Winter coop build in Canada Question.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by superseeds, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. superseeds

    superseeds Out Of The Brooder

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    homestead-u.blogspot.ca
    HI all,

    Just a couple questions before I build my first coop for winter.

    I am planning to build a winterized version of this unit here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicksntexas-coop

    She claims the coop itself to be 8 x 10 and 7ft tall, I'll assume 8 front to back and 10 wide, however she never really states how many chickens it's for.

    A) Our winters are not too bad overall, gets downt to -15C periodically, with a few good snow days. Assuming I have 10 chickens and build the unit as a 8 x 8 coop. (I am very skilled with tools) If I insulate the unit on all walls and roof, and add a few well placed vents at the top (well over the roosting chickens heads) will that be too much space for the chickens to stay warm? is too much space bad for chickens when in a coop and wintering?

    B) Is an extra heat source (ie hot lamp) recommended if well insulated in the coop which is 64 sqft and only 10 chickens?

    C) When building a roost, is too much space to roost bad for winter? in the pics, she has 3 long branches making up her roost, would that be too spread out for only 10? should I limit them to 2 shorter ones to have them huddle more?

    D) If I'm building 4 nesting boxes for the 10 hens, does it matter if they're side x side or two top of one another?

    E) Would be best to have the long side facing south in terms of heat and wind?

    F) Finally, in your opinion, if I have 10 chickens and the main goal is eggs with them going to the pot after the eggs start to ween off, is it better to have a rooster or not?
    I don't really want to have to watch for fertilized eggs. Is the benefit of having a rooster around, even if only til they are meat ready (pre noise time), better than not having one, and just having 10 hens with no ring leader?



    Thanks in advance

    RF
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Colorado
    As long as the ventilation blows over them, not on them, it'll be great! If you insulate and have cold hardy breeds, you shouldn't need any extra heat unless you have a few days where it gets really cold. I'd put a thermometer in there and check it periodically...if it dips below freezing, you should perhaps consider some heat. You'll need to have something to keep your water from freezing as well.

    For roosts, I'd offer then a wider, flat one (ie a 2 x 4 with the 4" side up) so if they want to hunch down and cover their feet, they're able. Also, a roundish one (we use a tree branch) if they prefer to clutch. It should be about 2" (5 or so centimetres) in diameter. Plenty of space is good...then they can scrunch together or spread out as they prefer.

    With plenty of room to jump/fly you can put the boxes on a side or 2 up 2 down. They'll probably all pick one or two and ignore the others anyway, LOL.

    Chickens need about 14 hours of light a day to keep up production, not that they'll totally stop if there's less, but it will slow down. We have a light on a timer for ours that comes on about 2 hours before dawn. Then it goes off and we open the coop so they have daylight for about 12 hrs before dusk. They're free to come and go as they please, but generally only go inside to lay.

    A rooster's "job" (besides the obvious) is to keep order and help protect his hens. In any flock, there's generally a dominant hen anyway, but with a rooster, he'll generally keep her in line if she gets too bossy. We aren't allowed a roo where we live and our girls are doing great. With 6 hens, we average 4 to 5 eggs a day...more than we can eat, so we end up giving a lot to neighbors and friends, and donating to the local food bank.

    Are you building a run for them as well? Even in winter, it's good for them to be able to get out of the coop. Cold hardy breeds will do very well as long as the snow is scraped back so they're not wading in it up to their fluffy little butts ;) If access to the coop is made available, they'll go in if they get too cold.

    HTH
    Mickey
     
  3. superseeds

    superseeds Out Of The Brooder

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    homestead-u.blogspot.ca
    Thanks for your reply.
    The idea is to build the unit as seen basically, with removable panels (including ventilation consideration) to cover the enclosed run on all sides during winter. I'll pop them off during summer.
    In time, I may add a small door on front and back in the run when I decide to let them free range a bit in larger movable enclosure to fertilize the soil. We'll do a revolving garden in those spaces, utilize the droppings.

    Thanks again

    RF
     
  4. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cool, wasn't sure if you were just doing the coop by itself or the whole shootin' match ;) As long as the coop is secure, you wouldn't need to do much more than cover the top part of the run for them...just to help keep the snow off. If it gets too windy or cold for 'em they'll head back inside.

    We don't have enough room for anything nearly that big...so ours is portable, both the coop and run. We shuttle it around the yard from one patch to the next about every 3 or 4 days. That way they always have fresh grass and don't destroy it...it's a bit trampled and sad looking by the time we move it but by the time it gets back to that spot, it's recovered.

    If you garden, setting up a pen around the area after you've harvested is a GREAT way to get a jump on spring prep. Those birds will scratch and fertilize and turn over...and keep making eggs too ;) How much better does it get?? LOL

    When we scoop and/or replace the bedding in the coop, it all goes in the compost. It's too "hot" to go straight on the beds, but it'll be ready to go come spring.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    If you are going to have 10 hens, don't be the least bit surprised that they all lay in the same nest. Most of these layouts show far more nests than the birds will ever likely use. I mention this only because the space can perhaps be dedicated to other purposes. I had 13 eggs in one nest this morning. You guessed it, a nest immediately adjacent was empty. That's the way it goes most days.
     
  6. superseeds

    superseeds Out Of The Brooder

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    homestead-u.blogspot.ca
    Other purposes such as what? Not sure if there are things I haven't considered...

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  7. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Storage. Feed, buckets, other tools and gizmos :)
     

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