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Pre-build questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BrushyHillGuide, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. BrushyHillGuide

    BrushyHillGuide In the Brooder

    Oct 17, 2015
    I'm about to build a permanent coop on our south Texas ranch; but, being pretty new to raising chickens, I'm trying to determine what features my coop needs, given the area/climate we live in. I wanted to ask some advice from y'all.

    For those that aren't familiar with our climate, here's a quick picture. Most of the year it's very warm to downright blistering hot. It's not uncommon to go 90+ days over 100 degrees, in the summer. We do not get snow but we occasionally will get into the teens and get ice storms. Generally, our coldest months average about 34 degrees for a low and the low 50's for a high. Notwithstanding the freakish rains we've had this year, we're a pretty dry area. We average only about 22" per year but we've been in a "drought" for 8 of the past 10 years.

    I had planned to build a fully enclosed shed 8' x 10' and 8' tall, with some ventilation; but, after reading through here, I'm realizing that ventilation is KEY. So, now, I'm thinking about a solid wall on the north side and a partially solid wall on the west - our west sun is brutal in summer and I want them to have shade. But I'm thinking a ventilation section (covered in wire mesh for ventilation) would be good. Should I just make the east and south sides mesh as well? Our predominant breeze comes from the south and east.

    I guess chickens are a lot more cold resistant than we had thought. In our climate, cold (for them) isn't really a problem - is that right?

    We let our birds free range during the day, so this is just a coop for sleeping and laying. Ideally, we'd like to have 10-15 birds. We MAY add a run later, for those days when we don't want them running loose.

    We will have power and water to the coop. So, we could always put a heat lamp or fan if necessary and we're going to install a permanent watering system. I'm planning a PVC feeding system so that we only need to feed every week or two. And, if I can find the money, I may install one of those automatic doors- at some point. Lol.

    Am I thinking about this right? What suggestions do y'all have? Any advice you can give will sure be appreciated. Sorry for the long read.

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Kudos on researching first and info given is great, not too long.

    Mostly mesh walls with option of covering against winter winds....but mesh should be predator proof.
    Might want to insulate the solid west wall against heat gain.

    As long as they are dry and out of the direct wind, cold is not an issue.

    The 'only for sleeping and laying' can get you if you have a weather or predator event where they need to remain confined for day so weeks on end...a run is always good to have.
  3. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Songster

    Dec 11, 2011
    Breeze is fine but cold wind is not. Maybe you need a flap that comes down for cold windy times? Birds are much more resilient than we tink. I have a greenhouse with open ends, fans, and roll up bottoms for teh summer.

    Here is a link to the blog post I put up after gathering tips for building a coop 4 years ago. Tons of wonderful suggestions from so may experienced people!
  4. BrushyHillGuide

    BrushyHillGuide In the Brooder

    Oct 17, 2015
    Thanks for the suggestions, info and support. That definitely gives me some stuff to think about as I get started. I'm going to get started next week (we have rain coming in a couple of days) and I'm going to do a little sketching between now and then. But, I think I'm going to refine my ideas on the fly - I'm pretty crafty at building that way.

    I'll definitely incorporate some sort of attached run. I can see the advantage of having one, per aart's suggestion. Also, I'll work on a way to close up the floor level ventilation and I'm going to put some ventilation near the top, to allow heat to escape in summer but I'll make sure to keep it above their heads when they roost.

    If I get a chance to make some sketches/plans that I can post, I'll post them for review. If not, I'll post some in-progress build photos.

    Thanks again, y'all!!!

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