Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alaskan Insulated Chicken Coop Design and Construction

Alaska's weather is often extreme and this brings some extra challenges to designing and building a proper chicken coop.

While Fairbanks is known for -50 deg temps, and Anchorage can get almost as cold (-20 deg) most winters, Southeast Alaska isn't immune to weather extremes. Located between Canada and the main landmass of Alaska along the Gulf of Alaska, SE Alaska is comprised mostly of temperate rain forests and glacial fjords.

This mix of warm moisture from the Pacific Ocean colliding with cold air from the glacial ice-fields creates rain, massive amounts of rain. With this nearly constant precipitation comes high humidity and the perfect environment for fungi, specifically black mold.

This high humidity also posses problems for chickens. They are fairly well suited for cold weather as along as they have a place to get out of the snow and wind. When you add in a lot of rain, they don't fair so well. Once their feathers get wet, it's hard fro them to dry out and resist hypothermia. Unlike ducks, they don't have nearly the waterproof-ness in their feathers.

My design requirements for my chicken coop included insulation to keep heating costs down, weather tightness to keep drafts and wind driven rain out and an easy to maintain layout. I wanted it to be well built and have features specific to the harsh environment in SE Alaska.

With my basic requirements in hand, I hopped on Google SketchUp and started drawing.

Here was my working design. It's a 4' x 5'4" structure with nesting boxes on the end and relight windows that would catch the southern winter sun. I wanted some eves to protect the siding and when with 1' on all sides.

The door is just over 3' tall and is large enough for me to enter when necessary but I usually just reach in to feed, water and clean out bedding.

Here's Part 1 of the construction:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eric, I have been trying to find dimensions or plans of your chicken coop but I haven not been able to. We live in Kodiak and man this is perfect for what we need. And its an easy enough job that I can do while my husband works so much. my Email is carey.devine@gmail.com if you can please send me the plans I would appreciate it.
    Thanks for posting all the videos they were amazing. Look forward to hearing from you.