Thoughts on insulating this particular coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JoleeTH, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. JoleeTH

    JoleeTH New Egg

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    Aug 23, 2014
    Lafayette CO
    Hi,

    I have had chickens before (successfully) but am starting from scratch and want to do this right from the get go.

    I just bought this playhouse that I plan to turn into a coop. Of course I will modify the door. Add a floor. Modify the windows. Plexiglass the windows for light etc. But in addition....
    My questions are:
    Do I need to insulate it for the Colorado winters? It's just straight up cedar slats.
    Do I keep food and water inside the coop or is outside sufficient enough?

    I am aiming on 6-8 ladies. I will build an outside run to attach to coop.

    Thanks in advance!!
    Jolee
    [​IMG]
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hello from Oregon! [​IMG] That's a cute playhouse you plan on converting...Let's take it in order of your post/questions:

    I just bought this playhouse that I plan to turn into a coop. Of course I will modify the door. Add a floor.
    That front door really doesn't need to be modified much, except for a pophole for the girls. Adding a floor would be advisable as you live in snow country like I do. I would recommend raising the entire structure up on a platform so it isn't straight on the ground.

    Modify the windows. Plexiglass the windows for light etc.
    Yes, modifications are in order on this one. But I would not put solid plexiglass in them all. Remember, even though we live in snow country ventilation and fresh air are of the utmost importance. Put a few slider windows in there. Also, be sure to put 1/2" hardware cloth over all your window openings for protection against predators.

    Do I need to insulate it for the Colorado winters? It's just straight up cedar slats.
    To insulate or not insulate, that is always the question. Quite frankly almost all breeds are hardy down to -20 and do not require insulation. Remember, these are chickens, not humans. Think about it....you've got 6-8 chickens stuffed into that small playhouse. Their bodies are producing massive amounts of heat on their own and if crowded and bunched up the humidity in there will be awful. Then you'll have to deal with disease and illness and you don't want that. You and I freeze our behinds off just going outside, but chickens...not so much! You do need to watch out for frostbite during the winter. If your birds get wet then roost all night with all that humidity going on, they risk getting frostbite on their combs. I put a dab of vaseline on my girls' combswattles and rub it in lightly. Putting insulation inside the coop runs the risk of the girls pecking at it and ingesting it...your call.

    Do I keep food and water inside the coop or is outside sufficient enough?
    Absolutely keep food and water stations inside the coop in addition to outside. There will be day(s) when your girls can't get outside at all due to bad weather. Have you thought about how you're going to keep their water from freezing?

    I am aiming on 6-8 ladies. I will build an outside run to attach to coop.
    Since you didn't say what the actual size of this coop is I will assume it to be 4' x 4' or 4' x 5' (???) This would give you 16 to 20 square feet. By the time you have added roosting bars, nest boxes, food and water stations you've cut your "floor space" down to a very small area. There is a lot of controversy on just how much 'space' each bird requires. Some say 2-3 sq.ft. (which I think is ridiculous) but I prefer to allow 6-10 sq.ft. per bird...give the poor things some room!! ( [​IMG]) LOL! Especially if you plan on having large heavy breeds such as Black Australorp (that's what I have), Buff Orpingtons, etc. You didn't say what breed of birds you're planning on, but living where you do you want a breed that is cold hardy for sure!

    Attaching your run to the coop is ideal...that's the way my setup is. Make sure it has a roof so it doesn't fill up with snow in the winter and likewise no hawks can get at them in the spring/summer months.

    Overall, if you have not purchased this playhouse yet I would seriously reconsider it. Mainly because while it looks "cute" it may not serve the true purpose, and that is having happy, healthy birds which will give you beautiful eggs. I only have 4 Black Australorp ladies and my coop alone is 5' x 8' and I can walk into it to do daily chores, gather eggs, cleanings, etc. And boy does my back thank me for THAT! My run, which is attached to the coop is 9' x 16' and overall my girls are not only spoiled but happy. Have you visited the

    Coop & Run Design, Construction & Maintenance section yet? Here's the link:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/9/coop-run-design-construction-maintenance

    Warning! Put on a HUGE pot of coffee and be prepared to spend 1-2 days in there...really!! [​IMG] You will find a ton of information, loads of PICS and ideas galore...just an idea.

    I hope I've helped you somewhat, and I wish you all the very best in your new venture...keep me updated!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  3. JoleeTH

    JoleeTH New Egg

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    Aug 23, 2014
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    How exciting to find someone who is as excited as I am! Thank you so much for your insights.

    I got the playhouse for $50 from a friend. So it's already bought. But at a great deal I thought. It also matches our house which was the main "sale" point for my husband. He doesn't want an eye-sore and I am doing this by myself as he wants nothing to do with it.
    The size of this playhouse is 72L x 58W x 72H in

    I was thinking of keeping the door as a walkway for me and cutting out a small section of a side somewhere and fitting a door for the ladies.

