I'm interesting in doing a smaller cob-structure test run and also need a new chicken coop. Can the two projects be combined? I'm concerned about ventilation and moisture & amonia build up (with the addition of chicken droppings from about 20 chickens) and also not sure if I can build a cob coop that would provide protection from pests and predators (esp mice/rats). I live in a hothumid/rainyfoggy climate. Do you have any advice? Thanks much, Abelia
Hello! We live in northern Arizona, USA. We built an earth bag chicken dome and originally we did a cob finish on the outside. It didn't hold up to the weather (no roof) so we redid with stucco. On the inside we did a cob plaster and finished with a lime and fine sand finish. We have had no problems with the inside at all. We have (3) 2" conduit for ventilation at the bottom, (4) 4" pipes at the top and (3) 1" pipes in the center of our glass bottle windows which are about eye height. Even the hottest days we do not have any problems with moisture on the inside. However, other than the monsoon season it's pretty dry where we live.
Ventilation is one of the most important things for chicken health. If you build a chicken coop from cob, it will need multiple screened windows and I'm thinking it should be considerably oversized, so that it is airy inside. In a rainy climate, a large roof with a substantial overhang is essential.
I love the idea, but since i use a chicken tractor for my coop, my guess is that a cob chicken tracker would weight approximately 40 bazillion pounds, and would need more than my wife and I to move it daily. So, until I get a crane and a forklift, I'll have to stick with my plywood and chickenwire contraption.
Go for it!
If ventilation isn't adequate, cob is easy enough to bust through and add additional vents. All you need is a hammer and a cold chisel. My hunch is that you'll still want a big door on it so that you can easily access the inside for cleaning and such. Perhaps if you built a cob coop, you could have a door that would be easily removed. Thus, you could have a summer door which would be nothing more than a frame with chicken wire across it, and a winter door, which would be a bit more substantial -- made of plywood or something more solid. If it's just a matter of popping the pins out of the hinges and dropping the other door into the same spot, it would only take a few minutes to change out the doors when the seasons change. Or have a sold exterior door, which an old school screen door on the inside --- the way we do it on houses. That way you could swing open the exterior door on hot days to provide all the ventilation the girls need, but could close it up as needed when the weather gets cold.
Best of luck with this cool idea.
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