This post is the second in our series featuring coops from Edmonton's Urban Hens Pilot Project.
Today's coop is located in the Terwillegar area of the city, a family-friendly, close-knit neighbourhood. It is sized for six hens, but is currently home to only four. The owner has chosen Chantecler and Wyandotte breeds, both of which are a heavier, heritage breed that can tolerate cool temperatures. The owner designed the coop specifically with Edmonton's winters in mind, but as you can see, aesthetic appeal played a role as well.
The coop temperature is monitored remotely, which helps the owner assess conditions in the coop even on the coldest of nights. A CFL bulb is used to extend daylight, but with minimal adjustments this arrangement could serve as a simple heat source through conversion of the CFL bulb to incandescent. Water is kept fresh and easy to access in a bucket equipped with an aquarium heater and a nipple watering system.
A window on the side, covered with hardware cloth for safety, can be either opened or shut tight as needed. The nest box is internal to help keep it warm but is easily accessed by a sliding door on the outside. The "pop hole" can be closed at night from outside the coop, which helps preserve heat on cold nights.
The coop is fully insulated with 1.5 inch foam insulation, lined with coroplast. The liner prevents the hens from pecking at the insulation and is easy to wipe clean. The coop is ventilated by an opening in the ceiling, 5 feet long and 6 inches wide, underneath the raised roof. Ventilation is critical in cold weather. Cold-hardy breeds can withstand cool temperatures, so long as they are not exposed to drafts or humidity. By adding ventilation in the ceiling, the owner hopes to ensure that her girls have plenty of fresh air but are still free from drafts.
The coop is surrounded by hardware cloth, and could be wrapped with plastic if desired to keep snow out of the run. Double doors in the back make for easy cleaning, and a large door on the side makes for easy access to the hens.
With Christmas lights up, this coop is all set for the season!