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draft control - flap on poop door?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TaylorC, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. TaylorC

    TaylorC Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 7, 2010
    Fort Collins
    It's getting colder in north CO! I had planned on getting this coop wrapped with insulation, but once I got far enough to have them inside, the summer beckoned with a million things, and now I'm looking for some band-aids.
    I designed this coop with lots of ventilation in mind, but now I'm worried about draft. The roof has exposed rafters, letting the air flow from the low (north) side to the high side, so just yesterday I blocked up the the south side some, going to put up a baffle on the north side so that air can flow but no "blow."
    I'm thinking about some sort of flap/curtain in front of (behind?) the poop door so they can come and go during the day without the breeze blowin' up their bloomers. I have heard (either here or from a local?) that chickens won't go through a curtain like a wool blanket. Is that the case? Should I cut overlaying strips and sew them back on, kind of like the vinyl curtains on commercial walk-in coolers?
    I also need an easy way to insulate this 1/2" plywood nest box that hangs off the south side so they aren't so cold in the morning going in. Maybe just a wool cover for this winter, work on rebuilding to accommodate pink board next year.
    I understand that birds can take down to 12° or something rediculous, so I figure as long as I keep a heatlamp on at night and the water's not frozen in the morning they should be alright.
    Just to make it a little worse, we lost three of our seven to a fox a couple of days ago, so now four little birds have to try and heat a giant 6x6' 4&5' tall coop. Should I rig up some kind of partition to make the space smaller you think? Maybe even just semi-enclose their roost and put the light there?
     
  2. twister

    twister Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2009
    Mississippi
    I think they will be fine as long as you have a way to secure them at night in a dry place. the heat bulb needs to be doubled secured...meaning..i have the clasp AND zip ties to secure it.

    Sorry for your loss.
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Deeper bedding will help keep your reduced number of birds warm, and you can try and see if your birds will adjust to a door flap. But be aware that you should be with them for that- if they refuse to enter the coop they may get cold or suffer without water. Somethng as simple as a wide plank or part of a sheet of plywood can be leaned in front of the opening so long as you can brace it safely. Anything that baffles drafts is a good thing, and you can also make a 'huddle box' for them in the coop- a shelter that they enter which is free of drafts but which has adequate air space for breathing. It can be as simple as a wooden crate with an entryway. We use vinyl on some parts of our run to baffle winter winds, which are predictable to us since we have lived here over 20 years, and we also have an electric dog bowl so that fresh water is always available.

    You can see some ideas in the links below, hope this helps! [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Yup, I can relate, that is about how my life works these days too [​IMG]

    I designed this coop with lots of ventilation in mind, but now I'm worried about draft. The roof has exposed rafters, letting the air flow from the low (north) side to the high side, so just yesterday I blocked up the the south side some, going to put up a baffle on the north side so that air can flow but no "blow."

    What direction are your winter winds usually from? If they're usually from the South then that is the right way to go. But if your colder type winds are usually from the North, you'd want to reverse it. Actually the ideal situation would be to have *removable* "vent blocker uppers", like rags jammed in there or flaps or pieces of wood or something, so that you can rearrange according to weather, having just the downwind vents open unless it's a nice warm day.

    I'm thinking about some sort of flap/curtain in front of (behind?) the poop door so they can come and go during the day without the breeze blowin' up their bloomers. I have heard (either here or from a local?) that chickens won't go through a curtain like a wool blanket. Is that the case? Should I cut overlaying strips and sew them back on, kind of like the vinyl curtains on commercial walk-in coolers?

    In a lot of cases, it is easier to keep direct wind outta the popdoor by means of a windbreak or vestibule outside the coop, rather than a curtain (which doesn't work quite as well as one might wish, usually). So if the popdoor is close enough to a run fence for a solid piece of plastic-plywood-doubledburlap-whatever to be attached upwind of it, or if you could put a coupla haybales in there strategically placed and then staked down with rebar so the stack doesn't fall over on a chicken, or something like that... that'd work well too.

    OTOH yes you can do a curtain. Again, it is only "somewhat" useful, but better than nothing. If you want to try to use a solid curtain you will need to pin it mostly-up (from a corner is good) for some while til the chickens get used to it, then gradually let it down so they get the clue. Not all chickens will learn to go thru a solid drape like that, though. FWIW, personally I use the kind of strip-curtain setup you describe, made from heavy translucent plastic shelf liner from Walmart cut into strips maybe 8-10" wide and overlapped for almost half their width. Start by putting up just ONE strip, then once the chickens are cool with it (days or a week or whatever) add another, and so on til they are using the fully-installed version.

    also need an easy way to insulate this 1/2" plywood nest box that hangs off the south side so they aren't so cold in the morning going in.

    You know I wouldn't really worry about it at this point. It won't be any much colder than the rest of your coop. Just bed it HEAVILY -- the more the eggs are nestled down into a thick fluffy bed of shavings, the slower they'll freeze -- and it'll be fine. If and when you do want to insulate it, I would recommend rigid foamboard (or styrofoam sheets, either bought new or scrounged from stores that got merchandise packed in 'em and are throwing them away) with some scrap plywood or whatever covering over the inside to peckproof the styrofoam.

    I understand that birds can take down to 12° or something rediculous, so I figure as long as I keep a heatlamp on at night and the water's not frozen in the morning they should be alright.

    Trying to heat the COOP to keep the water thawed just does not make any sense energy-wise; neither does putting a heatlamp on above the water (heat *rises* [​IMG]). The most sensible way IMHO to keep your water thawed is to buy or carefully make a heated waterer or heated waterer base. MUCH more efficient use of electricity, and also more apt to reliably result in liquid water [​IMG]

    How cold-tolerant chickens are varies by breed and circumstance, but certainly there are plenty of flocks that have over they years wintered over at like -30 F with no or minimal problems. I am not suggesting you necessarily assume yours will do that <g> but remember they are BIRDS. Take a walk in the woods on a cold midwinter day. There are birds out there doin' just fine and I assure you they are not retiring to heated hollow trees at night. Chickens are somewhat different but not THAT different [​IMG]

    Just to make it a little worse, we lost three of our seven to a fox a couple of days ago, so now four little birds have to try and heat a giant 6x6' 4&5' tall coop. Should I rig up some kind of partition to make the space smaller you think? Maybe even just semi-enclose their roost and put the light there?

    I'm sorry for your loss; but it really doesn't affect your temperature situation meaningfully. Seven birds weren't going to heat that coop up meaningfully *either*. And that is FINE. If you are concerned you can partition off a smaller area around the roost, and if you are contemplating running a lightbulb over the roost at any point this winter that's a smart thing to do anyhow b/c it allows you to use lower wattage and hold the heat near the chickens better; but leave them full *access* to the whole coop. You will find that most of the time, they are happy to be what you'd think oughta be "cold" [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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