OMG. In case you were wondering just how extreme of conditions chickens can thrive in (with human help, of course), check out Lisa’s Garden Coop high in the mountains of Colorado. The rest of this post comes from her:
I thought you might like to see what we have done with your design for The Garden Coop. We bought your plans last summer and built a modified version to suit our climate.
We live in the mountains of Colorado at an altitude of over 7,000 feet, within 15 miles of Steamboat Springs Ski Area, a major ski resort. Our winter starts in November and doesn’t really end until May, when what we call “mud season” arrives.
We receive at our house well over 200 inches of snowfall annually, and as you can see from the photos, typically accumulate between three to five feet throughout the winter (sometimes more!). Last week, temperatures dropped to less than 40 degrees below zero for three days, not including windchill. Thank goodness we don’t get a lot of wind!
As you can imagine, this presented a challenge for us to build a coop that would handle the snowload and accomodate our chickens to survive and to continue to lay eggs through the winter.
Modifying The Garden Coop (for truly extreme conditions)
We modified The Garden Coop design by building the rafters closer together, using larger structural lumber and thick siding, and using corrugated metal sheeting for the roof material.
We enclosed the bottom under the henhouse completely instead of using hardware cloth, but left it open everywhere else. Then, when winter started we covered the back and side of the coop with a sheet of plywood which can be removed when the weather gets warmer.
The henhouse is completely insulated with 2″ foam insulation on all six sides and we added a window on the south-facing wall for maximizing light. We also added a heat light inside the henhouse and white light outside, both on timers, and of course we have to have a heated water pan. This means we had to run an electric line.
It has worked really, really well. Our chickens continued to lay once we figured out the best timing for the lights. I don’t know if you’ve had anyone build with your plans in this kind of climate, but thought you might get a chuckle out it!
Unbelievable. That’s some serious dedication to chicken keeping. Many thanks to Lisa for sharing her photos and experience. Got a message for Lisa or an interesting story to share? Leave a reply in the comments below.