Winter coop ideas

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Farmer Peggy, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. Farmer Peggy

    Farmer Peggy Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2009
    I have a coop in my insulated garage right now but last winter I had to keep bringing the chickens in the house on extremely cold nights. I am planning to turn my dog kennel in the garage, into a chicken coop. The kennel has a cement floor and is chain link fence to four feet high. I have 3 hens and a rooster so their is not much body heat. I spoke to a vet and she suggested chipboard to 4 feet high to hold the heat in from the heat lamp. So I was going to attach chip board to the fence as she suggested. and continue the fence up to the ceiling. I am concerned though that even with a heat lamp that the heat will just rise. I want to build this right the second time! I don't want to go through another winter worrying if they are warm enough. I have heard of roosters losing their cones due to frost bite and I definetely do not want this to happen in my coop! Any ideas before I get stared???
     
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    I personally would put a thick layer of straw down on the concrete floor. It's not my preferred choice of bedding, but it does help with warmth. I'd then line the kennel with bales of straw 2 or three tall for added insulation and put a plywood "roof" over the top of the kennel to help retain heat. Hang a heat lamp or two and go from there.

    But that is all based on Michigan winters, you may need to do more or less than that depending on where you live and how cold it gets.

    Above all, if you want them out, I think it's best to make the commitment to leave them OUT and prepare ways to keep them warm out there. In and out of the house is quite a shock to the system temperature wise.

    On really really cold nights you could arrange a few straw bales inside the coop as well so that there are two sitting parallel with another with a space in between with another stacked atop. This all on top of the straw bedding you put down. They can go into the cubby this creates and cuddle together to stay warm.
     
  3. Farmer Peggy

    Farmer Peggy Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2009
    Good idea with the bales of straw. I am a little concerned that the chipboard is only going 4 feet high and then it would be chainlink then rest of the way to the roof. Any heat from the heat bulb will go out through the chain link fence on the side. I know that it will be inside the garage but last year the water froze solid even with a light bulb 4-5 inches above the plastic waterer. Maybe this is good enough if I put a little dog house or like you suggested bales of straw so they can go in and huddle together?
     
  4. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Just my personal opinion, of course, but I'd skip the chipboard altogether, it'll limit air exchange but it has very little insulation value. If you stack bales of straw two or three high all the way around the outside of the coop it'll both cover as high as the chipboard would have AND insulate. Just use the chipboard/plywood on top to limit how much heat can rise straight up and out. You're going to want a little bit of open chainlink space between the straw and the chipboard roof for ventilation. While it'll let some of the heat out, you really can't lock them up "air tight" without ending up risking some nasty illness (which they really don't need with the cold on top of it all).

    You could go with either a dog coop or a straw bale cubby for them inside the fence. If you go with the dog house just be sure to bed it down really well to help with warmth inside. (Again assuming you're someplace where it gets extremely cold -- even here in MI I don't plan to do nearly this much.)
     

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