enclosing coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bam62, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. bam62

    bam62 New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2011
    My husband built a beautiful coop this summer with venting across top of east and west walls that we stapled netting to. He is insisting that we need to close this off to keep coop warm. The walls are insulated and I'm using deep litter technique. Winter temps run mid 20's but can get stretches of below 0. What are the thoughts of leaving vents open? Would the girls be warm enough??
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The coop MUST vent, that is, exhaust the humidity and the ammonia. It is not an option. Close it up "tight" enough in an ill-advised attempt to "keep them warm", and they'll fog it up. The relative humidity will be high. Chickens exhale. They poop. This humidity would bother them and create the perfect scenario for frostbite, which is what? Frozen humidity. Scrape frozen dew, or frost off our cars in the morning? Same thing.

    There must be vents left open to exhaust this humidity and the bad air. Re-think. I know it is hard to believe that chicken do fine in below zero temps, but there are a number, a goodly number of current threads here on that very topic, complete with crazy northern Michiganders, New Englanders, Canadians, and Alaskans who would bear testimony of success in very cold climates.
     
  3. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Agreed with Freds Hens. Completely.

    The only addition I would add is to make sure that there are no direct draft on the chickens as they roost. So, if your roost bars run north-south (and vents are east-west), you'd want to cover the small portion which is over the chickens. If the roost bars are parallel to the vents, you'll likely have no problems. However, make sure the chickens are NOT in direct contact with the wind all night long. (or bad weather day long too)
     
  4. SandyK

    SandyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eldersburg, Maryland
    We have soffits on both long sides of our coop, 16 ft., plus the large windows in the back of the coop I leave cracked at the top for ventilation. They went through last winter fine. I think I only used a heater once, most likely because I'm a worry wort [​IMG]
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    There does need to be some ventilation. If it's a nasty, icy, windy night that's 0 degrees will it kill your chickens if you block off a vent opening overnight?? No. But in general you'll want to keep some wintertime ventilation. If you have a LOT of space per bird in your coop and clean daily, then you can generally get by with less. For example, last winter my birds had about 8 sq. ft each of coop space, and I scraped off their dropping boards daily (and picked up droppings in bedding as I saw it). I had all but one small vent (16x8" I believe) covered up over night times - pop door open daytimes - and the humidity out there generally stayed in the 50% or below area, which is good. If I'd had more chickens or less space, there's no way the humidity would have stayed that low out there (humidity plus icy conditions is generally what contributes to frost bite and such). You can cover vents with a loose woven frabric to block/deflect winds, but still allow that warm moist air to escape...that's one idea.
     
  6. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are not in the least affected by 0 degrees. I would leave the vents open, no doubt about it. There is no place in the US to cold for chickens to live outside in a tree. Put them in a coop, with food water, and block the wind a bit and they are perfectly happy in temperatures SIGNIFICANTLY lower than 0. like 40 degrees lower. You do not need to add any heat to the coop except under the most extreme circumstances, which very, very few of us, if any, experience.

    For what its worth, no poop board, deep litter method cleaned only in the spring, sprinkle of DE, and the shutters on our coop stay open all year. In addition there is a 12" opening on the inside and top of front wall. You simply can not have too much ventilation. you can't really see the vents on my page, but that coop is plenty good at -38. There is also a window on the north side that stays open 365 with the exception of snow storms but that is just to keep blowing snow from filling up the coop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  7. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Hi, I totally agree with your comments other than about temp. and ventilation but not on , "no poop boards". I would have to ask how big is your coop, how many and what breeds do you have that you can get by with no way of removing poop build up except in spring. You would have a pile of poop 3' high under your roosts in that time span. I don't see it working if you had 28 girls all roosting withing 10' lineal feet as we do. Not possible. We have what I call poop trays below the roosts and clean weekly and I will tell you it is a good bit of poop that accululates in a week, so again I ask! How big is your coop and how many girls live in it? I don't want to see people reading threads with people giving advice that is misleading or won't work for their situation. Just my opinion.
    Erik
     
  8. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Meat to say on temp. and ventilation, but not on the use of Poop boards. Sorry
     
  9. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:26 birds +/- 8x9 coop, free range in the day. And no we don't have 3' of poo, that is simply an exaggerated, and therefore ridiculous, argument. We add bedding as do most deep litter method users. We use DE regularly to keep things dry. It works for us, and it works very well. A cold dry coop is what we want in the winter. If the litter gets too deep, I'll change it. But have never had to. If you don't want to see people telling what they do then don't read it. Just because you do not agree does not mean it is not possible to practice, you simply choose not to. The same goes for me. Some one else told what they do, I gave my opinion and philosophy and told them they are welcome to look at my page for what we do. I am certain that the OP is intelligent enough to design their situation around what they think is best, and work under the assumption that they do not need protected from the evils of bad advise. If they do, they should probably not be raising animals anyway, but I seriously doubt that is the case. If you don't agree GREAT!!!! Lots of opinions and different findings just show how diverse and adaptable chickens are. They can and do live in -38 and lower with howling winds, deep snow, in a wire coop. And they are just fine, I have seen it with my own eyes. I assure you we are not torturing and murdering chickens at my ranch, they are happy, healthy, vibrant members of our extended animal family.

