The Perfect Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jmcinnes34, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. jmcinnes34

    jmcinnes34 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 13, 2008
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    I am looking to build a new coop for around 50 chickens and don't even know where to start. I live in a cold climate where it gets down to -50C. How big would I want it? I would like ideas for what I should do for heat, ventilation, flooring, nests, roosts, bedding, lighting, anything that makes life in the coop for them and me a little easier would be appreciated. Anything else I haven't thought of either. A watering system that would be heated and automatic. The best insulation for the job and the best materials for building. Hope you can help.
     
  2. Cocky

    Cocky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in SC, so I won't be much help....but I would suggest getting cold weather hardy breeds like buckeyes.
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I would suggest at the very least to allow 10 sq ft per bird interior space since, at those temps, they may be inside for long periods of time, so you're talking 500 sq ft of coop area. Other than that, you are in a completely different situation than I am here in N. Ga. so I think I'll leave other suggestions to the people who live in the cold climates.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    People in really cold climates, and there are at least four or five on BYC who keep chickens in areas as cold as yours, seem to fall into one of two camps -- either make the coop as small as tolerable so the chickens' body heat (and possibly supplemental lamps) will keep it warm enough, and just put up with a certain degree of crowding-induced cannibalism, or have a larger coop so they're less stressed but with a confined roost area, like with an insulated 'hover' type thing over it, to help them warm themselves better at night, and keep breeds less prone to frostbit combs.

    If you search the forum for 'cold weather' or 'extreme cold' or something like that, you should be able to find good discussions of this, as well as find those people in comparable climates who you could maybe PM with more specific questions.

    Also, you could see what people around you do. If you don't know other chicken keepers ask at the feed store. I mean, obviously take what people say with a grain of salt, but it would still be useful information.

    Good luck,

    Pat, in central Ontario, where the coldest we've had was about -31 C, and the chickens are in a nice insulated building that's still not gotten below -5 C this winter so I have no personal advice to offer
     
  5. jmcinnes34

    jmcinnes34 Out Of The Brooder

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    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Our coop now is insulated and heated but only with heat lamps and we don't let it get below freezing. But we also have a problem because we can't let the chickens outside in -20 to clean the coop so we have problems with amonnia if we let it get to hot and we don't have proper ventialtion. If its warm enough out we open the door to let fresh air in but we can only keep it around 5-8C or it gets amonnia in the air. We would also like an exhaust fan for coops so we can air it out easier while losing minimal heat. Ours is a wooden floor and it is so moist it is gettin rotted out. My fiance put his fot through the floor yesterday and we are tired of repairing and would like to start fresh. Also, I sell my eggs at the local feed shop and they can't tell me much either because their isn't many chicken raisers in these parts.If anyone knows of a good website for buying products for coops that would be nice too.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Have you thought about just ventilating more and heating less? As long as you can keep the air fairly dry, then below freezing is not a problem. You could just try it and see what happens (with passive ventilation, not necessarily installing a fan at this point). Maybe goober on some vaseline on their combs beforehand if you're worried and want a little extra margin for error if you don't like the results.

    Also, have you already got a droppings board under the roosts that you can clean off each morning and remove that poo - if you do that, it'll remove a good fraction of the poo, moisture and potential ammonia right there.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  7. crysmom

    crysmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    www.berryhilllimited.com has poultry and homestead supplies they are in canada

    I have ordered from strombergs and had it delivered to me in canada with good experience

    I think that you need the coop to be proper sized (4 sq foot a bird) and you need an enclosed run. If the coop is smallish, but not too tight, they will conserve body heat and won't need as much supplemental heat. but they will still have room to run in an enclosed covered run.

    My grandma had bantam birds when she lived in Saskatchewan she kept them in a 20x20 foot coop lined with haybales for the winter, and had 1 100 watt light over the waterer. (there were 25 birds) she never lost any, actually they thought it was balmy enough to hatch out chicks. but she did bring the chicks and mama hen inside the house.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    yes, I've ordered stuff from Berry Hill and been perfectly well satisfied.

    I dunno what sort of coop supplies you are looking for? You probably know about www.rochesterhatchery.com, which is the other place that comes to mind? (they have supplies too, not just chicks)

    (edited to add:
    I think that you need the coop to be proper sized (4 sq foot a bird) and you need an enclosed run. If the coop is smallish, but not too tight, they will conserve body heat and won't need as much supplemental heat. but they will still have room to run in an enclosed covered run.

    this is smart advice​

    [​IMG])

    Pat​
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2008
  9. jmcinnes34

    jmcinnes34 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 13, 2008
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    I have heard of droppings boards but I'm not quite sure what they are. What are they made of?
     
  10. crysmom

    crysmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In another thread pat had suggested I put in 1 square foot of ventilation per bird, I put the ventilation in under the eaves, its 8 inches wide and 8 feet long on each side the length of my coop, this eliminated the condensation pooring down the inside of my walls and freezing. my floors were constantly wet before I put in the ventilation. Maybe a real increase in ventilation will make a difference for you too? also there isn't any more amonia smell in the coop either. and now that my run is kind of covered the chickens go outside a little bit.
     

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