When we moved into our new home, it came complete with four hens in a tiny chicken coop with a tiny run. They slept on the roof. Since then, we built them a 5-by-8-foot, raised barn/coop and started over from scratch (no pun intended!).
Next, we constructed a 10-by-16-foot run with an angled roof with corrugated plexiglass for water and snow runoff. In the winter, we put corrugated plexiglass around almost the entire run to keep it nice and warm. We added an adjunct 10-by-12-foot run with a slanted shingled roof so they could also see out and have fresh air, and connected the two with a chicken door.
We currently have young pullets, so a screen blocks the two sides and a mini-coop/loft sits in the young onesâ€™ run.
Read more: Help your chickens deal with heat stress on hot summer days.
We love the option to have shelter in the winter and to be able to strip it down in the hot summer. We built a â€śscreenâ€ť door inside the outer door of our coopâ€”constructed from hardware clothâ€”so in the heat of summer, we prop the outer door open and secure the screen door.
A tiny air conditioner is rigged up underneath the corrugated that we can install in one of the coop windows when temperatures reach triple digits. It only gets the chicken coop down to about 78 degrees, but thatâ€™s perfect for them. On normal summer days, we detach it, and window breezes flow through the door and lots of louver vents.
â€” Dana and Zach Koenig, Saddle River, New Jersey
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of Chickens magazine as a â€śCool Coopâ€ť feature. Have a cool coop youâ€™d like to share?Â Email us a short write-up (~250 to 500 words) about your chicken coop along with a few images to firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ with the subject lineÂ One Cool Coop, and include your name and mailing address. Check outÂ ChickensÂ magazine for current prizes and contest rules.