Coop Ventilation for Winter... frostbite?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by simple smiths, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. simple smiths

    simple smiths Just Hatched

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    Good day to all,

    After reading some on humidity and frostbite due to lack of ventilation in the coop, can someone tell me if we will be ok? 16hrs till we transfer them out to the coop in east-central Ohio.

    Building is a 20x40' coop with the new coop being in a corner and 5x7'. Ceiling in the corner coop is 4.5' in the rear and 7' in the front. Venting is limited for winter, 2 125w heat lamps.

    Granny says we need to put plastic on the outside of the netting to keep in warmth but after reading on this site I am questioning it...
    Also, I plan to seal the rear vent seen in the pic, maybe this should be left open?

    Hope pics help, thanks for any advice for our cute new chicks.

    [​IMG]

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  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Most questions are related to too many chickens in too little space. Your problem is on the other end of the spectrum. A huge house for only three chicks.

    In that much space, your ventilation is fine. In the short run, what you need to be concerned about is keeping the chicks warm and alive. They will feather out in about 5 weeks or so, but until then, you need a brooder setup to keep them warm. If Granny is still around, ask her what they used as a hover or brooder cover? One of the better ones you can build is demonstrated by a sometimes BYC contributor Robert:

    http://www.plamondon.com/wp/build-200-chick-brooder-two-hours-20/

    Note this can be as small as 2' x 2' and using the smallest reflector bulbs you can find. They can be red reflector bulbs to back on any pecking issues.

    So the deal is a very small confined space to confine a limited amount of heat. Birds can come and go or hang out under there in a place that is comfortable to them. TWO small light bulbs, in case one of them burns out which would put them at immediate risk of freezing (don't put all your eggs in one basket). Use the same bulbs and setup as Robert explains. Heat lamps would be too big for this. These need to be smaller, rugged, reflector type floodlight bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs don't generate the radiant heat used to power the system.

    Can you provide a photo of the exterior of this chicken house? I'm curious to see how it was ventilated in general and how the windows were arranged to let in light.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Might need plastic on walls to block any breezes/drafts from blowing directly onto chicks, but not to 'hold heat'.
    I don't think ventilation is going to be an issue in that large of a building.
    How many chicks and how old are they??
    Meat birds or layers?


    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.


    Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  4. simple smiths

    simple smiths Just Hatched

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    Here are the requested pics, and one of the current in-house brooder. Not sure if these are for laying or meat or whatnot... just got one at the store for my wife Tuesday... then it really didn't being alone, so we bought 2 more. Would like to go get a handful more once this in-coop coop is ready.
    *Granny said they had a large metal brooder outside the coop until they were ready. This coop building could handle 200hens, they use to run 100-150 in it, and it was divided into 3 large coops in the building with runs (long forgotten) out the back.

    [​IMG]
    ^ Current in-house brooder, 60w lamp.

    [​IMG]
    ^Rear of the farms large coop (in which we made a coop)

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    ^ There are to gable-end vents, and the roller door leaks a good deal. Besides that and the small rear vents it is sealed up rather well.

    [​IMG]
    ^20x45'

    [​IMG]
    5.5x7.5' coop we made yesterday. Plan to put plastic on the outside higher up during these cold months.

    [​IMG]
    ^ We did give it an 8" raised floor, non-insulated.

    [​IMG]
    ^With the lights 30" off the floor, this morning the thermo only read 59' and the floor did not feel warm at all.

    [​IMG]
    ^100w waterer so not to freeze.

    [​IMG]
    After this I moved the lights to about 20" off the floor and will see what happens.

    [​IMG]

    I read up on the box brooder and might attempt depending on results. I am thinking of using a milk crate for the box...

    Thanks for the advice to all!
     
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the pictures. I am always curious about the "old school" houses built back when. However, this one looks like it has been modified a lot from back when.

    Is it possible both sliding doors on the front have been added to cover up what would have been window and ventilation openings? If this historic house needs anything at this point, it is window openings to let in natural sunlight for both light and warmth. I suspect there was also a lot more ventilation back then.

    It also appears any roosts and nest boxes are long gone.

    It has a full concrete floor?

    *****************

    The current "brooder cage" may work for your brooder hover, even in the enclosed coop area.

    DO NOT continue to use your heat lamps using the clamps. Those are easy to get knocked off. If you continue to use them, use the loops on the lamps to securely hang them from the rafters above and use something non flammable like baling wire or a light chain. No string or twine.

    If that isn't warning enough to scare the pants off you, spend a few moments reading through this thread:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1145876/dont-use-heat-bulbs
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  6. simple smiths

    simple smiths Just Hatched

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    Some windows would be nice. Before the chicks go in today I plan to cut a new door for the run, and use plexiglass to reseal it for winter. Then they will get some light, and I won't have to sawzaw a hole with a bunch of chickens running around.

    The current heat lamps are putting the floor at 70' easy. Think I will swap one 125w out for a 250w and all should be just fine.

    As an electrician, I fully understand the issues with heat lamps. I put screws into the studs where the clamps go on to ensure they cannot be knocked off the stud.

    Thanks for the advice!


    SO it's warming the bedding now, and we are going to make the final modifications. Will put the 3 chicks and the new chicks in later today. I do not plan to use the house brooder box in the coop.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Proper brooder house. Make heat lamp attachment points redundant. Heat lamp number can be based on number of chicks rather than area to be heated. You will have some fun with chicks telling you what height heaters need to be. Smaller groups of chicks are tougher to heat than larger groups.
     
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Then you know not to use teflon coated "rugged" light bulbs as they outgas CO2 which will kill the birds.
    Best Success,
    Karen
     
  9. simple smiths

    simple smiths Just Hatched

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