Coop issues/frostbite concerns

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Heni Penny, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. Heni Penny

    Heni Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi - we just received our avg 1.5 year old chickens 2 weeks ago. I was reading on another post, frost on the inside of the coop window is bad (too moist inside). It's super cold here in Mi today (felt like -5 at 8am, actually 11 degrees). Our coop is made of fir and I have pine down for bedding. It's a deep layer that I turn over 2x or more per day. Heated waterer. Chickens are molting. Adding straw tomorrow.

    Should I premtively put bag balm on their feet/combs?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The big thing I saw in your post was frost on the inside of windows. Can you open your windows? If you can, do so.

    They need big ventilation.
     
  3. Heni Penny

    Heni Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Here's a picture of the side of the coop. These can open (one opened and one closed in the picture) but the window that had frost this am cannot be opened. It is currently 16 degrees out and "feels like" 1. Should I really open a window?[​IMG]
     
  4. SunkenRoadFarms

    SunkenRoadFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is that your only ventalation? It looks like you have a covered run, some vents high near the peak on that wall would really help expel wet air but eliminate drafts.
     
  5. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Take some plastic sheeting (or even a hank of tarp) and staple-gun over one of the windows leaving about 3-4" open. Choose whichever of those two windows that will not create a "breezy draft" where they roost. If you're experiencing frost on the inside of that window then yes, you do not have adequate ventilation in there. Chickens will not die from the cold...in fact they do well down to -20 without any heat in the coop. It's the humid/moist conditions that'll get them. You would be quite surprised at how much heat chickens produce on their own. Example: the other night it got down to -6 degrees, but inside my unheated coop it was registering 32 degrees. Question: how many chickens do you have in there?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  6. Heni Penny

    Heni Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    4 hens, 1 rooster
     
  7. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, I don't think your birds are 'crowded' by any means then. Your problem with moisture is most likely your coop is just too dang 'tight'. Ventilation is the key. I saw from your pic those two main windows....are there any 'ventilation holes' up at the top of the coop line?
     
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  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Once again I agree wholeheartedly with iwiw. SHE'S usually pretty spot on with HER advice. Ventilation is absolutely the key - not a draft and not located in a spot where it ruffles their feathers, but enough to allow the warmer, moist air out. To do that effectively you need air flow - not wind, but air flow. That means exit points for that warm, moist air above their heads so the cold, moist air doesn't settle directly on them.

    I noticed you said that you turn the litter over twice per day. Is there a reason you do that, maybe an ammonia odor? If there is an odor, that's another sign that your coop is too airtight and is holding damp air instead of letting it escape. You shouldn't have to turn it over that often. Part of the reason for the deep pine shavings is to absorb moisture from the feces, drying it out where it lands, rather than letting that moisture escape into the air. All of us who use deep litter turn it over on occasion, or toss some scratch in to let the chickens do the work for us, but we don't feel we need to do it twice a day. If your reason for turning it over so often is just your personal choice, that's fine, but if it's because you are detecting an even slight ammonia or "chicken house" smell, then your air circulation is definitely inadequate.

    Try iwiw's suggestion about the plastic on the window, so there is air flow but not a direct breeze on them. Or, when the weather warms up a bit, drill some ventilation holes up near the top and cover them with hardware cloth. I have three windows, one on each of three sides so I can have the downwind ones open a crack at all times and close the one where the wind is coming from. I also have open areas between the rafters and the walls, and a gable vent on the east side, up high. I usually keep the pop door to their run open - their run is warmer than the coop simply because it's wrapped in clear plastic, ala greenhouse style. Our temps have been below zero for a week now - getting as low as -16 - and my chickens are doing just fine. Good luck! I hope you can resolve your condensation problem.
     
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  9. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    I hadn't thought about him/her turning over their floor bedding every day. That just might be the key to this problem. If you are having problems with ammonia smell it could be your bedding needs to be cleaned out and start over with fresh. Me personally? I use pine wood shavings..makes the coop smell so fresh! You might also sprinkle some Sweet PDZ granular in with your bedding...that stuff is a miracle worker for 'sponging up moisture'....

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Heni Penny

    Heni Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    I turn it over twice daily because, I'm crazy. I have not noticed a smell.

    Should I add straw?

    Thanks for all of your help!
     

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