Coop design tips for cold weather (wanted tips)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Firefyter-Emt, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. Firefyter-Emt

    Firefyter-Emt Songster

    I am still mulling a coop design that will be built possiably this fall, maybe this spring. I plan to build this once and build it right. I do a lot of cabinet & carpentry work so that is not an issue.

    Some of my questions are around ventilation right now. How much and how little is the thing I ponder now. A plastic ridge vent would help get some hot air out in the summer, but there is no easy to shut it for the winter, do I need to allow some air movement in the winter here in NE Connecticut or should I plan to shut it up tight?

    I would like to not heat the coop in the winter so it will get some insulation in the walls, but without a ridge vent I do not want to insulate the roof. From what I understand this should be fine as some do not even insulate or heat. I am planning on Barred Rocks and RI Reds so far. (still in the planning stages)

    Can I get away with just two small open windows (caged) in the summer even if they are on the same wall? Or would I need to re-think this and add cross venting?
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    For summer, you definitely need cross ventilation. And you still need some ventilation in the winter as well since they respire and the moisture must get out along with odors for air quality inside. I have vents that run all the way the length of my 20' coop at the top of the wall, with hinged doors that can be hooked at the top to stay open or be closed down. They are about 8" high, PLUS I have three windows and another vent on the back of the coop for cross ventilation, but that one is one of those meant to go in a crawlspace wall that you can open or close.
    Here is a picture of when we were building the addition to our original 8x8 coop-see those vents? Even with all windows and vents open, this heat is almost unbearable this summer.
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I have to agree with Cynthia. You will need ventilation in the winter as well. I have the same design in one of my coops, as of the wall vents. Sure lets alot of the heat out. Cross ventilation is crucial in the summer heat. My Buff Orpingtons coop, has openings on all 4 sides, and in this heat, with fans going, and a dirt/gravel floor, it is STILL 104 in the coop. Its just tooo hot!!
  4. Firefyter-Emt

    Firefyter-Emt Songster

    So just how much air will be needed for winter? We are normaly around the 20 to 30's , but can go down to sub zero for days at a time. That looks like a LOT of open heat loss in the winter to me.

    I am leaning towards a saltbox type design now, could I get away with open roof venting like this for the cold??

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Remember, every one of my long vents can close down in winter, so there is no heat loss, but they absolutely must have some ventilation in winter. In subzero weather, those little vents on each end of your saltbox may be enough, if you do not overcrowd your coop-the more birds, the more ventilation needed. I live in the mountains and we go into the single digits for several days in the winter and I still crack a section of those long vents and prop it with a piece of wood or something so it isn't open all the way, just a crack. They do better in cold than they will do in extreme heat, believe me. Here is a picture of how my long vents are held open-I can open them by however much I want by propping something in the opening, too.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  6. Firefyter-Emt

    Firefyter-Emt Songster

    FYI... that is not the shed I have, but an idea of the basic design. I can go with the side wall vents of a full ridge vent, heck even both, but unlike a window it will be hard to close off if it was too much air flow. That is the reason I am trying to figure this out now before I commit to one or the other so keep the opinions comming. [​IMG]

    Oh, and I just thought, I can also make the upper wall vents square frame with a closeable door that could be opened or closed too.

    And I just found this... Cool!

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I see your point, but I myself don't have any ridge vent due to the shed roof. All my ventilation is easy to close off completely or partially. I wonder if you maybe should do one or two of those black plastic turtleback looking things, if you know what I'm talking about, to let hot air escape rather than a ridge vent? Then in winter, you could cover them and just have the adjustable ventilation to contend with in the cold weather. I'm sure others will have suggestions for you, too.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  8. seedcorn

    seedcorn Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    NE. IN
    My chicken house is salt box design except I made the skirt about 2' wide so that when it's raining I can stand underneath it and open door. I put the door in the front rather than the side. My run/chicken entrance is on the side.

    For cold winters, there is enough ventilation naturally. Of course I'm not a good carpenter. Plus I have mice problems for they seem to want to add extra unplanned for and un-asked for ventilation..........
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I do like that Lancaster Chicken Coop-adorable! Lots of windows that you can open or close and vary the airflow amts. How many bird are you thinking about? Remember to have 4 sq ft inside for each standard size chicken.
  10. Firefyter-Emt

    Firefyter-Emt Songster

    Well I had been planning on a 8'x8' coop, but I am also pondering building to 8'x12'. I plan to have fifteen layers and ten meat chickens which in an "ideal" world, the 8'x12' is best suited @ twenty four chickens @ 4sqft. However, the 8x8 is suited best for sixteen chickens which is a hair over what I plan to "carry over" barring any losses of course.

    What do you think? Where I plan to process ten once they are big enough, can I get away with the 8'x8'? I want to be able to keep the coop unheated this winter and I feel that that the 8'x8' coop would work the best.

    Next thought is this, If I plan on a coop designed for sixteen, come spring, would the layers be just fine with some "coop mates?" (IE: 10 meat chicks) I would plan to have an area where they could be seperated from the layers while in the coop, but how long do they need to be seperated?

    Thoughts?? I know I need to learn a bit more about bringing in the new meat chicks so any tips would be great there. I assume at one point they will be old enough to roost in the coop without the "cage," Right?

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