Questions about an existing coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BFVSFOREVER, Mar 10, 2015.


    BFVSFOREVER Hatching

    Mar 9, 2015
    Rhode Island
    Hello, I have never raised chickens but my wife has in the past. I live in Rhode Island on a 21 acre piece of land that has an old chicken coop, the run portion is wrecked but the coop looks to be in good shape. I just got a closer look at it this morning and it is of open air design, probably not suitable for youngsters just out of the brooder. It has two wooden nesting boxes and is approximately 8 feet long and 4 feet wide with a full length roof, the floor is hardware cloth as is all of the walls and it is elevated on a steel structure approximately 12 inches above the ground. I question this construction as there will be no way to keep the chickens dry in a wind driven rain or warm in the winter. Looks like it is time to build a better structure. The run is completely ruined from things the previous owner had leaning against it, old carriage wheels and metal parts from old carriages. I'm wondering if I wrap it in plastic with vents cut in if it might suffice until warmer weather and I can get another coop built, if not then I'll probably have to wait another year.

  2. FrankA

    FrankA In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2015
    Long Island NY
    Personally, I would probably wait but I suppose if you were able to wrap it enough to keep out drafts while leaving some ventilation and access it could work. I wouldn't keep any chicks in there without heat though. It looks like there are some salvageable parts to it.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I was wondering if that was a breeding pen for one rooster and one or two hens during the better weather months instead of a year around coop. No way to know for sure.

    Don’t worry about wind-driven rain in warmer weather. Adult chickens can handle it. Also in winter, you don’t need to keep the place the chickens are warm. Just like the wild birds at your feeder, chickens can do a pretty good job of keeping themselves warm. The insulation provided by their feathers takes care of that. But wild birds can go find a hiding place out of the wind when the wind gets too strong. A strong wind can ruffle those feathers and let the tiny trapped bits of air out, which is really providing the insulation. In that coop they could have trouble getting out of the wind.

    My grow-out coop isn’t dramatically different from that as far as function but does have some solid sides. In winter I use plastic to block mine off from ground level up about 18” or so above the bottom of the coop floor to keep them out of the wind, but it has good ventilation up high. I’ve had 5 week olds go through lows of the mid 40’s and some go through nights with lows in the mid 20’s before they were a full six weeks old. No problems.

    My 3’ x 6’ brooder is in the coop. Chicks go in there straight from the incubator. I keep one end toasty but let the far end cool off as it will. There have been times there was ice on that far end. It really does cool down. Baby chicks don’t go to that far end when it is that cold or they wait until they are older, but they do play in some pretty cool temperatures. That acclimates them to cold weather and helps them feather out faster.

    With good ventilation, good draft protection, and being acclimated, mine can handle it. Yours are probably going to be raised in a tropical environment inside your house. They might have a little more trouble making the adjustment. What age you could move them out will not only depend on the temperatures when you do that but also how well they are acclimated. Maybe put your brooder in an outbuilding or a garage where you can keep them warm enough on one end of the brooder but let the rest cool off so they get used to the cold?

    I think I’s workable but it will take some effort. Good luck!

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