Open air concept coop for winter - any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by vwright0401, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. vwright0401

    vwright0401 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 26, 2012
    I recently read an article from a link here on BYC on a coop design from waaay back in the day, early 1900's with one wall completely open, even in winter. It was covered with chicken wire for safety but no walls or windows to close off the weather. The article stated that even with the cold weather, the idea of the fresh air was so much more beneficial than either heating the coop or closing it off to keep in heat.

    My coop is a solid building but I have windows on the east and west sides and the roof is pitched towards the south with some of the opaque plastic roofing material to let in more natural light. I am planning on keeping the window open this year that faces the east. I live in SW Ohio and most of the bad weather we get comes from the west. The west facing window will be covered with plexi-glass so they will still have afternoon light coming in, but I'm going to leave the east facing window open, only covered by 1/2" hardware cloth. I am going to go with lighting the coop on a timer for egg production, but will not have any heat, I know there is a risk of some frostbitten combs but my chickens aren't show birds by any means, I have about 20 hens and 3 roosters (1 too many roosters if anyone's interested in a gorgeous Americana rooster let me know)

    Any thoughts about the open air coop are welcome.
  2. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2012
    North Texas
    -think it depends upon the breeds and the climate. For the most part, I think heat is much more of an issue than cold for chickens. -and, ventilation is absolutely crucial. -that being said, I don't know if having an open-sided coop in a very cold climate (temps regularly below 0) would be a good idea. In Texas, we can certainly have open air coops in the winter. -around 20 degrees is as cold as it gets in the middle of January. -little to no "winter" precipitation.
  3. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I've had my open air coop going on 4yrs now. I can get temps into the single digits, and have absolutely no problems at all. I've never had any problems with frostbite, as that is a problem with closed poorly ventilated coops. Back in the day, I read about where they used open air coops up into Canada, with -40 temps. This was a proven concept 100yrs ago, but people still are for the most part, unaware of it.

  4. vwright0401

    vwright0401 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 26, 2012
    I love your coop! That's exactly what I was talking about. I think the chickens are acclimated to the weather much better and are able to cope with cold temps. The article said they are hardier and more resistant to disease.
  5. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.

    Thanks, and yes, the chickens DO acclimate to the weather much better. In the 4yrs I've had this coop going, I've never had a sick bird. Before the egg industry came up with the closed, temperature controlled, forced ventilated egg factories we have today, large versions of these coops were the standard. The birds got out and roamed around, when they weren't laying eggs. IMO, it's the best coop you can have.

    Here's a summer view.

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You'll probably have some very healthy birds.

    No other livestock is "cooped" up all winter, I've never understood why folks think chickens should, either. I mean, I get predator protection--raccoons and foxes aren't so much a threat to cattle or pigs, etc, but chickens are animals designed to survive lots of weather. They do need shelter from wind--they would find this themselves is feral-- and wet--but enclosed heat, nope.
    1 person likes this.
  7. DallasCriftins

    DallasCriftins Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have my Roosters in this tractor the Corulux sheets provided through ventilation via the corrugations and the base of the coop is completely open using 30mm square weld mesh.
    I also leave air gaps between the cladding I don't understand how you are supposed to achieve a draft free coop and maintain decent ventilation so I don't even try!



    Ditto for this converted climbing frame vented all around at the top and weld mesh at the bottom.


    Mind you in the UK we don't get the absolute levels of cold, what we do get is loads of poxy rain often sideways and fog and overcast gloom and general yukness especially in November.

    I am curious about the very open windows in that Red Coop do you get lots of Rain soaking everything? what size is it as I need to build something quite big and that look great it is called a Monitor isn't it?
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The 2 key elements to the Woods Coop design are:
    -only one side is open in the winter, the rest of the building is pretty no thru drafts.
    -and the depth of the building (I think it's 16 feet) from the open side to the opposite side is critical.
    At least that is what I have gathered from reading the text and the numerous discussions here on BYC of this design.

    It's a very cool concept, and Jacks coop is a shining example.

    Edited to add 'Woods Coop'
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  9. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    Sep 1, 2010
    My coop is also open air concept, but mine was made from found doors and pallets so not a pretty as the one posted for sure.

    My north side is solidish (plank board walls w/ cracks between boards)

    The east, south, and west walls are basically wire, I do have doors I have mounted horizontally that I close in the winter leaving the top of the east and west open wire, and the south is open wire all year.

    I live in Oklahoma we get cold winter temps and below freezing weather (but nothing like Ohio) but have had absolutely no issues in the winter.
  10. mchristinesmith

    mchristinesmith Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 12, 2013
    It's beautiful, where did you get your plans for this coop?And about how much did it cost? I am definitely very interested in this style of coop. Thank you so much.

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