Southwest Florida (hot!) coop design questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Cherstin, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Cherstin

    Cherstin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2009
    North Port, FL
    Hello, forum! I've got three bantam eggs in the incubator on day three, so I've got some time when considering "what to build," but I'm looking for ideas for a tropical/subtropical climate. (I'm in southwest Florida.)

    The materials I have to work with are:

    An 8'x10' DOORLESS metal Arrow shed,

    A 10'x10' chainlink dog kennel,

    probably 10 or 12 eight-foot 2"x4",

    and a few scraps of 4'x8' plywood paneling.

    My main concern and focus are nighttime temperatures, either being too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. I'm having a hard time figuring what my "optimum" (I use that loosely) nighttime temperatures should be. My idea now is to butt the shed and the dog kennel up against one another, then use the 2x4s to build some sort of platform so I can cover the open chainlink kennel with a plywood roof. Our nighttime temps during the summer don't usually get lower than 75 degrees, so keeping the hot, daytime air from becoming stagnant is a concern during the summer. When it does "winter" down here, we can get cold snaps as low as 30 degrees.

    Do you all "insulate" differently according to outdoor temperatures? Do you use hardware cloth or another fencing material for your "windows" during the summer, then board them up or close them off in the winter? Is lighting an issue, or do many of you use a heat bulb outdoors if you get a cold spell?

    Thanks for any information. I'm sure coop-building is trial and error just like everything else when it comes to keeping chickens, but considering I might be cutting into the metal shed, I'd really like to "measure twice, cut once" as I won't really be able to patch a mistake as easily.

    Thank you!
  2. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    This is mine. Sort of an open air pen. We went down to 17 here this past winter and all I did was put plastic on all sides except the front. They can do cold much better than heat. For heat protection you need shade and open sides to let air flow through. I have vines over mine during the summer and I had no heat issues this year. Didn't even have to use fans. The back walls are solid wood and the tops are covered. One note: build bigger than you need because this stuff is keep adding chickens. I started with the section on the right and then added the extension on the left.
  3. Cherstin

    Cherstin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2009
    North Port, FL
    Yes! This is exactly like what I was envisioning ... and you worded it perfectly, an "open-air pen." I obviously have not had enough coffee this morning. [​IMG]

    This is very close to my original idea, and I was thinking of making walls or windows in such a way that they can be removed during the summer and stored behind the shed, and bolted on for the winter. I'm just trying to figure out how they do in relation to the nighttime air. Dampness and humidity seems to be an issue here, but when I had a small flock a few years ago, I know that if I didn't get out there to coop them up by 7pm (I was using a child's playhouse as a coop which I've since gotten rid of), they had no problem sleeping up in the trees for the night!

    Maybe it's the chicken OWNERS that have the problems with the details. Chickens don't care: they'll sleep anywhere!

    Thanks for the ideas of the vines and trees. This works well keeping my house cool as well. I'll make sure they are "chicken-friendly," whatever I decide to use. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011

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