Questions about finishing touches on coop and run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicken-owner-31, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. chicken-owner-31

    chicken-owner-31 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm adding the finishing touches to my coop and run before my brooder babies will (FINALLY [​IMG] ) be going outside.

    I want to add some "playground" type roosts for the teenagers in the run. I know the silkies probably won't use them, but I'm hoping the Cochins will! Anyway, what is a good height and width to make these? I have gobs of natural branches in all diameters I can use, would those be ok? If not, I have tons of scrap wood to use as well.

    Also, I need to make a ramp to thier coop since I have set it up higher than the ramp it came with is made for. What is a good width and type of material to use? I have a fairly long 2x6, but was wondering if a 1x6 (if they even make them) would be better? Just worried that the 2x6 might be too heavy and would squash one if it were to fall! Ooooo, and I just had a thought here too.....will the silkies be inclined (no pun intended) to actually go up the ramp into the coop? It sits about a foot and a half off the ground. I can always make a space for them under it....

    Lastly, and I know this is probably a shot in the dark, but I am a tad worried about the cold. The coop is very enclosed and will be very well insulated and protected from the wind/rain, but I want to do something else for the lowest nightly temps. It isn't really feasible to run electricity to it, even an extention cord. (Biggest issue is hubby.....he refuses to let me due to fire hazard.) Do they make any kind of large heating pad that is non-electric and can be reused? [​IMG] Prolly not, but I figured I'd ask!

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    First, it sounds like you have not provided any ventilation, which is very unhealthy for them. Chickens and their poop give off a lot of humidity and ammonia, and these need to have a way out, high up in the coop. This needs to be done so that it does not result in a draft on the birds.

    Second, chickens in Alabama most certainly do not need heat. Many chickens in Canada do not have heat and do just fine. They come with their own down coat and are quite comfortable in below freezing, and lower, temps. Also in the rain.

    There are tons of pics of ramps in the coop section; it doesn't matter a lot how you make it. For roosts, best to use something about 3" wide as chickens' toes don't really curl around a narrow pole as many birds' do.

    Please read here about ventilation your coop:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    I'd suggest you browse the coop section, and perhaps do a search on hot weather coops. Your chickens will be much more uncomfortable in Alabama summers than winters. My coop has hardware cloth (wire, open air) instead of solid walls in large areas, and the area between the roof and the top of the walls is completely open air. I cover the upwind side in winter with plastic to stop the wind blowing on the roosts, but otherwise it is open air all year.
     
  3. chicken-owner-31

    chicken-owner-31 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 7, 2007
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    Thanks, I will go look at the pics and try to figure the ramp out. [​IMG]

    I guess I should have explained the coop better, it does have ventilation in the top on both sides.....but it is located in the run (a dog kennel) and the entire back half of the run is covered with plywood and tarps on the top and 3 sides. That's what I meant by well insulated. Rain and wind shouldn't be able to even touch the coop outsides.

    I know that the chickies will be ok in my climate, because my 9 big ones are just fine outside. But I worry mainly because these babies have brooded inside the house, and there is no place to transition them to the coop as I have no garage. The temps have been fine the past couple of days during the day, but it is supposed to get below freezing at night. That's why I am worried. They are not acclimated to it.

    They still have one more week before they are 8 weeks old, that should give me enough time to get finished I hope! [​IMG]
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
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    Ah, I understand much better now. You kinda had me worried.

    Can you take them outside for a while in the day or evening to get them a bit used to the cooler temps? Even if you can't, I imagine they'll be fine. With luck, it will be a warmer night, maybe 50, instead of these really cold nights we've been getting. Maybe even leave them in the run during the day, on a decent day?
     
  5. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As for the ramp, type doesn't matter much. But no you don't want them knocking it down on another chicken. I drill a couple holes in the uphill end of the board and run a couple long (3 1/2 in) wood screws into the sill of the pop door. If you need to clean the ramp or move things around it only takes a second to unscrew with a cordless driver.
     

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