Questions about building our first coop in the NE

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by xpchick, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. xpchick

    xpchick Out Of The Brooder

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    This is our barn. We are turning over 1/4 of the lower barn into a chicken coop. It has a concrete floor. We are in NY and I want to be sure it has proper ventilation and insulation for the winter. Here are my current thoughts/questions:
    -Do we need to put insulation into the walls/ceiling or because it will be so out of the weather and fully enclosed that it will be enough? DH is planning to insulate the ceiling when he encloses the rafters over the chicken area.
    -If we put a dog door type opening in one of the doors (you can see one in this photo) with a hardware cloth enclosed area for them outside, do we need to lock them in the coop at night? Why do people lock them up at night?

    I know I'll have more questions as we plan this :) Thank you!
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    It's great to have a structure to start your project! Chickens need lots of ventilation, so more will need to be added besides the hardware cloth covered door opening. Insulating the roof helps with summer heat, and remember that the birds will eat anything not covered, and mice will nest in it if possible too. Big windows/ doors on the open side to the right in the photo will be good. The reason to lock birds in the coop is because many runs aren't predator proof. If yours is really safe, it's not necessary. Mary
     
  3. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I definitely agree with what Folly's Place said, ventilation is key. Looking back on my first chicken experience, its one of the things i wish somebody had talked to me about before i started out. Not only will ventilation be good in the summer for releasing hot air, it also releases moisture in the winter that prevents frostbite on chicken combs. Here is a good article on ventilation : https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop . Another thing, bedding is very important to the quality of the coop. You must be sure never to use straw or hay, because they are not very absorbent and can harbor mites. I use pine shavings, but i have also heard some success stories with sand being a good coop bedding! (You might want to look into the sand though as i have never tried it myself to be sure.)
     
  4. Framac

    Framac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know where in NY you are, but I am in the Albany,Syracuse,Binghamton triangle and it gets cold in the winter. Insulation is not a must. I advise against it actually. Chickens attract rodents, and they love nothing more then to nest in insulation!! I have a 16 X 12 board and bat coop that is relatively draft free and have not lost a chicken the last two winters. I would put HW cloth over the rafters to make it predator proof, but it will aid in ventilation.

    Chickens will naturally go into the coop at night. As already stated, unless the run is predator proof, lock them in at night. Racoon, Possum and other critters will go into the run to get into the coop.
     
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  5. xpchick

    xpchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! All good things to think about. The ceilings are 8 foot currently. I think I want to do sand in the coop floor, and a 'poop board' under their roost area with linoleum on it for easier clean up. Under the gutters is all open so we'd need to either seal it up or put HW cloth on it to keep predators out. We are planning to add a window into the side that is inside the barn. We can put one in on the outside wall of the barn too for more ventilation. Those white pieces are a paneling type material that let light in.

    We are in the Rochester/Syracuse area, so similar weather to you, Framac. Maybe we won't insulate, but just put a roof on the coop on the inside of the barn so they can hold heat in better in the winter.

    Thanks for all of the ideas! Giving me lots of great things to think about.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Sand in the coop needs daily cleanup, and will get hard in freezing weather. LABOR INTENSIVE! Deep litter gives the birds stuff to scratch in, requires occasional additions of more shavings, and cleanout to the garden maybe twice each year. Poop boards are also daily cleanup, ugh! Easy is always better, IMO. Don't add another ceiling, enjoy the space you have. Some of my birds roost in the rafters, eight feet up! Think ventilation, so lots of hardware cloth and openings rather than closing things. Mary
     
  7. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Be careful when you are designing "to hold in the heat". When you do this, you also hold in all the moisture the chickens create. This is what causes frost bite. Cold dry air will not harm chickens, they have a natural down coat.
     
  8. xpchick

    xpchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! Do you have any articles you recommend about deep litter? I don't mind going this route as long as it doesn't smell.

    Thanks enola about not holding moisture in. I have to keep looking at how much ventilation is needed to get this right. Since we are building the coop inside a barn, I really want to try to get this right the first time for ventilation, security, ease of cleaning, etc.
     
  9. Framac

    Framac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a simple rule to ventilation. If you are Draft free, or relatively draft free you can never have to much ventilation. My coop with birds, lights during the day and heated water will be 4-5 degrees above outside temperature in the winter at night. Birds are fine in the cold I get here.
     
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Look at all the livestock barns in your area. Take note of ventilation. Take note on if they close it up or not. Look at a dairy barn and it's forced air fans. Do they run in winter? Is all that upper open air space needed with livestock? Yes. In the north the forced air fans are only run in summer but all that open space is still open in winter. Look around and take note of how those for generations have kept livestock in your area. Chickens no matter how much folks call them pets are livestock in an outbuilding that need proper venting to provide a dry area.

    What's to note for difference is they don't need to go back to a hot barn to milk mid day. Only a coop to lay an egg and leave. Forced fans unless specific design for are not needed in poultry. Well, if you lock em in coop summer then yes it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016

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