    I was also thinking of taking the 'bay window' and 'shutter' windows and popping those out into some nesting boxes to be made accessible from outside and also adding to the space for the girls inside.

    In the past, I used the plug in waterers to prevent freezing. So I plan on using that again. And also, I had a plug in heat light in case we got super cold at night but never had to use it. The breeds I had in the past were 2 of the australorps and 4 americaunas. I have not yet gotten into the decision part of the breeds this time as I want to get their house sorted and will buy the ladies come spring. The australorps were definitely the friendlier of the 2 breeds. And oh so pretty!!!

    I will definitely attach a run because, although I will keep my dogs far away, I have no desire to have these girls eat my thriving veggie garden, nor do I plan on handling any deaths by hawk. The last time I lost a lady, I cried for a while....but that may have been the pregnancy hormones too :)

    Thanks again!!

    Super helpful!!!
    And I will check out the section you recommended. As soon as my youngest stops hanging on me :D
     
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Central Oregon
    The size of this playhouse is 72L x 58W x 72H in
    That means you have 30 sq.ft. so I'd recommend no more than 5 birds...tops.

    I was thinking of keeping the door as a walkway for me and cutting out a small section of a side somewhere and fitting a door for the ladies.
    Yes, that sounds good, just make sure you put it on the opposite wall from where the nesting boxes are going to be.


    I was also thinking of taking the 'bay window' and 'shutter' windows and popping those out into some nesting boxes to be made accessible from outside and also adding to the space for the girls inside.
    While that's a good idea for warm climate flock owners...for you and me? Not so much. Why? Because those nest boxes will be out there "flapping in the breeze" and during the winter I know if I was a chicken I wouldn't want to plop my behind in one!! [​IMG]


    In the past, I used the plug in waterers to prevent freezing. So I plan on using that again. And also, I had a plug in heat light in case we got super cold at night but never had to use it.
    That's what I plan on using, too. I have horizontal nipple waterers installed in buckets (see my link down in my signature block below) and I just ordered some 250-watt tiny stock tank heaters rated for plastic buckets...I think they'll do the trick, too. As for the heat lamp me personally? I won't use one just in case it somehow falls and catches fire to the coop, and with my "Murphy's Law" mentality it would...........


    I will definitely attach a run because, although I will keep my dogs far away, I have no desire to have these girls eat my thriving veggie garden, nor do I plan on handling any deaths by hawk. The last time I lost a lady, I cried for a while...
    Good thinking on the attached run! I am NOT an advocate of free-ranging, never will be. I've put too much blood sweat and tears (not to mention money) into my little flock to see anything that horrible happening to them just because some flock owners say "they should be free....let them roam the fields" .... uh, not me thank you very much. My run is very large for such a small flock (9'x16') and they are happy as clams.


    Don't forget to put on a HUGE pot of coffee before venturing into that coop/run link I sent you....and put that baby down for a nap!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  5. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My sister uses a similar sized playhouse as a coop for her ducks. What she did for winter protection was to place the playhouse inside a run which is about 8'x10'x6' high. She wraps the run with clear vinyl sheets in the winter, which keeps the wind and snow out of the run / coop. It also acts as a green house in the sun, and temps can be 20 degrees above air outside air temps on a sunny winter day. I do the same for my chicken / duck coop, and I find my waters hardly ever freeze anymore. I found vinyl shower curtains work well for wrapping the coop. I found a place that sells them for $5 for a 6'x6' curtain, and they are a heavy, clear vinyl. I use 8 of them to wrap my run, and they last 2 winters or so. If you buy the cheap clear plastic ones, they last about a week. Been there, done that!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC!
     
  7. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    When you've got a lot of square footage to wrap (like I do) I just go to Walmart and buy 100-foot rolls of 6-mil (very heavy) clear plastic...comes in 3-foot widths and I think 6-foot and 10-foot, too. And inexpensive to boot!
     
  8. JoleeTH

    JoleeTH New Egg

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    Aug 23, 2014
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    whoa, didn't see this response! Sorry for ignoring you!
     
  9. JoleeTH

    JoleeTH New Egg

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    Aug 23, 2014
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    And you as well! whoa, didn't see this response! Sorry for ignoring you!
     
  10. JoleeTH

    JoleeTH New Egg

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    Aug 23, 2014
    Lafayette CO
    Ok. I am putting this thing back together and second guessing the using it as a coop thing. The cedar pieces have a little bit of gap in some spots. Just design not me putting it together badly. You can see the light shining through.
    Is this a major no no?

    On a different note. A friend has a coop with chickens and it looks majorly flimsy but works really well for her. She also doesn't have a door on it. Even during winter. It's just that table cloth fabric that is cloth on the one side and slick on the other. She has that stapled to the roof in different layers and the girls just walk right through that. She said she has never had any problems during winter or anything.
    I would think it a bad idea but it sure handles the 'being able to go away' aspect that becomes hard to do with chickens.

    Thanks for the input
     

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