Building first coop, advice needed on combination roof/ventilation design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Adam7, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Adam7

    Adam7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I've been hearing some roosters around my neighborhood and decided that I want some chickens as well. I have read as much as I could about coop design and have already built the majority of my coop. Being in the construction business I have a ton of leftover materials so I have done this completely for free :) I built a 4'x7' coop. I have built the elevated base and framed the 4 walls. It is framed for a single slant roof. I decided on this style roof as it would be the easiest for me to build as I wont need trusses, I can just use 2x6. My question comes as I have just read an article about ventilation and am trying to incorporate it into my roof design. I am trying to avoid putting a bunch of hatches on my coop for ventilation and would like to use the roof to do it for me. I live in colorado so I do need to worry about snow, rain, very cold temperatures as well as very hot temperatures during the summer. I want to insulate the roof as well as vent it on the high side to prevent moisture build up. I have an idea on a design but would like to know if any one has tried it first.

    I want to bird block between my rafters about 1' back on the high side so I can insulate the roof up to this point but provide a passage way for air above the high wall and out the soffit. I want to put the entire soffit on hinges so I can swing it open or closed as needed. That will give me 7sq ft of ventilation, all built in to the roof without ugly hatches all over my coop. Is 7sq ft enough? Too much? What is the magic number? I plan to start with 2 chickens but want the option of expanding to up to 8. Maybe I can split the soffit in 2 so i can open only half at a time? that would give me 3.5 sq ft if I only open one side or 7 sq ft if I open both halves. Is 3.5sq ft going to be too much for my 2 chickens? I don't want to freeze them it can get down to -15 or so during the winter. During the summer I have a 3'x4' window that I can open so I am not worried about then, just the winter as I cannot open that window as the wind would blow on their roost.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Hi, and welcome to BYC!

    I would definately suggest that you split your cover so that you have the option to use one side in the winter with two birds. You will need the whole thing in the summer or if you get eight birds.

    A 4'x7' coop (assuming it is the inside part only and doesn't include the run,) is 28 sq. feet. Generally, it is recommended that you have AT LEAST four sq. feet per bird inside and 10 sq. feet per bird outside. I think that 6 sq. ft per bird inside is better and I free range outside daily. I think you and your chickens would be happier if you limit your number to no more than 4 or 5 birds. That is easier said than done as you will find when you go to pick out your first chicks!

    Ventilation is so very important, even in the coldest weather. Chickens put off a lot of moisture from their bodies as well as their poo. If it is not carried away it will make them sick rather quickly. Cold and dry is okay, cold and damp is not. You may need to incorporate some intake vents on the lower end of your roof, as well, to allow the air to flow better. I would make them smaller and wouldn't worry about a wooden cover, just hardware cloth. If (and that is a big if) you ever needed to cover them, you could always us some clear plastic (but I doubt you would ever need to cover them.)

    I live in the south and I fight heat more than cold. My coop is nearly open all the way around and completely roofed. The chickens sleep high up in the rafters of the covered run year round. I will tack plastic up as a wind break on two sides if it gets really cold (like in the teens) but otherwise they are fine.

    Good luck and make sure to post pics of your progress!
  3. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2011

    I think you're over thinking the need to control the ventilation and heat.

    I have roof ridge ventilation that is open year round (unless it get buried with snow).

    The 2 south facing windows tilt in from the top about 4". Open year round.

    Small sofit venting open year round.

    Chicken door to the secured run is open 24 x 7 year round.

    8" x 24" vent on the North wall is along with the floor vent (under the roosting bars) are only open during the summer.

    As long as there isn't a direct breeze blowing on them and they can stay dry while roosting, they will live comfortably.

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  4. n2omike

    n2omike Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 29, 2012
    The roof on my coop is slanted, and at the top of the slant are two doors that can be opened for ventilation. When it's hot, the heat follows the roof and escapes. I leave both open in summer, and one in winter. You can see them in this picture. They are folded down.


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