Active ventilation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MrGreenJeans, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. MrGreenJeans

    MrGreenJeans In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2008
    So, my latest thing to stress about is ventilation. I've found quite a bit of devices for venting a home (gable fans and the like) which, based upon my coop size, would be extreme overkill. My primary concern is removing humid air during the winter - summertime shouldn't be an issue (5 windows).

    Then an idea struck me: bathroom exhaust fan. Has anyone tried anything like this ? I could probably rig it up to a thermostat/humidistat without much trouble - do I also need an inlet ? Is this completely overkill ? (8 birds in ~200 cubic feet of airspace - 6x6x6)
  2. Gunslinger

    Gunslinger In the Brooder

    May 20, 2008
    Greene, RI
    hey Mr GreenJeans, I was thinking the same thing however that would bump your electric bill pretty good having to run that fan for hours at a time. Plus I don't think they make standard bathroom fans to run Continuously. I wouldn't give it too long a lifspan.
    I ended up cutting in a rectangular opening using a hinged board with hardware wire to cover the opening. that way I can open it as much as needed.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I think it's overkill, frankly. And the fan will quickly get gummed up with dust and such, which can be somewhat of a fire hazard. I would be leery of using a bathroom fan (I'd personally want to use an ag type fan, designed to withstand dusty gunky environments).

    Passive ventilation should be FINE as long as you have plenty of it, and preferably on all 4 sides of the coop.

    The only reason they use mechanical ventilation in cow barns and chicken barns and such, commercially, is because there are SO many animals in SUCH small space (and so much interior volume relative to surface area of the structure). In a small-scale coop, you don't need it.

    Have fun,

  4. 1dude

    1dude In the Brooder

    Dec 27, 2007
    Pace, Florida
    Something just came to mind.... I have seen solar powered attic fans at Home Depot, kind of pricey $90. or so. I live in Florida and I'm trying to plan out my chicken adventure.
  5. SusanJoM

    SusanJoM Songster

  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Those roof turbines are WAY overkill for a leetle coop like this, and they tend to let snow (which becomes coop humidity) sift in during storms. I wouldn't do it.

    Passive ventilation should be just FINE as long as there is plenty of it (and if there isn't, the solution is to make more, not run a fan that will get all gummed up).

  7. cluckychick

    cluckychick Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South of KCMO
    I have a greenhouse exhaust fan that has a thermostat, haven't put it in yet [​IMG] Presently we are using a fan that blows and exhaust (not at the same time, lol) and has a thermostat on it. I don't know where we got it as it's older than the hills but has been in the barn attic forever.
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I would put in a vent along the top of your tallest wall, with an adjustable cover. Hanging the cover with chain would allow you to adjust the opening a little more. Speckledhen has a picture of hers in the other thread on ventilation.

    With such a low stocking density and proper litter management, you not only won't have the moisture amounts some nasty commercial operations have, you won't have the ammonia problems they are trying to correct with ventilation. Plus, your chickens will be outside during the day, not confined 24/7. They'll be expelling their moist breath and pooing outside in your nice, dry Colorado air. I've visited there in the middle of a hot humid summer. It was wonderful!
  9. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Mr. Greenjeans, I fret plenty over my spoiled girls here in the South, and we found an interesting way to keep air moving - - but not too much - - in the coop. (Too much direct wind is bad for chicken respiratory systems.)

    We pulled the fan out of the back of an old computer and mounted it over a hole we already had in a protected wall of the coop about 6" from the ceiling. (Of course, you have to have electricity hooked up to do this.) The fan runs on DC current, so we had to plug it into an AC-to-DC transformer to hook it to the coop power cord. You can get a transformer at Radio Shack or Wal Mart in the states. Make sure you match the output voltage of the transformer to the fan ~ in our case, 12V. Some transformers are universal (adjustable).

    The computer fan is small, uses little energy, and makes very little noise. We positioned it so it sucks hot ceiling air OUT of the coop, instead of blowing it in. I also keep a remote thermometer about 8" from the coop floor, and this fan has reduced the coop temp by a few degrees. You can feel the difference just sticking your hand in the doorway.

    The adjacent wall of the coop also has a regular white household vent about 8" from the ceiling, and the holes are tilted so water does not sneak in. I also sealed around it with clear silicone. On the inside of the vent hold I can place a small piece of cardboard in the winter to control the amount of air flow.

    It is so incredibly humid on our Tennessee summer nights that my girls even have a super-reinforced summer screened door for their coop. It's double-layered with screen and 1/2" hardware cloth, so the air flows through but 'coons don't!

    That said, our coop sits under the polycarbonate roof of a covered run, so it is protected from rain and snow. You would definitely want weather protection so water doesn't get into the coop or into the electronics.

    Hope that helps! Good luck.

    Jenski in Middle Tennessee

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