Are ventilation openings at the bottom of the coop ok?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kataloo, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. Kataloo

    Kataloo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in a mountain valley in Utah. We usually get spells of -20 in the winter, but can also get some hot summers. Thinking about how hot air rises, I was planning on putting windows towards the top half of the coop. I could open these in the summer to let the heat out and breezes in.

    Then I started wondering about putting the ventilation openings at the bottom of the coop. My idea was this would keep the warm air at the top of the coop in during winter, but still give ventilation. My question is- Would this setup really give adequate ventilation? Would it allow moisture to escape? Would it create unhealthy drafts for the chicken? Or is this a why-didn't-I-think-of-that idea? [​IMG]

    Please respond soon as I am starting my coop this Saturday.

    P.S. The vent openings would, of course, be above the bedding line.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  2. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't think the vents at the bottom would be a good idea mainly because of drafts in the winter. I would make vents at the top that you can adjust for the season, wide open in the summer and not so much in the winter. If your bedding is to deep it might block off the air flow and create a wet spot with the scratching and all.
     
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  3. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't do it, this could put an unwanted draft on the birds and be low enough to be a weak spot where predators are concerned. I left the eaves of my coop fully open and covered with hardware cloth, they stay open all winter and we commonly get below zero, the draft is all above the birds and they do fine. My coop is mostly shaded in summer so I don't worry about heat, the birds go outside anyways.
     
  4. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sure you can have ventilation down low, at chicken level, if you have a properly designed coop. The coop below has the whole front wall open, year round. But, due to the design of the coop, there's no drafts, as there is no direct pathway for the wind to blow through. The coop gets all kinds of beneficial fresh air exchange for the good health of the birds in it.
    In the warmer months, the upper windows, the side windows along with the door, are opened up. Coops like the one pictured below, a 100yr old design, were (And are) used in the US, and even up into Canada.




    [​IMG]
     
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  5. hangartnerchix

    hangartnerchix Out Of The Brooder

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    The way my coop is designed, the pop door is in the floor, and it remains open at all times, including in sub zero weather. There is a door on it that I can close, but I've never needed to. The pop door leads to the run, which is under the coop, and is entirely secured with hardware cloth. I'm coming up on two years and no predator problems. Due to the location of the pop door, it allows for some ventilation up through the floor and out through the windows. However, I haven't ever noticed any sort of draft coming through that pop hole. My coop isn't in a windy spot, however. My 8 ladies are up 5 feet high on their roost, and the pop door is not directly below them. I think you could do ventilation at the bottom of the coop - but give yourself the ability to close it up with a little door if you like. That way, you can decide as the weather changes how conditions are in the coop.

    Have fun designing your coop!
     
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  6. Kataloo

    Kataloo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is good to know that this can be done. If it can be done in Canada, it could most assuredly be done here. If I had ventilation low on all four walls, would that create a draft? Or would that be OK? Maybe I won't know until I try it. I am going to experiment with a homemade passive solar heater above the ventilation. My motivation is not so much about the cold and the chickens, but I want to keep their water from freezing. It would be nice to not have to worry about frostbite on their combs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  7. Kataloo

    Kataloo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The pop door is a good idea. My coop/run will be completely enclosed with hardware wire with a 2 foot apron. Like yours, it should be predator proof. I could probably leave my pop door open too. I plan on 4 chickens, 2 BOs and 2 EEs. I think I have a perfect site. Gets lots of south sun in the Winter and shade from a deciduous tree in the Summer. But I am next to an open field on one side of my house and the wind can get blowing.
     
  8. hangartnerchix

    hangartnerchix Out Of The Brooder

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    That sounds like a nice spot for your coop! I think because the pop door is on the bottom of mine, the wind blows across, rather than up the pop door. I've been lucky that I don't have to open and close the door. When the ladies want in or out - they just go! I think the pop door is a bit protected also because it isn't right at the edge of the coop. It's a good 12 inches in, and the support lumber under the floor gives it a bit of a lip, too. You can probably protect a floor pop door with some trim or something if you like that idea.
     
  9. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you had vents low on all four walls, I would think that would create a drafty coop. As the wind could come at, and blow through the coop from any direction. That's the thing with my coop, the whole front wall is open, but there is no pathway through the coop for the wind to blow through. I've had 30mph winds blow directly at the open front, but inside the coop, it is totally calm, no swirling winds or anything. With a smaller coop, you could have low vents on one wall, and have some higher vents, for bad air to exhaust from. Just make it so where the birds roost, they don't have to put up with a strong draft. You could put the roosts at the back wall, opposite from the low vents.
    Keeping the water from freezing is a whole other thing. Many ways to do that. I use one of those cookietin heaters, works great for me. As far as frostbite goes, if you have proper ventilation, to keep the humidity down, you should not have a problem.
     
  10. Kataloo

    Kataloo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After thinking about it, I decided that I will go the conventional way with the ventilation at the top and make use I can modify it as the weather requires. Thanks Jetdog for the thoughts. I may adopt an idea that was expressed to have a vent at the bottom that I can close if needed. Thanks for the input.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014

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