Position of Open Air Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by xianshouston, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. xianshouston

    xianshouston Out Of The Brooder

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    Our yard slopes from N/NW to S/SE. The wind blows in from the SW for the most part. I have read that Open Air coops should open to the south, but it appears that the wind and rain would be blowing into the coop most of the time. However that is also the direction that would allow for the most sun due to the trees surrounding our yard. Maybe I am not understanding? We live in Middle Tennessee. Winters generally are in the 40's for highs. This year has been unusually cold, but still not too bad. Even if we go with a "regular" coop what should I look for as far as location?

    I have a shed that I could revamp that could either face N/NE or N/NW. But I worry about ventilation and I am not sure that I want to make that big of an opening in the shed considering it would only be a section of the 12 by 24 shed. If I make the inside will of wire will that help with ventilation? There are 2 windows (one would be in the coop) and a couple of vents.

    Everyone has been so great about answering my questions on here. Thank you.
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I don't see why you would want your coop to open to the South.

    You live in a land of very hot sun, wouldn't it be a good thing to make the South wall solid so that the chickens have some shade?

    It isn't as if they will be in a cave, the light will come in from the other sides, just not as strongly.

    If you are worried that it will be too dark, you could put windows, or plastic panels at the top of the wall (so direct super hot noon day sun can't enter, but the cooler sun of morning and evening can).


    Of course, even though blowing wind and rain are bad, a nice breeze is good. Do you think they will still get a breeze?



    You could have two walls completely open, one wall solid, and one wall with shutters, or something like that.
     
  3. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would have your openings facing the opposite direction of your prevailing winds (so that would be NE). The SW side could have the windows that can be open or closed depending on the weather. Ideally you want flaps or shutters from your openings so that you have options to open or close them to adjust air flow or keep out driving rain during storms.
     
  4. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a Wood's style open-air coop. They are designed to face south, preferably a bit to the southeast. Reason being, that is the direction to face to get the most sunlight into the coop, through the open front, and the upper monitor windows. In the summer, with all the windows open, in a rain storm, my coop will, depending on how the wind is blowing, get damp inside in the front half. But, due to it's open design, it quickly drys out. Also, most of the rain gets somewhat blocked by the hardware cloth screens. So it's not a big deal anyway. We are talking dampness, NOT sopping wet. It's as dry as a bone in there for the most part.

    It the winter, with all the windows closed, except for the open front, again, the coop gets maximum sunllight inside. But, because all the other windows are closed, there are NO drafts blowing around the chickens. The reason for that, is that there is NO path through the coop for the wind to go. The other windows are closed, the coop is tightly built, with no other openings, except for the open front. The coop gets excellent fresh air exchange/ventilation, but no cold winds blowing on the birds. I've had 30mph winds blowing directly at the open front, inside the coop, you would not even know the wind is blowing, except for the sound of it, it's perfectly calm inside.

    You could probably revamp the shed into a open-air style coop. In the book, 'Fresh air poultry houses' (I got it from Amazon), there are something like a half dozen different open-air coop designs shown. Some look just like a shed somebody modified. Matter of fact, there are pictures in the book showing peoples attempts at converting their regular coops of the day(100yrs ago), to open-air, by just tearing out a wall. You could open up a wall in your shed, have other vents for air flow in the warmer months. Then shut the other vents for the winter, except for the open wall. As long as you have sufficient depth in the coop, You would not want them to roost 2-3' from a open screened wall in the winter. That might be asking a lot.

    If you really want to do a open-air coop, I would highly recommend getting the book I mentioned above. It has plans and drawings. It goes into detail about why open-air is the best way to go. And it's really just a good all around chicken book to have.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  5. AngryRooster

    AngryRooster Out Of The Brooder

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    You could add a small window on that side of the coop which you can open and close to let light and a breeze into your coop. If not, you could simply buy a heat lamp or two to place inside your coop. I just don't recommend doing something such as putting up a wall of chicken wire instead of wood, since you won't be able to control how much light or how much of a breeze your chickens get.

    You could also keep some sort of a fan within your coop if you're really worried and decide not to put up a window on that side of the coop.
     
  6. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

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    You want as much sunlight as you can get, into the coop. They don't thrive in dark dungeon type environments. And you need to get as much fresh air exchange as you can get in a coop, little windows don't get it done. This winter I've had temps into the low single digits, not including windchill. The front of my coop is wide open. There is no insulation(Except for the PERFECT insulation the chickens already come with), and most definitely NO HEATLAMPS. My birds are having no problems at all, no frostbite, no sneezing, no colds or anything. Open-air coops are not some kind of half baked new theory that might work. They were tested and proven practically 100yrs ago.
     
  7. xianshouston

    xianshouston Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 8, 2014
    Thank you. I got the book.
     
  8. xianshouston

    xianshouston Out Of The Brooder

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    I definitely agree with the philosophy. So will this work: 8X12 (6 H) coop with a 2x3 window on 1 8ft wall and the other 8 ft wall mostly open (covered with hardware cloth). 1 12ft wall would have the chicken door to the run on it. The other 12 ft wall would be half plywood half wire with a human door - this wall is inside the 12x24 ft shed. The remaining area of the shed (12x16 would remain as storage including chicken feed and supplies. In the storage area there is another 2x3 window plus 2 vents one on either end of the shed in the loft area.

    My hope is with the large open side and the window opposite each other a nice cross breeze would form during the summer. And shutting the window during the winter would still allow airflow without creating a "breeze". The window on the other side could be opened or closed in addition. The open side would receive sun over half the day during the winter, but not quite as much direct sun during the summer as the trees will have leaves on them.

    What do you think?
     
  9. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I don't understand why everyone down south doesn't just do a wire coop. Your window coop idea sounds like something that would be good for -20F


    This is my most open coop:

    [​IMG]

    And where I am it very rarely gets above 60, and is usually in the teens in the winter. This super open house is a bit cold for chickens where I live (great for geese), but I would think it would be super for chickens where it is a bit warmer.
     

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