Windows, roosts, venting, & insulation for coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by flockof5, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. flockof5

    flockof5 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    0
    32
    Apr 3, 2008
    Hi, newbie here. I know we need window(s) in our coop. Does it need to be a real window? Or can DH cut a square, and cover it with heavy duty plastic? (His idea). How would he let air in? Do you put a screen on it?

    Also, can I see some roost pics? Does a roost need to be round? How high should it be? Our chicks are a few weeks old and have all their feathers.

    And finally, venting...what do you do to vent? Do you cover the venting with something that allows air in, but nothing else? How big should it be?

    And lastly, I live where it gets really hot in summer (high 90's), and can get a bit below freezing in winter. Do I need insulation? What do you cover the insulation with?

    Thanks!

    ETA: I forgot....can I cover the plywood floor with contact paper, that overlaps? To make clean up easier? Will that work?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Does it need to be a real window? Or can DH cut a square, and cover it with heavy duty plastic? (His idea). How would he let air in? Do you put a screen on it?

    You need light, but (as you discuss later in your post) you also really need good ventilation. May as well get maximum bang for your buck, and while you're cutting holes in your walls make them serve both purposes [​IMG]

    Simplest thing is: cut hole, securely affix 1/2" hardware-cloth over it to keep predators out, then make a window panel that can hinge or slide over it, using a piece of clear plstic in a wooden frame.

    Does a roost need to be round? How high should it be? Our chicks are a few weeks old and have all their feathers.

    Actually it *shouldn't* be round - best to use a 2x2 or 2x4, flat side up. Once they're adults, any height is ok as long as they can get up there (roost should be higher than nestboxes or they will roost in nestboxes and you'll have pooey eggs). However with them young still, you may want to knock together a 'practice roost' for them, lower.

    And finally, venting...what do you do to vent? Do you cover the venting with something that allows air in, but nothing else? How big should it be?

    How big depends somewhat on the size of coop, number of chickens, climate, and your management style (cleanliness-wise). But a reasonable ballpark figure to start from is something like 1/2 to 1 square foot PER CHICKEN, preferably divided between two opposite walls, not near the floor and not right above or next to a roost.

    And lastly, I live where it gets really hot in summer (high 90's), and can get a bit below freezing in winter. Do I need insulation? What do you cover the insulation with?

    Insulation will help but where you are it is probably not really essential. Cover it with anything peck-proof -- thin plywood, cheap ugly panelling, whatever [​IMG]

    Good luck and have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I suspect contact paper will adhere poorly and not last long at all. Instead, if you want to cover the floor with something, find a scrap of unwanted or secondhand vinyl flooring, like you'd use in a kitchen, cut it to fit your coop exactly, and staple that down REAL good all around the edges. It does improve cleanup. Although you may need to use a little more bedding so the floor is not slippery where the chickens kick it aside.

    [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  4. farmerwannabe

    farmerwannabe Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    22
    Mar 15, 2008
    Eastern PA
    Does a roost need to be round? How high should it be? Our chicks are a few weeks old and have all their feathers.

    Actually it *shouldn't* be round - best to use a 2x2 or 2x4, flat side up.

    I was told that roosts SHOULD be round (or, at least not square) - that chickens have evolved roosting in trees, so their feet are designed to grab on to branches - that anything square/rectangular is uncomfortable for their feet.

    Is that not correct? (I'm new to this as well). Thanks!​
     
  5. flockof5

    flockof5 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    0
    32
    Apr 3, 2008
    Thanks for the advice. We ended up buying the cheapest linoleum adhesive squares we could find. It cost about $6.00. DH is still working on the rest of it. What is hardware cloth? Also, at what age do chicks no longer need a heat lamp? Mine are 5 weeks old and have all their feathers. Thanks!
     
  6. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I just laid those adhesive floor tiles too, it only took about 1 1/2 hours to lay about 40 square feet and that was having to cut a little too. I planned to use a piece of plexiglass for a window to slide into a frame when the weather is cold or rainy and open with hardware cloth when its warm.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  7. moodusnewchick

    moodusnewchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    891
    1
    151
    Feb 15, 2008
    CT
    I too read (I think in Storey's Guide) that the roosts should be round to mimic the natural roosting. I'm actually going to use some thick real branches. my babies (two weeks old) are currently practicing on a real branch in their brooder. it's about six inches up...it's great to see them hop there and sleep. it's even funnier when they practice running on the branch and squawk and act real proud when they don't fall!

    I'm going to do the glass sliding window over hardwire cloth too! what a great idea. I'm also covering with linoleum for ease in clean up. I was told to silicone the squares to the coop--what do you think? the squares have an adhesive backing, but they're old. I found them in my house when I bought the house eight years ago...not too sure when they were bought, but they were used in my bathroom.

    how funny...i just looked up hardwire cloth last night. From what my newbie self can tell, it's the same stuff that some of us call "chicken wire." Hope this helps!

    So glad that others are doing the same things!!
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:The roost should be roundED. (like, a 2x2 or 2x4 with the corner rounded off). (I think you will find this is what the Storey's Guide says). However it should not be ROUND like a dowel. You know?

    Chickens do not really hang onto their perch like, uh, normal birds do [​IMG] They mostly just stand there on it.

    Also, a wider flatter roost is useful in cold-winter areas to let the bird squinch down and cover the toes with belly feathers to ward off frostbite.

    Certainly you can use natural treebranches if you want, but they should be large enough diameter that there is a reasonably flattish area for the chicken to stand on. Its toes will curve naturally to the fore and back to follow the contours of the branch, but a chicken on something narrow and round, like say a clothes rod like you put hangers on in your closet, is not really going to be so comfortable. Honest.

    Pat
     
  9. Chicken Nugget

    Chicken Nugget Out Of The Brooder

    30
    1
    22
    Apr 23, 2008
    North Carolina
    Hardware cloth is not the same as chicken wire. Hardware cloth is not wire at all, it's more like a thin plastic. It looks like you could pull it apart with your hands, but you can't - or at least Hubby and I can't. It's extremely durable, yet lightweight.

    I've always done my coop in chicken wire but my best friend does hers in hardware cloth. Either one seems to work well.

    Hardware cloth is located with the chicken wire at your local home improvement store.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Uh, be real careful here.

    Hardware cloth (what people are talking about for predator-proofing your coop) IS NOT PLASTIC nor plasticky. (well, sometimes you can find it plastic coated - but it still acts like wire, which it is inside the coating).

    Real hardware cloth is wire of a substantial gauge, welded into 1/4" or 1/2" mesh. For coop use you need galvanized, if you have a choice vs non (galvanized is the most common tho).

    The floppy flexible plastic mesh stuff IS NOT HARDWARE CLOTH and IS NOT REMOTELY RACCOON OR DOG PROOF. (nor is chicken wire, the fine-gauge hexagonal-mesh stuff).

    Just sayin',

    Pat
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by