Drafty vs. Well Ventilated

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MichelleT, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. MichelleT

    MichelleT Songster

    Sep 20, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Can someone please clarify the difference between a coop that has drafts (bad) and one that is well ventilated (good)? As cold weather sets in, we want to make sure we have the latter! We thought it was well ventilated (in the summer) but now are concerned that may it may be too much so.
    1 person likes this.
  2. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    I've been researching that too for my small coop. What I did was allow venting out the top in a shielded area. That way the wind will never blow directly on them, but the warm, humid air can get out. My window vents are all closed for the winter, because they would allow drafts. The entrance at the top of the ramp also now has a flap over it.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  3. nikicolorado

    nikicolorado In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2014
    We are hitting low temps here - in the teens and single digits - and made a few adjustments. We added some extra bedding - pine shavings on the floor and shredded paper in the nesting boxes (I have observed my hens and so far they have not shown any interest in eating the paper, as some do, which can cause impacted crop) and swapped the summer screen door for a solid winter door. The coop now has three closed sides, and one open side (with a small open door). We do have plenty of ventilation from one side near the top and a roof vent with a cap. The roosts and nesting boxes are on closed sides, so the hens can be out of the draft - any movement of air through the side vents and out the roof does not hit them where they sleep or lay. They are doing well with the big weather change so far - laying and behaving as expected...I will continue to check for any moisture retention in the coop, as well as any frostbite or signs of extreme cold in the hens. (I can take some pics in the morning too.)

    Here is some info I found helpful:

  4. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    You need good venting in your coop ceiling to rid the coop air of all this unwanted, moist air. If you don't put in good ventilation, during those really cold winter nights, all this moisture is going to rise up to the ceiling since warm air rises, and if it has no place to go, it will fall back down as water or frost making your birds very cold and uncomfortable.

    The ideal way to create good venting is put in 1 square foot per bird of venting in the roof. Split it half and half on either side of the ceiling, one vent higher than the other. If the coop ceiling is not very high then position the roosts lower to the ground. You don't want any venting near the floor. This will create drafts. So what really does this do? It makes it so the moist air from the chickens slowly rises into this positive air coming in the lower vent and out the upper vent. Birds themselves put out heat. So they literally are roosting in a nice warm bubble of air. The moist air rises and goes out these vents. You don't want to disturb this air space around the birds with drafts. So make sure to seal up all cracks above the birds a foot or two.

    Venting can be worked on those cold winter nights by closing off some of the lower vents to slow air movement in the coop. You never want to close off the higher vents. You will not retain much heat by closing off the vents, but you will keep the birds drier, especially if it is a bitterly cold night and you use heat lamps. Hot air meeting cold air creates condensation, so keep the air moving to prevent this.

    ~Thanks to Two Crows for the info.
    3 people like this.
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. Toddrick and Mountain Peeps have nailed your question for you. Feathers are wonderful insulators against cold, but you want to prevent moisture from building up in the coop as moisture is far more dangerous to your chickens than cold. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in preparing your coop for winter.
  7. MichelleT

    MichelleT Songster

    Sep 20, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Okay. So the small coop (20 sq feet for 5 hens) has one vent at the top of the coop that is about 4"x4". It faces north but the wind is blocked somewhat as a wall of the run is about 5 feet from the coop on the north side. There are small spaces where the corrugated roofing attaches to the edge of the coop on the east side. The roost (on which only 3 hens roost... the others prefer one of the nesting boxes) is not directly in line with the vent, but close. The coop is not heated, and my intention was not to do so. My husband can add more venting, if need be, to the south side of the coop.

    Right now another concern is that they refuse to leave the coop. The water (which is heated to the point of non-freezing) is outside, so this is a problem, obviously. If I pick them up and take them out to the water (which I've had to do with them to show them a. that the coop was their nighttime shelter and b. they can climb up on the roost) then cold air gets in the coop. I'm thinking that water is more important than warmth...
  8. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Songster

    May 18, 2013
    Omak, Washington
    My Coop
    Soffit vents all around the coop....


    Lower air inlets on the NON windy side of the coop.... One screened and the other the door to the run.... I have 2 screened air inlets on the man door... they are blocked off in the winter as they face north.... one upper and one lower...


    The lower air inlets are on the left side of this picture..... One other thing I did was staple weed barrier cloth above the roost and poop board .... that stops the wind but allows for ventilation directly above the chickens....

    2 people like this.
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Mountain Peeps has given you some excellent advice. If it is brutally cold outside, they may not want to go outside. So you might keep the water and food inside the coop during the cold spell. When it is warm enough for them to venture out of doors, you can put the food and water back outside. If it is really cold out, never force them to go outside.

    Good luck with your flock and if you have any further questions, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
  10. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!

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