Coop Vents and Windows in cold climate

MizzHen

Chirping
Mar 29, 2017
26
2
59
Appleton, Wisconsin
I'm in the process of constructing my first chicken coop. It's for 6 chickens and is 5 ft x 5.5 ft. This is what I have so far. I plan to cut a window in on the south side for year round sunlight. I havent decided if I will make it an open/close window or just a pane of plexy-glass. I'm thinking of making white panels in the peaks vents. Would one vent be enough or should I make a vent on both sides? I don't want it to get too drafty either. The panels are about a foot high and 4 feet wide. Two vents will be great in summer, but should I board one up for the winter and just use one vent? There's plenty of room to hang a heat lamp as well, but I'd like to try and get by without. Any other suggestions welcome! Thanks! P.S. I live in Wisconsin, where winters are cold!

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peopleRanimals2

Songster
Jun 30, 2015
654
99
121
Rhode Island
Hi! Proper ventilation is always good, even in the winter. In the colder months, ammonia and moisture can build up in the coop, causing frostbite and many other problems. I would recommend going ahead and adding the extra vents. :)
 

cholland

Songster
5 Years
Jan 17, 2017
282
478
162
California
You want ventilation without drafts. Consider the prevailing wind direction. You don't want it to blow through the coop. Yet have plenty of fresh air without loosing too much heat in winter. It's harder to do with a smaller coop.

I would vent your peak areas and close one in winter as you mention. I would want a window that could open, or maybe just hardware cloth with a way to slide in plexi for winter?

Nice solid looking coop.

If you ever decide to build a larger coop, look up the Woods Fresh Air Poultry House design. There are a couple of people on here that have built them. Search Woods House.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Waiting for Autumn
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
49,554
92,993
1,572
Wisconsin
Definitely install ventilation. I personally would go for a window that opens and closes. South facing windows are best in winter for a nice sunny spot, and for those days your chickens can't go outside. In summer a good cross breeze will be welcomed by your chickens.

I would skip any ideas of heat lamps. They aren't necessary and would be dangerous in such a confined area. I have never had a chicken freeze to death here in central Wisconsin. The roosters can get frostbite, and toes can get frostbite, so use 2x4 for roosts and put the 4 up.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
8 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,084
831
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Definitely install ventilation. I personally would go for a window that opens and closes. South facing windows are best in winter for a nice sunny spot, and for those days your chickens can't go outside. In summer a good cross breeze will be welcomed by your chickens.

I would skip any ideas of heat lamps. They aren't necessary and would be dangerous in such a confined area. I have never had a chicken freeze to death here in central Wisconsin. The roosters can get frostbite, and toes can get frostbite, so use 2x4 for roosts and put the 4 up.

X 2
If you're going to have a window you might as well have one that opens/closes as you can benefit not only from light but also extra ventilation/cooling air movement in the warmer months. You can still do plexi-glas windows and design them to be open/close, you don't have to use a pre-fab window.
This is the coop that is currently under construction here at our place -- the windows (one on either side wall) are hinged at the top and can be opened to any degree desired with the use of a prop stick or latched at full open with a hook/eye that is mounted above each window.
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I also had it built with another window in the door -- with the whole door closed it's a light allowing window, with the top part of the door open it reveals a large screened opening that allows for great air flow.
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Dedicated ventilation is along the eaves on both sides and at the top of the back.
As noted above - there is no need for heat in even the coldest climates provided the birds are of good health, fully feathered and provided shelter that allows their natural insulation to do it's job. Adding heat is, imo, more of a risk than a benefit.
 
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Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,660
4,005
476
NEK, VT
I'm thinking of making white panels in the peaks vents. Would one vent be enough or should I make a vent on both sides? I don't want it to get too drafty either. The panels are about a foot high and 4 feet wide. Two vents will be great in summer, but should I board one up for the winter and just use one vent?

That's a huge gable vent and they are not cheap nor is that size required. Large openings create passive air exchange. It's inefficient. To get the air flowing I'd use a 2 1/2 or 3 " hole saw (attach to drill) and punch out 4 holes on each side along the eave top. Your coop has two panels- put two holes top of each. Then cut out a triangle in both gables. Bottom of triangle 8 inches wide and your sides would be about 6 inches with that pitch. Cover all those openings with hardware cloth on the inside so it looks pretty.

What that will do is create a natural vacuum drawing in air from the side holes that mixes with the moist air in coop and is pushed out the gable vents. This constant convection air flow will keep the coop dry and your birds frost free. The holes are small enough not to create drafts and large enough to move plenty of air through the coop via convection to keep them healthy.
 

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