Coop ventilation - Central VA

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by victoriamarie1138, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. victoriamarie1138

    victoriamarie1138 Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2010
    Greene County, VA
    My boyfriend and I are slowly working on our coop and are having some disagreements about how much ventilation is necessary. We live in central Virginia, where it gets very humid and fairly warm (pushing 100 several days, with the heat index quite a bit higher) in the summer, but then we get wacky stuff like those blizzards this past winter.

    Our original plan was to leave about a six inch gap under the roof, covered with fencing, to allow air flow. However, I'm starting to feel that's insufficient. Our AC has been out since July, and since trying to sleep in this humid awfulness, I can only imagine what it would feel like in this coop.

    Am I thinking that chickens are more temperature sensitive than they really are, or are we going to need more vent areas?
  2. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Most people worry about their chickens in cold weather (needlessly, for the most part) when it is actually hot weather that is more dangerous. Imagine sleeping in humid awfulness...wearing a down coat that you can't take off!

    Good ventilation can mitigate the heat build up in a coop. At the same time, in the winter good ventilation can actually reduce the risk of frostbite by reducing the moisture in the coop's air. Finally, air quality is very important for a chicken's efficient respiratory system, so good ventilation is also a health issue.

    A good number to shoot for is 1 square foot of ventilaton per chicken that can be left open during winter, which means that it should be up above the heads of the chickens on their roost. For summer, it's good to have more openings right at roost level to catch any cool breeze that might be blowing. These are the openings you'll want to close down in the winter.

    There are additional things you can do to help keep the coop from getting too hot inside in the summer. Put it in the shade, either natural or artificial. Insulate the roof and any walls that will get extended sun with reflective barrier insulation.
  4. victoriamarie1138

    victoriamarie1138 Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2010
    Greene County, VA
    Thanks for the ideas! The coop is going to be in the woods, most likely, so that should help. I think what we're planning for the top should amount to at least 1 sqft per chicken.... I might go back to my old screen door idea for the extra summer vents.

    Thanks again. [​IMG]
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Can you do window type openings w/hardware cloth (in addition to your roofline openings)??? These can have hinged plywood "doors" that would be kept shut over the winter. In hot, humid months, you can't really have too much airflow. Two of these kinds of windows in opposing walls can be a blessing for nighttime roosting in hot summer months...
  6. AnnainMD

    AnnainMD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2010
    Eldersburg, MD
    I live in Maryland and we have the same issues as you. My coop and run are enclosed (with hardware cloth) and they are out ALL DAY in the run from sunrise to sunset. They only go into the coop to eat their feed, lay their eggs and go to sleep. They are outside even when it's raining.
    The MAIN and MOST IMPORTANT factor I have found, is the need for shade. Fortunately, there is shade available in their run at all times of day, but you can actually watch them follow the shade as it moves from place to place. You cannot have enough shade over the run.
    We have pumpkins growing over one side of the run and will be planting a native vine, Passionflower, to cover it perennially.

    Chickens get hot VERY EASILY. The cold is not nearly as big of a deal as HEAT. They can handle cold, they CAN'T handle heat. Patandchickens has an awesome ventilation page. You need lots of ventilation. Good luck.

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