Building my coop and carpenter is confusing me about ventilation.

jacob04

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2015
14
2
69
6 chickens for far =)
southern Indiana
I just had a barn built this weekend. Its an 8x12 storage barn with a 10 foot lofted barn shaped ceiling. I paid for a ridge vent to go all the way across the top and 2 grill vents to go on each gable end at the top. My builder said that this set up will cancel each other out. They will just pull air from each other and not do any good?? Now I'm confused as what to do for venting now.

I have bought 4 small windows that are going to be installed also. They are aluminum sliders with screens on bottom, 18x21.

The coop is going to be divided into a coop area (8x8) and a storage area (4x8). The diving wall will be hardware cloth with a small people door. I planned this so I can leave the main coop doors open in the summer to keep them cool but I am worried about ventilation in the winter months.

What do you suggest I change, if anything. The babies are still in their pen for now.

Thanks, Angela
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,201
491
Long Beach, WA
Think you'll be fine with the ridge vent and windows that open. Just be careful about how many you put in on the south and west sides. You don't want your coop to have a greenhouse effect.
 

jacob04

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2015
14
2
69
Think you'll be fine with the ridge vent and windows that open. Just be careful about how many you put in on the south and west sides. You don't want your coop to have a greenhouse effect.

I haven't put my window in yet. so now is a great time to get advise! are you saying they should be placed on the North and East walls?

Would it be possible to add vents to the floor so cool air could be drawn from underneath the shed and out and up the ridge vent?

My husband feels like I am over-thinking this.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
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Northwestern Wyoming
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I haven't put my window in yet. so now is a great time to get advise! are you saying they should be placed on the North and East walls?

Would it be possible to add vents to the floor so cool air could be drawn from underneath the shed and out and up the ridge vent?

My husband feels like I am over-thinking this.
That's how our ventilation system works. We leave the pop door open to the run 24/7, 365 days a year. We also added another floor vent on the side opposite the pop door. That one we can close off if the wind and snow is blowing from that direction. We have windows on the south, west, and east sides. On the north side - the side most of our winter storms blow in from - we have a vent up high that can be closed and one about midway down, which we can also close off. All the windows are operable. There's a gable vent on the east side as well. Ken says our coop has so many holes in it he doesn't know how we managed to spend so much on wood and siding! We also found a site that sells parts for older mobile homes and bought a mobile home exhaust fan. Nice because it fit so well - unlike a stick built or new modular home the walls are thinner. The fan size accommodates that difference. Ken hardwired it in such a way that we can either just have the cover on it open for passive ventilation or flip a switch and it operates to draw the air from below and out of the coop.

But our coop is tall - a simple mistake in transferring the final plan from our drafts led to the coop not only being 6' wide by 8' feet long, it's also 8' high at the front and tapers to 6' at the back. I had put the dimensions on the plan twice, and since I'd made such a fuss about wanting to be able to walk upright in it, he "just did what you said, honey!" But that mistake turned out to be a blessing in the summer. With that high ceiling and the lower vents pushing cooler air into the coop and the warmer air being pushed out we were surprised at how pleasant the coop stayed. And in the winter the open pop door was a great help in keeping the floor of the coop dry and the entire coop ventilated. So I'm a firm believer in lower vents. I know some say not to, but until we did that the air was stagnant. We also covered the opening between the roof and the walls of the coop with hardware cloth to keep out bats (yep, bats!) and critters but to allow even more air flow.


The floor vent on the west side, before the trim was added to cover the screws. We can open and close this one to allow for weather.


That same vent from the outside of the coop.


The ventilation on the east side. The mobile home exhaust fan is open but not running in this photo.

You would think that will all of these openings, the chickens would freeze in the winter. But because we had so many ways to vent the coop, we didn't so much as have a frostbitten comb or wattle.
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
You can have ventilation at chicken level, even in the winter. To the O.P. I would install two of those windows you bought, on each side of the coop. Two back where the chickens are, and two up by the storage area. in the winter, I would leave the two in the storage area open. And, I would install hardware cloth screens, over all those windows, for predator proofing .


900x900px-LL-f52d3bc5_55557_img_1349.jpeg
 

candr01

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 25, 2014
50
8
41
Charlotte, NC
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My Coop
I have a ridge vent all along the roof line of my coop. It works with the soffits that run along the length of each long side. You can't see the soffits (they are the extra gap where the overhang of the roof doesn't fit flush to the walls due to the roof framing and run the length of both sides of the coop) but the ridge vent is obvious.



