Wanting to build 4x8 open-air coop, looking for guidance

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kutschka, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. Kutschka

    Kutschka In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2014
    Hello, all.

    I've read both Woods books (https://archive.org/stream/openairpoultryho00wood#page/n0/mode/2up and the reprint of his 1924 book, retitled Fresh-Air Poultry Houses) and all of JackE's 44-page (!!) thread, and most other BYC threads on open-air coops as well. In the forum, I see occasional mention that the Woods design doesn't translate well to smaller structures, though I don't remember Woods addressing that directly. On pages 131-132 of the 1924 reprint, he describes a 6x10 coop, but doesn't mention any drawbacks or insufficiencies. Otherwise, he's always talking about larger structures.

    I haven't seen suggestions or guidance about how to design a 4x8 coop while honoring the open-air principles.

    I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible. I'm whistling in the dark when it comes to scaled-down ventilation. I note that Woods endorses designs besides his own (and so do lots of other people) (from which I conclude that the half-monitor design isn't necessarily necessary, as it were).

    Starting with Tractor Supply's http://www.tractorsupply.com/know-h...ken-crossed-the-road-chicken-coop-design.html, I've come up with the following. (I want that coop's handles, legs, and wheels, but I didn't include them in the drawings.) I understand that with a proper, large Woods design, wind direction isn't critical, but since I'm not sure how well the smaller version would protect from wind, and since wind in my area tends to come from W, SW, and S, I'm thinking of facing the short/open end east. I like the idea of having the sun reach in to get them laying, so by the time I get out there to let them out, maybe they'll have done their production business indoors.


    I just include the 48" measurements to remind myself that I'd like to keep to this shape for the sake of one sheet of plywood covering each side.

    I have the window already (HfH Restore find). I thought that placing it next to the roosts might be nice for the birds on particularly cold winter days; they can huddle on the roosts and still maybe get some sun. I haven't had chickens yet, though, and maybe they don't spend time on the roosts during the day, no matter how cold. ?? Anyway, I'm open to suggestions on that as well as everything else.

    Also, I'm thinking of having an openable board running along the top of the west wall to open in summer. Again, I understand that on a proper large open-air coop this wouldn't be necessary or desirable, but I'm guessing that, lacking the half-monitor's height and fluid dynamics, there would need to be some relief there from summer heat. The coop would be almost entirely in shade in summer, but still -- it gets quite humid around here, and sometimes quite hot. Otherwise, the west end would be closed. The east end would have a board running along the bottom high enough to keep in a layer of sand and whatever deep litter I don't keep raked back from the opening, and a board along the top wide enough to shorten the mesh panel, so it clears the eave when I swing it open (for general cleaning/access).

    That's a pop door on the south, and those are nesting boxes on the north.

    So I think there are some of you out there who understand ventilation patterns much better than I do. I've seen diagrams for larger structures, but none for smaller structures. Suggestions? Warnings?!

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015

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