Open air chicken coop???

Gnarled Carrots

In the Brooder
Feb 17, 2016
93
13
41
Washington
I just moved to the olympic peninsula in Washington state and need to build a new chicken coop. The coop needs to be mobile, so I'm thinking about a tractor style coop. I saw one here in Washington that is entirely open air and am wondering if anyone else has done this!??

It's built like a greenhouse. There's a wood frame on the bottom and rebar arching over it. Over the rebar is heavy plastic and at the front and back is heavy wiring with a door. In the winter, which is very mild here, they put insulating panels over the plastic for added warmth.

Apparently they've had it for years and love it. There's no real coop/run distinction. The front and back are open air. The chickens get shade and warmth from the plastic covering it and the entire structure is towed with the tractor every couple weeks to a different part of the farm so that they can graze and fertilize the fields.

I'm intrigued! With such a mild climate, do I really need a separate coop/run? My first thought was making sure that they were warm enough and that it would be predator proof, but they haven't had any problems. Their biggest predator problem is with hawks, but apparently the hawk just likes to sit on top of the coop and haven't been able to get at the chickens.
 

Ljc01

Songster
Jun 5, 2016
217
153
126
Nipomo, Ca
That is the kind of coop we have. Ours is a 6x10 dog run. We us 10gallon black planters that small trees come in for nesting boxes and put up roosting bars that attach to the sides. We use a tarp on top to keep the rain and hawks out. We also use tarps on the sides, which we raise up and down depending on the weather. On the central coast of Calif. we don't get any weather.
I have posted pictures of our coop in the managing your flock forum. I am at work so I can't post the pictures from this computer.
 

Intheswamp

Crowing
12 Years
Mar 25, 2009
2,373
118
296
South Alabama
I just moved to the olympic peninsula in Washington state and need to build a new chicken coop. The coop needs to be mobile, so I'm thinking about a tractor style coop. I saw one here in Washington that is entirely open air and am wondering if anyone else has done this!??

It's built like a greenhouse. There's a wood frame on the bottom and rebar arching over it. Over the rebar is heavy plastic and at the front and back is heavy wiring with a door. In the winter, which is very mild here, they put insulating panels over the plastic for added warmth.

Apparently they've had it for years and love it. There's no real coop/run distinction. The front and back are open air. The chickens get shade and warmth from the plastic covering it and the entire structure is towed with the tractor every couple weeks to a different part of the farm so that they can graze and fertilize the fields.

I'm intrigued! With such a mild climate, do I really need a separate coop/run? My first thought was making sure that they were warm enough and that it would be predator proof, but they haven't had any problems. Their biggest predator problem is with hawks, but apparently the hawk just likes to sit on top of the coop and haven't been able to get at the chickens.
You might actually be talking about cattle panels. These are heavy-gauge metal grids 16' long by 4+ feet wide. Several are combined in the width dimension with each panel being bent over and attached to the one beside it. Many people make these hoop houses both permanent and mobile. Be sure to install aprons around the perimeter for predator-proofing.

Chickens need freedom from drafts and very good ventilation. It sounds to me with the description of your climate that you don't need to worry about keeping them warm...they can keep themselves warm if the other two conditions are satisfied. If you will be moving the coop every few days a run isn't required. How many chickens are you planning on keeping in it?

Best wishes,
Ed
 

Gnarled Carrots

In the Brooder
Feb 17, 2016
93
13
41
Washington
That is the kind of coop we have. Ours is a 6x10 dog run. We us 10gallon black planters that small trees  come in for nesting boxes and put up roosting bars that attach to the sides. We use a tarp on top to keep the rain and hawks out. We also use tarps on the sides, which we raise up and down depending on the weather. On the central coast of Calif. we don't get any weather.
I have posted pictures of our coop in the managing your flock forum. I am at work so I can't post the pictures from this computer.


Love the pictures! Having the sides come up and down is a great idea.
 

Gnarled Carrots

In the Brooder
Feb 17, 2016
93
13
41
Washington
You might actually be talking about cattle panels.  These are heavy-gauge metal grids 16' long by 4+ feet wide.  Several are combined in the width dimension with each panel being bent over and attached to the one beside it.  Many people make these hoop houses both permanent and mobile.  Be sure to install aprons around the perimeter for predator-proofing.

Chickens need freedom from drafts and very good ventilation.  It sounds to me with the description of your climate that you don't need to worry about keeping them warm...they can keep themselves warm if the other two conditions are satisfied.  If you will be moving the coop every few days a run isn't required.  How many chickens are you planning on keeping in it?

Best wishes,
Ed


I am definitely talking about a hoop house, but for chickens. The farm that I'm staying on now had a green house fall over during a freak storm a couple months ago and they said that we can have whatever wood and plastic sheeting that we can salvage.

I'm thinking about having the top and long sides plastic and then the ends chicken wire (or more likely a stronger wire). I'm going to need to be able to move it by myself, so I'm thinking about doing modular pods that I could move individually. We have 9 chickens and the wood is 8' long. So I'm thinking about doing three 4' x 8' chicken hoop houses that could connect end to end. That would give each chicken at least 10 sq ft.
 

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