicken's little body will put out but to give you an idea, if the coop space is appropriate to the number of birds, they will heat the space themselves quite well. In one coop, my waterer did not freeze even when it was below freezing outside, as the birds put off enough heat to keep the temp above 32 inside.

    I keep muscovies rather than Khaki Campbells, and my birds all reside in the same coop. The muscovy girls fly up and roost with the chickens. The boys sleep together on the floor. I did also have guineas in the same coop and currently have a new pair of turkeys that are in a separation pen while they get used to living here but will be in the coop by winter. My personal feeling is that it is better to keep them all together as they then get the benefit of the shared body heat. But since I don't keep Khaki Campbells, there may be something about them that makes them unsuitable to keep with chickens, that I am not aware of.

    Oh - side note. I no longer keep water inside the coop as the ducks will splash it out and make a mess. In winter I now use a heated dog water bowl to keep their water unfrozen.
  3. chickers

    chickers Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 18, 2012
    Gold Country California
    I don't have ducks but I've certainly read about people keeping both in one coop. I'd suggest converting a shed into a coup. That's what we did and it works well. And make the coup larger than you think you need. I don't know about duck math, but chicken math is real. I started with three chickens and now I have 11. [​IMG]
  4. RWD

    RWD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2011
    Wartrace TN.
    Chickens and Ducks are the most insulated animals on earth. As long as they are in a well ventilated coop, and out of the wind they do great in temps. around 0 or -5. Hot weather is harder on them than cold weather. If the coop is not well ventilated then the moisture in their breath will freeze on the comb and wattles. And also perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
  5. Shelz

    Shelz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2012
    S.E. Iowa
    How much space would you need for 6 chickens, in order for them to stay warm enough in the winter? It can get pretty COLD here in Iowa.
  6. We keep a space heater with a themostat in our coop. When it gets below freezing point, it will come on.

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