What is considered cold climate?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BYOChickens, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. BYOChickens

    BYOChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 23, 2010
    So as I go over many coop plans I am wondering how to incorporate venting of the coop. I see some folks who just cut holes on coop walls and and add screening. Others have windows with screens and others have hinged doors to open and close. We are out west and weather is four seasons. Winters may get in low 30's for short periods and summers may get to 100' at height of summer. Can you just cut holes on coops side and screen it without a hinged door to cover up the screen in coldest weather? I'm not sure if CA. climate needs airtight walls in winter? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    As far as I can tell from reading BYC, pretty much everyone who lives in a non-banana-growing climate thinks their climate is cold LOL

    If you get down to, or close to, the freezing point on your coldest nights, I would suggest making sure that your chickens have somewhere well out of the wind to roost. What this requires in terms of construction depends on your individual setup, whether your yard is windy, how predictable the winter wind direction is, etc.

    MOST of the year what you will want is a basically-all-screen coop, with maybe something solid on the prevailing wind side, and as large an area of shade as you can possibly manage. (when I say screen of course i do not mean windowscreen, I mean hardwarecloth or 1x1 mesh or something like that)

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Those chickens wear down coats year round. I'd be more worried about the summer highs than the winter lows in your climate.

    Assuming your low 30's is a nighttime low, I don't think you have a whole lot to worry about in the winters. The two things I would look for is that they have a place to roost out of the breeze and that the coop does not get wet when it rains. Those wet coops can be a mess any time of year. There are different ways to achieve this. Like Pat said, local conditions are different for all of us. A simple way is a building with three or four solid walls up as high as their backs when roosting, with openings under a good overhang covered with hardware cloth or something similar for predators.

    For summer, you can have openings covered with hardware cloth to open if you think it needs it for more ventilation. Those hinged coverings or maybe windows you can open. Hot air rises, so as long as you have vents up over their heads and a way for air to enter lower down, they should cool off enough at night.

    As far as air tight walls, probably not required in your climate, but consider rain blowing in.
  4. roxannet

    roxannet New Egg

    Nov 17, 2010
    My 5 chickens are living in an insulated non-heated 4x3 coop. I simply shut the door at night and have a small open vent that enables the humidity to escape. We hit -13F last night, not counting the wind chill factor. This morning, all chickens went outside to eat and drink water... and then came back inside! They are doing just fine.

    As mentioned earlier, ventilation is the key! Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  5. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    To me, a cold climate is one where you will annually worry about and experience frostbite on single combs, especially of roosters.

    I for one do not live in a cold climate, however I consider mine cool. It almost never exceeds 80 degrees in the summer, has an average of 50 degrees throughout the year, and though it doesn't snow much, we have a LOT of rain and very little sun.

    I don't think CA climate is cold at all unless you're in the mountains. . . [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  6. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    30 degrees?

    We have THOSE temps in JUNE! That's sweatshirt weather! [​IMG]

    We can get down to -30 and 30 is 60 degrees above that!

    Making a sturdy, draft free coop with ventilation up high would be plenty for your chickens.
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Where I live we regularly get 100 degree weather in the summer (and that's in the shade). People here who build the typical closed coop and make the mistake of putting it where it gets sun end up with roasting chickens rather than roosting chickens.

    If you get 100 degree weather more than once in a while, do consider putting your coop in the shadiest part of your yard and design ventilation that can open up for the summer down at roost level so your birds can catch any cooler breeze. And try to pick heat tolerant breeds of chickens, if you can. Our poultry mentor notes that his standard size chickens suffer in heat that his bantams don't mind one bit.
  8. BYOChickens

    BYOChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 23, 2010
    Thanks for the help...I thought my climate here might be mild in comparison. Can my run contain any types of plants or shrubs for shade? I made another post re: poisonous landscape plants and the chickens pecking on them. Especially free range or chickens feeding in the yard will certainly be exposed to some plants that can be harmful. Do I need to worry about any types of plants in or near the run? Will this transfer to eggs if they are eating them???
  9. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    It will be hard to get plants to grow in the run. Chickens will keep it mowed down.
  10. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:My chicken mentor is also a landscape architect and has been keeping chickens for some twenty years. What he told me is that there's very little risk to free ranging chickens from poisonous plants because they tend to not like to eat those plants. They might take a few bites and move on, which ordinarily would not cause them to ingest enough toxin to make them ill.

    It's different if they're confined to a run, since after a while there's nothing else green to move on to. Chickens confined to a run will eat anything green that they can reach down to its roots, so any plant in the run needs to be big enough so the chickens can't reach all of its foliage. My chicken friend has some large shrubs in his yard that his chickens have neatly pruned from the underneath...right to the level that standard size chickens can reach by jumping up. It would be best, I think, to put shade trees or vines on the outside of the run where they'll get some relief from chicken pruning. I use shade tarps, too, and my third and final coop and run were sited in the back of our yard that gets deep shade from trees in the summer.

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