Open Air, where are you?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PaulPike, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. PaulPike

    PaulPike Chirping

    May 26, 2018
    Lafayette, La
    With moving to Lafayette, LA in two weeks, I have been researching coop designs. From my introduction thread, people mentioned that I should consider building an open-air coop, as the south can get very hot. Upon looking at "normal" coops vs open-air, I couldn't find a major difference.

    The only difference that was apparent was the use of more ventilation.

    With the various selection of coops, it seems people came across this open-air method very differently. Some coops look like they have no difference between the coop vs run, others have the coop with large ventilation towards the top, and others seem to have a free range method with a big screened in tent.

    I just want to make sure I do this properly the first time. I also want to use the DLM within the coop. The research I have done seems to be the best/healthiest option for the chicks.

    My question is, is there a right way? Do chicken coops have to be a certain temperature to be properly? Will a DLM method not work if there is too much ventilation?

    Sorry if I missed a few threads that may have already discussed these topics.
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    DLM works fine with ventilation. Last thing you would want with DLM, would be insufficient venting.
    There is no wrong way or right way to construct a coop. A big concern is of course predator security. That means, an open type of coop needs to be secure at night from raccoons which are quite everywhere in North America.
    In simple terms,,,,,,, it is easier to construct a wooden enclosure with ventilation that would be easier to secure against predators. You also do have snakes to be concerned in your area at night.
    Your run can be made relatively safe much easier, since you are concerned with daytime predators, rather than both day and night.
    A good IDEA, would be to visit some other chicken keepers in your area, and see how they handle things.
    WISHING YOU BEST.......................... and :welcome
    PaulPike and ChickNanny13 like this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Ventilation is the difference. In Lafayette, La you don't have to be worried about the cold. I know you can get freezing temps but as long as they can get out of the rain and a direct wind your chickens don't care. That far south cold is not your enemy, heat is. Heat can kill.

    Consider a coop with one wall that is nothing but wire mesh, top to bottom. That gives you fabulous ventilation. Rain will blow in so position it where it will drain. With that ventilation it will dry out pretty fast as long as water does not stand in it. Build your nests and roosts where they stay dry. You might try putting the wire mesh side away from prevailing winds or where it is blocked from the rain blowing in if you can.

    The DLM is nothing more than turning the floor of your coop into a compost pile. You do not want it to stay too wet, it can go anaerobic and stink. If it is too dry the bugs that turn that stuff into dirt can't live and reproduce. You need some moisture. If it does get wet occasionally as long as it can dry out you will be OK.
  4. PaulPike

    PaulPike Chirping

    May 26, 2018
    Lafayette, La
    Wonderful, once we get down there and have exact measurements, I might draw up/3d model a coop and see what people think.
  5. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Songster

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    There was an article written by @getaclue on June 6, 2017 called Hot Weather Coops that shows an excellent example of an open air design. Obviously that coop is much larger than you will need at this time, but it shows some things you will want to incorporate in your design. Also you can check out my photo galleries for examples of two different open air coops I’ve built in the last couple years.

    Don’t build anywhere until it’s rained really good a couple times, so you can locate the driest spot in the yard. Hurricane season just started a couple weeks ago, so you haven’t seen any real rain yet.

    If you’ve already arrived in Acadiana welcome! This ain’t summer yet. It’s going to get a whole lot hotter in July and August. Do you really want to be building a chicken coop in 100+ degree weather? It might be a good idea to put off getting chickens until next spring, especially since you are new to this climate.
    Johnny98, aart, getaclue and 3 others like this.
  6. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    Unsure how "open air" you want it but exactly what I was striving for, not pretty but very functional for me & simple. We put shower curtains around (rain & wind) for when needed. I read about DLM after the fact so added more 2x4 on top the bottom frame to build up the sides. FYI - it's is wrapped in chicken wire but here in HI we don't have a predator problem. My yard is also fenced to keep the 2 legged predators out :(
    EDITED: Oh yes, you must check out @getaclue "Open Air" coop, it is BEAUTIFUL. Wish I'd seen it before we did ours

    DSC04233.JPG DSC04241.JPG
    cavemanrich and PaulPike like this.
  7. PaulPike

    PaulPike Chirping

    May 26, 2018
    Lafayette, La
    You make some very great points that I have not considered. I will have to see what happens with the rain. Assuming we get some really heavy rain and the yard is pretty dry, I might consider getting some pullets, although the prospect of raising chickens from little chicks is very appealing.

    I have worked in extreme heat and humidity, but maybe not to the scale that Lafayette has to offer. I planned on building most of the coop in my two car garage. So the sun shouldn't hurt too bad. I do however want to do this right and not rush it. Just excited for the prospect of fresh eggs and something to take care.

    Once I actually get down there (around July 4th) will have to investigate the yard, see how the rain falls and really see what my options are. Just trying to get as prepared as possible.


    The ONLY requirement my husband has for the coop is it has to look "cute". I heavy eye rolled at it, but we will be having many work functions in our backyard and I want to make it attractive if I can. Thank you for the concept though!
    cavemanrich likes this.
  8. PaulPike

    PaulPike Chirping

    May 26, 2018
    Lafayette, La
    I was so hopping someone from the area would pop in! I have hit up the Louisiana thread in here, might ask more specifically if people mind me coming to see their setups!
    cavemanrich likes this.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    PaulPike likes this.

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