big coop, few chickens ventilation question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DutchieWannabe, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. DutchieWannabe

    DutchieWannabe Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 18, 2010
    I have a large coop for the number of hens i can (legally) keep. it is a converted garden/tool shed. i'd say the measurements post winterization/insulation project is 10x4.5x5 ft. about 45 sq feet/ 225 cubed feet total. i have 4 birds. = 56.25 cubed feet of space per bird.

    I read that rule of thumb was 1 sq. ft of ventilation per bird.

    could i have less than 1 sq. foot per bird because they have so much air space available to them?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Probably. Every coop is a little different and that's a good number but a really rough estimate. In the end it's best to go by things like ammonia odor, condensation, etc. And the ventilation needs to be high, because the humid ammoniated air will rise.

    This is an excellent article, if you haven't seen it:
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Wow - I had not heard that there was that much vent needed.

    Honestly there are 2 reasons to vent - heat & moisture. You probably wont have a moisture issue with only 4 birds - when the breathe a ton of water is put into the air - in the winter this can cause some issues with frost or in the summer mold.

    But you have such a large space - this wont be an issue.

    Heat - sounds like you have taken care of that with insulation - chickens are much better at cold than they are at heat. They need lots of cool air when the sun is beating down. That is going to be your main issue - a small window should be enough though - since you have insulation. I wouldn't worry about winter - but in summer you need to leave the window open - if there isn't one - install one - or leave the door wide open.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    So you've got 10 sq ft per hen, in a slightly-shorter-than-usual building. (*cubic* feet is not as relevant, or at least is not the units in which you will usually see these things expressed for you to compare to)

    That is not really THAT much space nor that low a stocking density, so I would not advise trying to chintz on vent sizes. Sure, you will not always want 4 sq ft of vent open... but there will likely be times when you're glad you CAN, and indeed in the summertime that will be inadequate to take care of overheating problems.

    Now, if you had like *50* sq ft per hen -- e.g. four hens in a 10x20 building -- THEN I would say that you may not in fact have to ventilate at all, beyond what naturally happens from the popdoor and you going in and out the people door. But that is totally different than your situation.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Keep in mind that ventilation also can keep the coop from getting too hot in the summer. So rather than building less and finding out you need more, it's very useful to build plenty of ventilation with flaps to open and close as needed.

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