clear roofs in winter/cold climates?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dftkarin, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are there folks in cold winter climates with clear roofs on their coops? I'm about to put a clear roof on a small two-chicken coop and I'm committed to trying it and maybe crafting a dropped ceiling area over the roost if it seems the coop gets too cold at night. I have a lot of ventilation up high in the coop (and in summer I'll put the coop under a tree in the shade). I'm so excited about this clear roof!!
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Where are you? Even where I am in a severe winter zone (high winds, blizzards) there are days when it can very very warm in spring and fall.

    I have a clear roof on my run, but frankly, I'd not use it on the coop because of excessive heat at certain times. Our vinyl run roof is on the northwest side and we have excellent cross-ventilation there year-round. It does offer better light to layer hens.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-LynnePs_Run


    You could certainly use plexiglass or polycarbonate as a window...or use the PALRuf on part of one wall...[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Sorry to be a wet blanket but I would not do it, not for the main coop. (Run, maybe; sunporch type solar heater, sure)

    The problem is basically this. If you live somewhere that it typically gets/stays fairly cold in the winter, like single digits F or lower, then you can't have an exposed roof because it will become a condensation farm, at least at night. It needs to be *insulated* underneath. You could *try* taping bubblewrap layers underneath a clear plastic roof, it might be ok in a borderline climate, but up here it would sure not work.

    And if you live somewhere that *doesn't* typically get/stay that cold, you will be roasting your chickens each sunny day. It is not healthy for animals to experience really severe temperature swings (insofar as it can be avoided); it is hard on their bodies. You just don't *want* it to be 80 F in the coop and 10-20 F outdoors and at night.

    You can try it of course, but, it would be good at least to have a max-min thermometer, a lot of ventilation, and a good plan B ready to put into place.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:So far, I'm only seeing a 5-10 degree temperature differential (if that) inside my clear roofed winter coop during daytime on sunny days. And the chickens aren't even in there during the daytime, anyway, although when it gets colder I'm sure they'll appreciate the option of that little bit of extra warmth. We'll see how it works as the fall and winter progresses, but I can't imagine as the outside temperature falls it's going to get any warmer inside that coop.

    You're probably spot on about the condensation in very cold climates, though. Hereabouts we rarely get down to freezing. I have been watching the humidity in my coop and because of the ventilation and perhaps also the sand on the floor, humidity is staying below 50 percent.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:So far, I'm only seeing a 5-10 degree temperature differential (if that) inside my clear roofed winter coop during daytime on sunny days. And the chickens aren't even in there during the daytime, anyway, although when it gets colder I'm sure they'll appreciate the option of that little bit of extra warmth. We'll see how it works as the fall and winter progresses, but I can't imagine as the outside temperature falls it's going to get any warmer inside that coop.

    Yes, but your coop is much larger. Makes a big difference.

    Also, you *will* get a larger temperature differential as the weather cools. The inside will still heat up as much (or almost as much) as it does now, whereas the outdoors will be much colder. Wait and see [​IMG] It may be ok for you with your coop size, esp. if you have considerable ventilation and not much insulation (sorry, I remember what your coop looks like in genearl but not the details [​IMG]) but I sure would not do it for a little box for 2 chickens.

    FWIW as a testament to the heating power of the sun, my little 4x7 lean-to style front run, that I 'greenhouseify' for use as a solar heater in winter, easily gets up to 70-80F when the sun is out, except a bit cooler if it is very cold like -15 F outside, and that's *with* its popdoor and window open so that air is cycling through to heat the coop. Also that is with cheap 6mil building plastic that transmits distinctly less than 100% of available light; clear plastic roofing would be better but every time I buy some I end up using it for something else [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  6. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ack!! Okay - on to plan B I guess. Thank you for the help!
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:If this happens, I really will be scratching my head over "how?" But we'll see, eh?
     
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    elmo- still not clear on where you are located...[​IMG]
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in North Texas (DFW area).

    While our winters aren't very cold, we frequently get sudden temperature shifts. We can easily be in the sixties one day, and in the thirties the next day.
     
  10. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about putting translucent (or white) panels on the roof (that would not make the coop heat up as much but still let in light, right?) And for the coldest three months of the year (I'm in New England, zone 5, where it can go for a bit in the single didgets - but usually not for weeks and weeks at a time) I'll stick a piece of stiff foam insulation or a layer or two of bubble wrap (maybe I'll create a little smaller area of thick insulation right over and around the roost). Remember, its only 2 chickens and I have a lot of ventilation (and I'll stick in in the shade in the summer heat).
     

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