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Confused by difference between ventilation and drafts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChickiChica, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. ChickiChica

    ChickiChica In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2011
    Humboldt County, CA
    What is the difference between verntilation and drafts? I have read so many opinions here that I don't really know anymore. Some people have wire floors. Some people have vents aobve roosts, some below. Some coops semm to have lots of open windows, some seem to have almost none. I feel paralyzed and unsure about how to make sure i have "adequate ventilation, but no drafts". What really is the difference?

    Thanks for any advice! I need to make some adjustments to an inherited coop which has a wire floor, that I think I am going to cover with a wood floor, and only has one small window, besides the open coop door. I think the coop needs more light inside, as well as more ventilation, particularly if I cover the wire floor. I'm just not sure how much, and where to position it. I live in a relatively mild coastal climate, where I am more concernec about dampness (it rains all winter) than low temperatures. The coop is about 3.5 by 4.5, so it's pretty small!

  2. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Ventilation - Intentional transfer of air for benefit

    Draft - Unintentional air flow sucking air through cracks, unsealed doors and windows, creating a "draft" that will remove needed heat (or cooling air)

    Say you have a vent up top to pull warm air out. A draft in the wrong spot can pull that air down by a stronger force, causing heat to build instead of release through the top as desired.

    Or in the winter. Windows are below roost level, to preserve the warmer air above. But there is a leak in the roof somewhere, sucking all that warm air out and freezing the chickens.

    You want good air flow that you can change as needed with the weather. Drafts and air leaks make the plan not work as desired.

    I think I explained that right.

    Ventilation good, draft bad. [​IMG]
  3. jenkassai

    jenkassai Songster

    Apr 28, 2011
    Quote:Whoops! Somehow "submit" got pressed before I typed anything! Anyways, so glad to see this, as we are in the planning stages of our coop. What if you have windows above roost level, and then put a "drop ceiling" over the roost to hold their body heat in?? Or do you always want to have windows below the roost? We are in a cold climate, so we want to be able to keep the cold out but I'm terribly worried we won't have enough ventilation in the winter time [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  4. ChickiChica

    ChickiChica In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2011
    Humboldt County, CA
    Yes, is it better to have the vents above or below the roosts? Does it depend on the season?
  5. spotstealer

    spotstealer Songster

    Mar 11, 2011
    Poynette, WI
    My venting is all in the soffit area. I have a good sized window that is open in mild weather. The venting in the soffit will draw out moisture (bad in the winter) but not create a draft (breezes coming through he coop). I have a wood floor. My coop is built off the ground amd is 4X6 interior space.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you haven't already, you might take a look at my big ol' ventilation page (link in .sig below) which discusses the issue at length and makes some suggestions for designing effective ventilation.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. ChickiChica

    ChickiChica In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2011
    Humboldt County, CA
    I think what I am hearing here is that I should put vents above the roosts that can be opened or closed, and do the same thing lower to the floor, so we can try to control the temperature depending on the season. Besides that, we should caulk or weather-strip corners, etc to make sure there aren't other air leaks. Sound about right?

    Thanks so much everyone!

  8. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    A good winter ventilation will exit up high to take the moisture out and ammonia fumes out and introduce fresh air from the bottom (the chicken's door) but when the cold comes in thru the upper vent, you don't want it to fall on roosting birds. Having adjustable vents or simply ones that close really help you to adjust to changing seasons.

    A good situation would be chickens roosting on the wall that the wind comes from and a vent in the gable on the opposite end of the coop. As the wind passes over the coop it will create a slight vacuum and draw out the dirty damp air thru the gable vent and the coops air supply will be refilled thru a opening at the floor (either a open chicken door or a vent.

    Windchill has very little effect on birds (it's a measure of effect on exposed skin) and temps do not play a huge part in this as chickens are comfortable to about 0 degrees. If a chicken gets cold it will roost next to another bird or under a heat lamp if available.
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    IT is complicated! Do read Pats page; draft is when the winds blow on the birds and makes them cold (chilled); I do think they like a bit of breeze sometimes when it is hot.

    Ventilation is an inlet opening low in the coop, with an outlet opening high. It allows for a slow exchange of air in the coop using the natural flow of warm rising warm air.

    Ammonia and humid air must be removed; birds expell more moisture per pound body weight than mammals. Air in the coop must be dry enough to reduce the risk of lung infections.

    So your idea of opening a wall is helpful if you are closing the floor. You may want to rethink closing the floor as the droppings also contain a huge amount of moisture and by falling thru the floor are reducing the moisture at the level that the birds are breathing. You can still open a wall and close it some or all during very bad weather.

    Honestly, most people build coops and barns too tight without enough air flow, then wonder why the animals are getting sick with pnemonia and such. This happened at the Univeristy of Maine sheep barn: spent a bundle to refurbish and close up a very old barn, the sheep became sick with pnemonia, they opened up the barn for much more ventilation (it was very cold actually) and poof, no more pnemonia.

    Protect from chilling winds; move enough air thru to eliminate ammonia smell and moisture.

    (It took me some thinking about this too to figure it out, so are not alone. GL)

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