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"open" coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Whoops, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Whoops

    Whoops Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi all!

    I live in NM and am new to this chicken thing. I first looked at coops online, and they were garbage, so I got a huge 5' x 5' dog house off of Craig's list for free and set it up as a coop. I made a roost and could install premade nest boxes and maybe lift and angle the roof to make ventilation at the top, but I was contemplating making one. I went into the feed store, though, and they have some premade ones I was looking at for ideas. Many of them had a very open design - basically a hardware cloth and welded dog kennel with nest boxes, a roof, and a roost, and one solid wall as a windbreak. I have seen several like this. It makes me wonder if something like that might be better in our desert, often hot, climate than the enclosed style?

    I want to make them a nice, safe home, but I don't want to end up with a chicken hotbox or mite factory and cockroach haven.

    Is there somewhere that discusses different coop types for different environments?

    Right now, my chicks free range in my back yard (I live in the city) when I am home and can watch, or get locked up in their run (x-pen reinforced with hardware cloth, boards, and cement blocks) in the day when I am at work, and then get shut in their doghouse coop at night.

    I want something that I can stand up in to clean and maintain, that is airy and comfortable for them. I don't plan on hatching and raising chicks. I also want them to stay dry and secure during the monsoons. If I travel, I want something the chickensitter can manage.

    My carpentry skills are minimal - it took me two days to get the dog house screwed back together and the back hinged to swing open for cleaning. The plywood panels were really warped and rough. I don't even own a powered saw, but I think I need to buy one if I make a coop.

    So, is there an argument for the more open style coops, or are we just lazy here in NM? I am not talking about using the dog run as a chicken run and putting the enclosed coop inside of it, I mean a very open, sort of "lean-to" style that is more of a wind break than anything.
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    I'm also in the desert. You'll want to mist your chicken yard in the summer, so its not too hot for your chickens. Open air coops are nice but do nothing for chickens in the winter, if you have harsh winters, they're not a good idea. The dog house coop should be fine, just make sure there's proper ventilation.
  3. Whoops

    Whoops Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    The dog house coop isn't going to last - it was just a temporary bridge while I learned about chickens and what I wanted in a coop. Maybe I can remake it out of decent plywood - cannibalize the hardware - paint it and lift it up on concrete blocks a bit. A lot of people have wire floors, but I hate the idea of housing animals on wire floors. Hard on the tootsies. I suppose you could use wooden slats, but they would just poop all over them anyway and I don't have the skill or patience for constructing something like that.

    Darn, I was in love with the idea of a stand up, open air kind of coop.
  4. chynasparks

    chynasparks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2013
    Hi. I hope you get your design ideas worked out. I'm blessed with a husband with carpèntry skills. He built our coop. You can click on my album and take a look if you like. We live in Liverpool Texas. Between Houston and Galveston. It's hot and humid here. Winters aren't too harsh. We have walls for wind/rain break and open sides too. We just completed the cattle panel whoop run this weekend. I can't free range them so this was our only option for getting them out on the grass to forage. We should have gotten it done a lot sooner but, life happens. We just started with chickens in June. I've learned a lot off if this forum. When I purchased my peeps they were "all pullets" but there was a wild card in the bunch and now my Millie is Wild Bill. Theres no sure fired way of sexing young chicks so I'm told. I'm not unhappy, he's a cool bird and I'm keeping him. Good luck with your flock and construction.

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