Shelter in Mild Climates

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by msviolaceous, May 1, 2011.

  1. msviolaceous

    msviolaceous Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 16, 2011
    I live in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The climate here is more similar to coastal North Carolina than the rest of Virginia, and I'm occasionally reminded of my childhood partially spent in South Florida, even. The past two winters were epic, worst in twenty years severe. Normally we'll get a hard frost in November and they'll stop by March, with plenty of mild days and an average low right around the freezing point throughout the winter. Every now and then enough snow will fall that it actually sticks for an hour or so.

    I have an old storage shed that we're rehabbing into a coop. It has two sections, and right now the plan is to turn the narrow one into the chicken side and leave the other side for somedaygoats. The narrow side is maybe three feet wide and eight feet deep, with siding and plywood walls and a (planned) corrugated plastic roof. It's also raised up off the ground a bit. The front is open, no door or provision for one. How necessary is a door in that kind of winter? If they can get out of the wind and roost, and it never really gets THAT cold (and if it was calling for epic winter I could move them, I have options) will they be okay through winter? If I can make do without a door, I want to attach a six foot high dog kennel fence directly to the front of the building and cover the gaps with some sturdy welded wire fencing or some such, plus more across the top to protect from hawks. I'd like them to go in and out of the coop freely, and I would have access the same way they did. Adding a door to this and not having gaps would take some engineering.

    Any thoughts? If it matters, the chicken breeds in question are Buff Orpington, Leghorn, Wyandotte, Cinnamon Queen and possibly some Silkies to come.
  2. peeplessinNC

    peeplessinNC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2008
    NC Piedmont
    I'm in North Carolina, Burlington, pretty much the center of the state. With your climate you could certainly leave the front open to the weather, but you probably will want to cover the opening with the dog kennel wire for chicken safety from any predators. And, you should probably add small (1/4 to 1/2-inch) wire a couple of feet from the bottom with an apron of wire in front of the open area to prevent rats, snakes, raccoons, etc. from getting in to your chickens. Is it possible to cut a pop door (small chicken sized door) on another side for them to go out into their run? This pop door also needs to be secure and hard for raccoons to open - they are very smart, handy creatures when trying to get a free chicken dinner. You would open the pop door every morning for your chickens to get out and secure it when they go back in to roost at night.

    This is what I have learned here. I hope others will answer your questions.
  3. GiddyMoon

    GiddyMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    Tucson, AZ
    There is a book called Open Air Poultry houses written about 100 years ago. You can find the free ebook online thru google..I really suggest it. I read it in less than an hour.
  4. msviolaceous

    msviolaceous Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 16, 2011
    Quote:I don't really understand. How is putting wire over the opening more secure than wiring it to a fully enclosed dog kennel? Seems like either wire is good enough for night or it isn't... and they need to be completely enclosed in wood at night.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If the dog run was fully enclosed, including strong wire as a roof/ceiling, then I think your chickens would do fine (I lived in Norfolk for several years, and found winter temps very mild) as long as the roosts were at the very back, so that drafts would not reach them. I think Peepless was talking about a wire door assuming that the dog run would be open at the top... as raccoons and other nocturnal predators would have NO problems climbing over a dog run for a midnight snack.
    Last edited: May 1, 2011

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