Adding Ventilation question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dtabor, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. dtabor

    dtabor Out Of The Brooder

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    I know the ventilation issue has been totally beaten to death but I just wanted to ask a quick question.....

    I have an 8x12 coop with 3 small windows and am adding more ventilation to the walls etc.

    My question is, would it be worth it to also cut ventilation holes in the soffit area? (Im no carpenter so think Im talking about the right area. Flat area between the slope of the roof and the vertical wall). Its only a shed so not much area there but thought of using a hold saw to cut holes along the flat area just for extra added ventilation (every little bit helps)

    Ive been reading here about ventilation for two days and Ive seen some places that say this isnt a good area for ventilation. Keep in mind I live in north central VT where it can be cold and windy for long stretches at a time in the winter!
     
  2. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it was me, I would cut the whole lower half, out of one of those 8' walls, and replace the siding with hardware cloth. You want to improve your ventilation, don't play around with cutting some little holes, with a holesaw. Open it up.
     
  3. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As JackE said, "Open it up." For the soffit, what is covering the area under the overhang? Plywood? 1x material? If you could simply remove whatever material is there and cover the opening with hardware cloth you would create, I believe, actually worthwhile ventilation. A jig saw might even work to open it up wide.

    If you used 2x4's then you will have a gap of 3.5" between top plate and roof material. If spaced 16"o.c. then by opening that gap up completely you get over 50 square inches of vent. If rafters are 24" on center then that gap would be 80 square inches of vent. The standard normally stated is that chickens need at a minimum 144 square inches per bird...more, being better. So, for every two or every three (depending on the rafter spacing) completely opened spaces you would be providing adequate ventilation for a chicken.

    Now, since a hole saw was mentioned...we will use a 3" hole saw for example... Remember minimum ventilation requirements for a chicken...144 square inches. For a 3" hole you get a whopping 7.07 square inches of ventilation. It would take over twenty 3" holes to provide ventilation for one chicken. Big difference between "opening it up" and drilling a hole, eh? [​IMG]

    If you could cut some 6" tall vents out between the wall studs at the top of the wall these would yield roughly 90 square inches of ventilation each for walls with 16"o.c. studs...roughly 126 square inches for 24"o.c.

    Just some food for thought. You are on the right track, though, in insuring good ventilation. Providing good, draftless ventilation for the chickens is probably one of the most important things you can do for them in the winter. Either a large open front/air coop with a large expanse of inside/outside air exchange or either lots of vents high above the chickens' heads will work. Just two different ways of doing it. If you go for a large open area, then the rest of the coop needs to be sealed up pretty good.

    Your 8x12 coop would lend itself to an open air type of coop...you could create a deep pocket at the back of the coop with good air exchange at the open end. Do a earch for "P.T.Woods", "Tolman", and "open air poultry houses".

    There's more than one way to skin a cat (or pluck a bird!).
    Ed
     
  4. dtabor

    dtabor Out Of The Brooder

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    I hear what you are saying, and I already am working on cutting the bigger true vent areas in the walls between studs etc but cutting a whole section of wall out with my winters, I might as well just lock them in the covered run outside with only hardware cloth and hope for the best (this will be available to them by the way all year long). There would be no point in having a building at all. In my area (live on a hill in northern Vermont) we get cold wind during the winter even when the lower areas do not. As I said, this was a shed "kit" that I built and am using as a coop. There are double doors to the right on the front which could be opened (similar to cutting a whole huge section of wall out) up but again, it seems that would negate the idea of having a building at all since an area about 5'x6' would be open.

    My thoughts that even with how few square inches of ventilation the holes provided, that it would be just added area for air to escape along with my "major" ventilation on the walls..
     
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    You are stuck in the failed logic that a chicken needs to be bundled up in a coop in cold weather, to be blunt they don't...

    Healthy, mature and cold tolerant breeds of chickens don't need a building to protect them from the cold, basically all they need is a wind break and roof over their head to protect them from drafts and rain...

    What they need in a coop is a well ventilated, dry and draft free area to roost that offers them protection from predators...

    The short of it, don't try and keep the heat in or shelter them in an fully enclosed area, just provide them with a well ventilated, dry and draft free safe place to roost...
     
  6. dtabor

    dtabor Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2015
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    Meep,

    No, I know they dont need heat etc, what Im saying is that in my area, its going to be hard to prevent drafts in the coop as it is, and cutting a huge wall out like was suggested would negate the idea of the coop at all. The wind blows a good share of the time during the winter around my place from every point on the compass and the coop being what it is, anywhere there is a hole cut is going to be cause for drafts to blow through. Im trying to do my best to get the ventilation needed with the minimal drafts.

    The birds will have full access to the run during the day but the pop door is under the "poop board" so I cant leave it open at night during the winter or there will be wind coming in there under the roost area.
     
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Not necessarily, there are plenty of 'open' coop designs that are time tested and proven in extreme winter environments... You can have an open coop design and prevent drafts if done properly...

    Again it's all in the design... One thing I have done on my coop to prevent drafts from the windows that remain open on the prevailing wind side even during the winter is simply lay a sheet of plywood on an angle in front of the open window outside the coop to act as a wind block, it works incredibly well and still allows for ventilation... I have even considered permanently mounting the plywood windbreaks spaced off the coop wall by about 6" to create a full time wind break in front of the prevailing wind located windows...

    Other people with open coop designs position the roost back far enough from the open side so that the amount of draft actually reaching the back of the coop where the chickens are is nil...

    You can also open up large vent areas above the roosting area so that cross breezes go over the roosting chickens...

    Another option is roof vents, they are quite cost effective, even passive turbine ones are not even that costly...

    Lots of options, maybe a picture or two of your coop with roosting locations and someone can give you some ideas on venting it...
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dt:

    Is this shed oriented such that the 8' narrow side is the door and the shed is 12' deep? If so, that is the same dimension as my Woods colony house (same style as Jack E shows as his avatar, and same orientation).

    If so, do this.......open the end doors wide open and leave them that way. Go inside and hang some 3' to 4' strips of bright colored plastic flagging tape. Staple or tape them to the rafters and let them hang down all over inside the shed. Hopefully, you will be able to do this in a good breeze if not stiff wind. The flags will lift and flutter and show you exactly how the wind patterns move about inside your shed.

    If oriented with the narrow side open, you may be shocked to discover those in the back where the roosts will be don't move much at all, even with the door wide open. That is what is meant by well ventilated, but draft free.
     
  9. dtabor

    dtabor Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]

    So no, mine is oriented like the one above (dont have pics of my own shed! YET) The roosts/poopboard are on the left side and come out about even with that window and the roosts themselves are about even with the bottom of that window in height. This time of year I have made a frame with h/w cloth that fits in the door opening so I can open them up for keep it cool in there.

    I added two small windows in the back, same height and size as the one on the front and evenly spaced along the back.

    The pop door is below this window and the run goes from the left edge of the big door and is 16x12 covered and wrapped in hardware cloth.

    The nest boxes which arent going to be in use for a few months are along the right hand wall, facing the roosts and about 18" off the floor.

    North is ABOUT where the left wall is so a north wind would directly hit the roost area wall.
     
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So all is not lost. The right or south wall is the one you want to open up with windows, both for light and ventilation. Probably as big as you can fit in above the slanted roof on top of the nest boxes.

    So you are planning to use a droppings board beneath the roosts? Which are above a pop door? If so, you may be OK with that being open, assuming your run is bomb proof and tight and you trust you can leave the pop door open at night. The dropping board such as this is an old time method which serves as a wind baffle beneath the roosts to cut down on drafts through the roost area. They used designs like that over 100 years ago.
     

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