Fresh air is drawn in through the open soffits, windows and pop door and out through the ridge vent.

You can also use the gable vents, the ones of each of the peaks that you were talking about. You still need an opening down low, (windown, pop doors, soffits) from which fresh air can be drawn in.

You can't really do gables AND ridge vents though, which is what your carpenter is trying to tell you (I think). All that would happen is that fresh air would be drawn in through the gables and flushed straight out through the ridge vent. All the air down at the bottom of the coop would stay stagnant and stale.

Make sure you have air coming in down below and then choose either the gables OR the ridge vent up high as your exit point. That will create the flow of air, from down low to up high, which will keep your chickens fresh.

Hope that helps.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,083
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Southeast Louisiana
Hot air rises. That’s the principle behind passive ventilation in the summer. You want heat to go out so openings down low, especially if they are in shaded areas like the north side, will let in cooler air and the warmer air inside will rise to the top. It doesn’t matter if you say to-may-to or to-mah-to. Openings in the top of any kind or any combination will let the warm air rise and go out the top as long as you have a way for cooler air to get in. The taller the coop is the more difference in pressure you get so you get more air movement. If you don’t have an opening in the bottom to let cooler air in you don’t get a lot air movement no matter how much openings you have up high. In the summer it doesn’t matter if you have a breeze hitting your chickens or not. That will just cool them off.

In the winter it changes a bit, but not that much. One risk is from ammonia produced by their poop decomposing. Ammonia can damage their respiratory system. Since ammonia is lighter than air, it rises due to gravity. Gravity pulls the heavier air down so the lighter ammonia is forced up. All you need to get rid of ammonia is a hole up high. Ridge vents might get blocked by snow but your gable vents will work fine.

Another problem with winter is humidity. High humidity plus freezing temperature can lead to frostbite. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air plus it is lighter and will rise. Moisture comes from their breathing and their poop, both of which are warm to start with. Also, if your coop is on the ground, the ground acts as a thermal mass. When the weather is really cold it will put off heat. That means it is heating the air causing it to hold more moisture and rise. In most coops just having openings up high is sufficient in the winter as long as you have enough.

The draft that causes a problem in winter is not what we think of as a typical draft around a poorly fitting window or door. Chickens keep themselves warm in winter by trapping tiny bits of air in their feathers and down and heating them up with body heat. The kind of draft you are worried about is really a breeze strong enough to ruffle their feathers and let those tiny air pockets escape. A little air movement will not cause a problem. The danger with openings on the bottom is that you create a wind tunnel that forces a strong breeze on the chickens, especially as they roost.

What JackE is talking about is creating a dead space in the coop where the chickens are so a direct breeze doesn’t hit them. It doesn’t matter if there is a strong breeze blowing in part of the coop as long as the space the chickens are in is not in that breeze’s path. To me it’s easier to arrange that with all the openings over their heads in winter so any breeze just whistles over their heads but there are a lot of different ways to achieve that. His way works. You can have openings low as long as that doesn’t create a breeze hitting the chickens.

I think your set-up will work. Cover any window or door openings with some serious wire, not screen that a dog, fox, raccoon, coyote, or bobcat can just rip through and use them for ventilation in the summer. It’s really hard to have too much ventilation in the summer and even in the winter more is better as long as a direct breeze is not hitting them.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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....

What JackE is talking about is creating a dead space in the coop where the chickens are so a direct breeze doesn’t hit them. It doesn’t matter if there is a strong breeze blowing in part of the coop as long as the space the chickens are in is not in that breeze’s path. To me it’s easier to arrange that with all the openings over their heads in winter so any breeze just whistles over their heads but there are a lot of different ways to achieve that. His way works. You can have openings low as long as that doesn’t create a breeze hitting the chickens.

...
JackE's design requires that there be no other openings except the big one in front during winter.....
........that stops the air from moving through the building, but provides plenty of fresh air.
The depth of the building in relation to it's width is also important in this design.
 

jacob04

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2015
14
2
69
This was my first post. Thanks for all the help! I don't want to screw up their coop before they even get in it,
I cant wait to get the coop finished up this weekend so I can put the girls into their new condo. They are living in a 10 x 10 dog pen now. They might be more excited than I am!
 

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