brainstorm my coop problem with me

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by crysmom, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. crysmom

    crysmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2007
    I have a plywood shed coop that I built for my chickens. There are currently 10 standards and 2 bantams all ~14 weeks old, the shed is 8x8 with a shingle roof, right now the outside is wrapped in tar paper

    it is so full on condensation its awful, I'm going to add more venting today, but I also need to insulate because the inside of the plywood is wet to the touch, not the outside that is dry.

    so my plan is to clean out the coop, staple poly to the inner studs and then put up plywood will this help keep the condensation out of the coop?

    The problem is its so cold outside and I guess alot warmer inside is making an excessive amount of condensation?
     
  2. countryboy

    countryboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2007
    i would think it would be not enough ventilation, however if you just built the coop out of new lumber it would still have moisture from the green lumber and lack of ventilation plus the moisture from the chickens themselves.does the coop have a wood floor, dirt floor ?

    plastic will only make it worse, i think, what ever moisture the lumber has absorbed will not be able to escape from that side , then you will be getting into a mold and rotting problem.

    thats my thoughts might not be right but...
     
  3. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I have mine insulated, and I don't have any problems. I think you'll be fine if you insulate.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Crysmom, are your chickens staying indoors pretty much all the time? (Since you are in a cold climate...). If they are, then irrespective of how much run they have available in principle, if the coop is all they're really USING, 64 sq feet for 14 chickens is less than 5 sq feet per chicken (yeah, I know they're not *completely* full grown and two are bantys, but still).

    That relatively high "stocking rate" places an even higher premium on good airflow thru the building, to carry moist air out and new dry air in.

    How much ventilation do you have right now, in square feet? (multiply height x width of each ventilation opening, in inches, and add 'em all together, then divide by 144 to get square feet). For whatever it's worth, I think Gail Damerow's book recommends something like one square foot per chicken. You'd want to close that down some on the coldest days, and baffle the vents to keep actual wind out, but honestly it sounds to me like you just need Way More Airflow.

    I could be wrong but my gut feeling, having built a buncha things and worked in a buncha farm buildings over the years, is that if your problem is mostly moisture from the chickens rather than from leaks or water spills, it's a ventilation issue not a condensation issue. My gut feeling is that in that situation, insulation would at best just shift a little more moisture to the air instead of the bedding and walls and etc., which is really not going to help you.

    Just the way it looks to me,

    Pat
     
  5. mrspie

    mrspie New Egg

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    Alameda, CA
    Speaking as an architect, the moisture inside is definitely coming from the chickens' respiration. You definitely need more air circulation, probably because the tar paper is sealing the cracks so well. I see this a lot in houses that people have decided to seal up completely in the name of energy savings (the solution in a house is an air-to-air heat exchange system to improve ventilation, but I'm guessing that's overkill for a coop [​IMG]).

    In addition, you can reduce the condensation of that moist air by insulating, then putting a vapor barrier (plastic) on the "warm" side -- the inside. This will keep the walls from getting cold and providing a surface for condensation. But before you do any of that get it good and dry in there.
     
  6. crysmom

    crysmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2007
    Thank you everyone I think you are all right,

    Yes pat, I don't have enough air flow, my plan for the morning is to remove the soffits? I think they are called that, anyway to boards that run lengthwise under the overhang of the roof, once I take those off it will give 6 inches by 8 feet of ventilation on both sides, and I think since it will be so much higher than the chickens (about 7 feet) they probably won't be too drafty.

    well i'll be able to tell if they are cold

    and yes now i'm realizing they don't have enough room because you are right Pat, they don't go outside, they look longingly out there, but when they do pop out there its not for long.

    I"m going to solve that by creating an overhang, kind of like a covered porch, it will help for our hot summers too. Next winter there won't be so many chickens in the coop, the bantys have their own coop that they'll be moving too, and half the standards will be gone because they are roosters.


    so if I open up the ventilation, and create a covered outdoor area I think it will solve all my problems, thank goodness my partner is on afternoons, he has all day every day this week to help me fix my problem [​IMG]
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
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    that sounds like a good plan! let us know how it works for you.

    Any way to cover part or all of the run with tarps or plastic (might need plywood etc on roof), not for warmth just to decrease the snow and wind out there? Maybe not, depending on your run, but some people here have 'tunnelized' their runs for winter and found the chickens spend a lot more time outside, so I thought I'd at least mention it.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  8. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Ventilization! We have a 8x8 coop with 13 standard chickens. We made sure that we had good ventilization and haven't had any problems with moisture. DH refused to insulate the coop and the most weather related thing we have had is a thin layer of frost when we had that sub-zero temps for several days. Ours have a plastic wrapped run but, when it is lower than the teens out I keep them in. They make those vents that you put into the wall that are slated and screened so the wind etc. stays out.
     
  9. Brian

    Brian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 30, 2007
    Jacksonville, ORegon
    Respiration? Temperature differential? Whether by moisture coming from the chickens respiration (humid lung air), or the fact that the temp inside the coop is significantly warmer than the outside air (like when your car's windows fog up), you have the ambient water molecules in the air condensing on your walls and windows. A little air movement, without drafting your birds, will solve that problem. You could insulate, but you'll still need ventilation. People forget that the hens are built for cold, and are, themselves, very well insulated. If you have a coop that is insulated, and the outside temp drops to zero, your non-heated insulated coop will still get cold as hell inside, and condensation will still occur. I would concentrate on making sure there was some fresh air making its way into the coop, and I think you'll find your problem is solved. There are few locations that require coops to need insulating, IMHO.
    Brian
     
  10. crysmom

    crysmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2007
    Thank you for everyones suggestions, I have insulated the coop with styrofoam boards, stapled up 6 mil poly vapor barrier and put up plywood inside i added 8 square feet ofventilation, and now all the condesation is gone off the window. I replaced the bedding so only time will tell if it gets damp again. But I'm crossing my fingers, thanks for everyones suggestions.

    Crystal
     

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