Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by buyabed1, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. buyabed1

    buyabed1 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 17, 2013
    I just got my first 4 chickens last night from a friend. They are two years old and have been free ranging..and they have even been sleeping outside and not going in their coop for months. I now have them in a 10 x 10 shed that is insulated. There are two windows (one faces north and one south). I have left the south window half open. The north window is in line with their perch so I am reluctant to open it…but not sure that it matters since it is north. My first question is: How should I handle the set up? Second: I opened the small chicken door this morning that leads to the yard. They have no interest in going out. I put two of them out and they came right back in. Granted, we live in Ohio and are getting a lot of snow today so I would have no interest in going out either. Do I encourage them more to go out since they are new to the coop or just let them go if they want? What about leaving the door open everyday even if it is cold for ventilation and to give them the option? (Their door also faces south. There is no water or snow coming in it.) Is their ever a time when I would not want to leave their door open during the day? I would appreciate any advice someone can give. Thanks!
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Your set up and ventilation sound good. I'd not open north window for reason of cold winter winds north side and like you mentioned in line with the roost.

    They only reason you'd not open your coop door is if you don't have a run set up for them. If unattended during days and no run they are more suseptible to predators, mainly dogs in day time, and could wander to neighbors yard which is rarely good for relations.

    Your girls are still getting use to the new set up and likely will be acting more chicken like in wandering, exploring, pecking at everything in sight and enjoying the outdoors by weeks end.

    Oh, and my chickens don't like snow much either. I shovel the run and put down hay when it get's icy. They seem to appreciate that.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    About the only reason to confine them, day or night, would be predator protection. I might close them in if I knew a bad blizzard was going to arrive in a few hours, but that's about it. I would let them do as they choose.

    One window half open might not be enough ventilation in many coops, but with only 4 birds in a building of that size, I imagine the air exchanges plenty well enough to keep humidity and ammonia levels little or no higher than outdoors, which is the goal. In spite of having lived outdoors, they just might appreciate a roost out of the wind. Really, that is about an ideal setup for your climate. If you want to be certain, you could install a small vent near the high point of the roof, since the humidified air is warmer, so it rises.

    These are rather classic articles here, written several years ago b a Canadian member:
  4. buyabed1

    buyabed1 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 17, 2013
    Thank you! I thought of one more question: If I leave them enough food and water and leave the south window open, can I go out of town for a few days and not worry about them if the door then remains closed? Also, I do have a fenced in run.
  5. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    If the water is going to remain liquid, they should be fine. for 2-3 days (I'd hang a couple of forage cakes - think they sell these at tractor supply - up on walls so they have something to keep them occupied). How drafty is it with the South window open? Might consider covering lower portion with clear plastic (saran wrap and duct tape - in a pinch). Let the sunlight in and prevent undue chill - just depends on temp/wind at your location.

    When you are home, and door is open, and it is gusty, hang an old rug from top of door frame and turn up one of the lower corners and clamp it up (leave an opening to come and go but knock down wind blowing through).

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by