Warre (beehive) type attic/roof for a chicken coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JoshfromMN, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. JoshfromMN

    JoshfromMN Hatching

    2
    3
    4
    Apr 1, 2018
    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking at getting my first chickens and building a coop right now and had an idea regarding the construction of the roof that I might steal from a dead french beekeeper. In a beehive during winter you want to have adequate ventilation to allow moisture to escape while at the same time allowing the bees to stay warm - just like chickens. The bees vibrate their wing muscles to maintain a cluster temperature of 50-95 degrees no matter what it is outside. Their respiration builds up moisture which can kill them if it builds up. It seems like the same principle applies to chickens in the winter, so I'm thinking of copying the warre hive's attic design.

    For those not familiar with it, the warre hive has just a cloth covering over the top hive body with something insulating yet breathable covering the top. This could be wood shavings, sawdust, etc. The roof fits over this with an attic area with ventilation on the sides so air circulates through the attic carrying the moisture away without blowing into the living area. In relation to a chicken coop, I'm thinking leaving the top of the coop living area open, covering with an old sheet or something similar, then adding a layer of sawdust or wood shavings over the sheet with a well ventilated attic and roof above that.

    I thought it would be best to throw the idea out there to you all before I start construction. I don't see any chicken coops with this design so there could be something I'm overlooking. This is the northern midwest where it gets very cold in the winter and I haven't done this before. Planning on getting some icelandic chickens which do well in winter but are still susceptible to frostbite.

    Thanks for any opinions
     
    WhiteWyan likes this.
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    two thoughts..

    1. that would be NO WHERE near enough ventilation. Have you looked at the design of the Woods Coop? It is an excellent design for cold weather.

    2. Not sure why people get excited about the Icelandics when they are looking for a cold weather breed. Iceland is actually a pretty warm place compared to some and anyway I bet people kept those chickens inside a huge barn all winter. Icelandics have all kinds of combs of course, but many are pretty big! I prefer tiny combs!

    Easter Eggers and Ameraucana are excellent choices. I also really like my Appenzeller Spitzhauben, Dominique, and rose comb Leghorns (though the boys do have big wattles).
     
    jthornton likes this.
  3. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

    1,947
    3,339
    327
    Nov 12, 2017
    Western Ohio
    Common thought on chicken ventilation is approx 1 sq ft per bird. So, if you modified a shed kit, you’d be modifying the walls for more ventilation, while making sure to keep drafts away from roosts.

    The Woods style coop was designed about 100+ years ago for cold winter places like Maine, upper Midwest, etc. there is a book written around 1920 all about this style - it has been reprinted, so you can purchase it. However, there are several discussions on here about them too. It is an open air concept where coop is longer than wide, with 2roof heights. Roosts at back in an airtight area, but front is open year round (usually facing S or SE). A human sized door and a couple of windows specifically placed round out this coop style.

    Other styles, like hoop coops, have been successfully modified to cold temps too.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    59,284
    47,179
    1,327
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
    Cloth covered vents can be helpful to dampen strong drafts in very windy sites,
    but caution should be taken not to reduce air flow too much.
    Yeah, chickens need way more ventilation than bees,
    but I understand your thought process.
     
  5. lcwmt

    lcwmt Songster

    367
    824
    204
    Jun 16, 2017
    N Central MT
     
  6. JoshfromMN

    JoshfromMN Hatching

    2
    3
    4
    Apr 1, 2018
    After looking into the philosophy of the woods coop, I see I might be making things more complicated than they need to be. Thanks for the input everyone, I won't be trying to smother my chickens now. As to why I'm picking icelandic chickens, I just find them interesting and would like to let them free range and forage when possible. I also have a family connection to someone that breeds them (which attracted me to chickens to begin with).
     
    lcwmt and Acre4Me like this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    59,284
    47,179
    1,327
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    :lol:
    I hope my assumption that this was tongue in cheek levity is correct,
    cause it cracked me up!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: