Woods Style open air coop, sized down


5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
I am really intrigued by the Woods style open air coop. However. I cannot build an 8X16 coop. I could do a 6X12 at the largest. Keep in mind, I am in a very mild climate (zone 7) and we rarely get temps below freezing. Maybe a day or two a year.

I know the Woods style is scientifically structured to maximize ventilation without creating drafts. I'm just wondering if an incorrect, sized down Woods coop would STILL be better than other styles.

Things that I do know:

1. I can face the coop in any direction. I get tons of natural sunlight.
2. I want to do an open earth DLM method for the floor
3. I don't want a ton of hens - 10 at the most. For this coop, at least! Still selling my husband on the idea of chickens ;)
4. The hens will free range on our 2 acres as much as possible. I'm a SAHM, so the girls will be out when I am home. When they get older, I'm sure I can leave them out when I run errands.
5. There will be an attached run, so the coop will really be for roosting and laying.

So, JackE and others who know the Woods style science well... Please chime in!


11 Years
Apr 26, 2010
North Eastern Md.
In the book, 'Fresh air poultry houses', which I would recommend you get, if you are going to build a Woods. You can get the book from Amazon. The author talks about a 6X10' version of the coop. He doesn't devote a lot of ink to it in the book, but says it would be a satisfactory coop. The important thing as far as a Woods goes, is the depth of the coop. In the book, the author explains the need for the proper depth vs width ratio.

1. The coop, in our hemisphere, is supposed to face south/southeast. That is to maximize sunlight into the coop. Otherwise you could end up with a dark coop inside.

2. You could go with DL in the coop. Just be sure to use treated lumber for ground contact.

3. Ten hens would fit nicely in a 6X12' Woods.

Freeranging is the way to go, unless like me, you have A LOT of predators around that like chicken dinner.

I think the Woods is a great design. Over 100yrs old. You just can't go buy one from your local AG store.

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