    Not directed at you --- but just for good measure --- You absolutely do not have to add heat, period. Some people just can't handle their emotions and 'think' they are cold, when in fact they are not. If you base your decisions on that FACT, then your design and practices become much less difficult. If you CHOOSE to add heat, by all means do so, but you do not HAVE to.

    It is more important to base your decisions upon what the animal can and does live in, rather than be influenced by paradigms and dogmas. There are VERY few areas of the US that get EXTREME cold, wind and snow. Most folks on this site really haven't a clue what chickens are capable of because they live in a much more hospitable environment (I often wonder why I don't BTW). So I try to tell people what I have seen and experienced. My situation may not work for a great many people, I agree, but I think there are an even larger number of folks who do way too much (because of comments and 'advise given on this very site), and may not have the time to enjoy their animals because of people who say you HAVE to or should provide heat, you have to or should clean poo weekly, and you HAVE to or should have poo boards. It simply is not true. Raising chickens is really very easy, I believe they should be one of the easiest animals you raise, they should not be a burden, worry or task. They should be FUN!!! And they are if managed to THEIR capabilities, and left to be chickens (not children), they are not a pain in the tail.

    Again, it is my opinion your are welcome to take or leave it as you see fit. I will offer my help if asked, and remain COMPLETELY un-offended if you do not take it. Quite honestly I would rather you tell me you do not agree, so we can discuss it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  10. chickenmadnessainmind

    chickenmadnessainmind Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 19, 2011
    wyododge
    Today 7:20 pm
    fireguy56 wrote:

    Hi, I totally agree with your comments other than about temp. and ventilation but not on , "no poop boards". I would have to ask how big is your coop, how many and what breeds do you have that you can get by with no way of removing poop build up except in spring. You would have a pile of poop 3' high under your roosts in that time span. I don't see it working if you had 28 girls all roosting withing 10' lineal feet as we do. Not possible. We have what I call poop trays below the roosts and clean weekly and I will tell you it is a good bit of poop that accululates in a week, so again I ask! How big is your coop and how many girls live in it? I don't want to see people reading threads with people giving advice that is misleading or won't work for their situation. Just my opinion.
    Erik
    26 birds +/- 8x9 coop, free range in the day. And no we don't have 3' of poo, that is simply an exaggerated, and therefore ridiculous, argument. We add bedding as do most deep litter method users. We use DE regularly to keep things dry. It works for us, and it works very well. A cold dry coop is what we want in the winter. If the litter gets too deep, I'll change it. But have never had to. If you don't want to see people telling what they do then don't read it. Just because you do not agree does not mean it is not possible to practice, you simply choose not to. The same goes for me. Some one else told what they do, I gave my opinion and philosophy and told them they are welcome to look at my page for what we do. I am certain that the OP is intelligent enough to design their situation around what they think is best, and work under the assumption that they do not need protected from the evils of bad advise. If they do, they should probably not be raising animals anyway, but I seriously doubt that is the case. If you don't agree GREAT!!!! Lots of opinions and different findings just show how diverse and adaptable chickens are. They can and do live in -38 and lower with howling winds, deep snow, in a wire coop. And they are just fine, I have seen it with my own eyes. I assure you we are not torturing and murdering chickens at my ranch, they are happy, healthy, vibrant members of our extended animal family.

    Not directed at you --- but just for good measure --- You absolutely do not have to add heat, period. Some people just can't handle their emotions and 'think' they are cold, when in fact they are not. If you base your decisions on that FACT, then your design and practices become much less difficult. If you CHOOSE to add heat, by all means do so, but you do not HAVE to.

    It is more important to base your decisions upon what the animal can and does live in, rather than be influenced by paradigms and dogmas. There are VERY few areas of the US that get EXTREME cold, wind and snow. Most folks on this site really haven't a clue what chickens are capable of because they live in a much more hospitable environment (I often wonder why I don't BTW). So I try to tell people what I have seen and experienced. My situation may not work for a great many people, I agree, but I think there are an even larger number of folks who do way too much (because of comments and 'advise given on this very site), and may not have the time to enjoy their animals because of people who say you HAVE to or should provide heat, you have to or should clean poo weekly, and you HAVE to or should have poo boards. It simply is not true. Raising chickens is really very easy, I believe they should be one of the easiest animals you raise, they should not be a burden, worry or task. They should be FUN!!! And they are if managed to THEIR capabilities, and left to be chickens (not children), they are not a pain in the tail.

    Again, it is my opinion your are welcome to take or leave it as you see fit. I will offer my help if asked, and remain COMPLETELY un-offended if you do not take it. Quite honestly I would rather you tell me you do not agree, so we can discuss it.


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