frost on the ceiling!!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by scooter147, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It got down to 4 degrees here last night and this morning when I went to feed and water I noticed I had frost on the ceiling of the coop.
    I guess that means I have too much moisture on the inside???

    I have two vents on each side of the coop, I am not sure what elst to do.
     
  2. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    What are your coop dimensions? Do you use a heat source?

    And most importantly ~ how are your chickens? If everyone is well, that's the main thing.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    There are sort of two possibilities, not mutually exclusive. One is that your coop air is problematically humid in general -- the solution is more ventilation. When you say 'two vents on each side', what size vents are we talking about, for what size coop with how many chickens in it?

    Another (remember, not mutually exclusive) possibility is that your roof/ceiling is getting seriously cold. If it is metal, I guarantee this is part of your problem; if it is plywood (with or without shingles) then maybe or maybe not. The thing is, the colder the ceiling (or any surface in the coop -- walls, window glass, etc) the more it will condense water vapor or frost out of the air. Which you really DON'T want happening, b/c once the humidity is condensed onto a surface in whatever form, it can't exit the coop via air exchange thru your vents.

    I'd seriously consider what I could do to insulate the roof. How exactly to do it depends on its structure. Foamboard is often easiest, with a compatible glue (look on the label of the tube to make sure it is approved for use with foamboard, otherwise it may dissolve its way into the foam!). Extra ventilation might also be necessary, depending on your situation.

    Good luck, have fun, hope this helps,

    Pat
     
  4. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The coop is 8x12, the side walls are 6 feet high going to a peak of about 9 feet.
    The chickens obviously were cold this morning but heck who wasn't in 4 degrees. I did leave the big door open today to try and dry it out. It is currently about 15 to 20 degrees, no wind and sunny so I figured it would be ok.
    I use no heat source, I do use a 100 watt bulb over the water to keep it from freezing.
     
  5. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pat the vents are approx. 6 inches by 12 inches, one on the north side and one on the south side. There are 29 chickens and two ducks in the coop. The rest of the coop is pretty tight.
    The roof is plywood with asphalt shingles.
    The coop is three years old and I don't remember weather this cold here since I had this coop built, my previous coop had a tin roof and I don't remember the issue but it was not nearly as tight at this one.

    I guess I could crack a window?

    I know chickens can with stand pretty cold temps with proper food, water and a draft free shelter.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:That is really kinda insufficient ventilation at all for that size flock. So I'd say that's a substantial part of your problem and really worth fixing. If you ever smell an ammonia-y odor in the coop after it's been shut up a while, either when you walk in or when you bend over to 'chicken level' and disturb the litter, then that means you ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY need more ventilation (if you can smell ammonia, there's enough to be causing chronic damage to the respiratory tract). If you can't smell ammonia, and are sure that it's not just a peculiarity of your nose [​IMG], then it is maybe not as urgent but I'd still really suggest getting on it when you can.

    One thing in your favor is that it's a *high* coop, which means a larger air volume (better air quality, all else being equal) and also the warmed, risen, humidity-carrying air can be encouraged to exit via a good amount of air movemetn without creating drafts down at ground level.

    I guess I could crack a window?

    A reciprocating saw would make a more lasting and weather-appropriate fix [​IMG] Cut some more vents, preferably as large as space between studs permits without going too far down the wall, and make covers for them so you can control which ones are in use at any given time.

    Insulating the roof wouldn't hurt but that is REALLY not enough ventilation for 30 animals so I'd address the ventilation first and then see what happens.

    Good luck,

    Pat​
     
  7. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Pat,
    I never have had an ammonia smell, I use a dropping pit under my roost and clean it at least once a week, usually twice a week now that it is winter and they spend more time in the coop and on the roosts themselves and I use a very thick layer of wood shavings on the floor.
    I will widen the vents this weekend.

    Thanks again, I hope having the people door open all day helps the moisture leave the building.
     
  8. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No frost on the ceiling this morning, YEAH!!!!! of course, the low last night was only 21 degrees and not 4.
    I think leaving the people door open all day yesterday helped.
    So, until I can make my vents bigger I opened the one window on the side of the coop furthest from the roosts about 2 inches to increase air circulation.
     
  9. red star11

    red star11 Out Of The Brooder

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    My vents are about 8 inches wide and i have never had that problem.[​IMG].[​IMG].[​IMG]
     
  10. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

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    Quote:Just so you're comparing apples with apples, is your coop tighltly built, 8'X12' and housing 30 birds?

    If not, then it just sounds like the vents you are using are right for your size coop and the population of breathing birds it houses.

    If your conditions match the original poster's, then it sounds like you have some valuable advice to offer.

    Wayne
     

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