How much vent is enough? How does that change from winter to summer?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by treeman52, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. treeman52

    treeman52 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2010
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    I live in north Louisiana, hot, humid summers then it gets down to about mid twenties sometimes in winter. I am trying to design a hen house, about eight hens, I don't know how tight to make it. How much ventilation , closing glass windows or hardware cloth windows with wood doors over them. need input thanks.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    In a hot climate like yours I'd use a lot of ventilation. The 20 degrees you'll get in winter is nothing for a chicken to withstand. The summer is your big worry and that's going to take a good ventilation plan to keep the coop as cool as it is outside. Rigid insulation on the ceiling and no glass window would significantly reduce solar over heating too.

    Recomended roof slopes is 4:12 to 6:12 allowing fast yet proper mixing of air inside coop with vents on each eave and gables. The total gable area venting should equal each eave vent. A minimum # to use would be 19 SQ inches total for gables and along each eave. That would satisfy a min air flow required for 8 chcikens in no wind enviornment. I used 5 times less than that as Northern NH has very cold winters and good wind flow. The summers here don't get much over 80 and can easily pull off the clean out access door for more venting mid summer.
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    BTW, the high here yesterday was 18 F. The girls stayed in the run all day then trudged about in the snow finding areas of grass under toys and shrubs about the yard when I let em out to stretch before nightfall. Honestly 20 F is nothing for a chicken, they don't even act cold, no squating together for warmth yet. Last nights low was 8 F. My wee venting is in prep for January/Febuary when we see 2 weeks of -10 F and high artic winds.

    Rereading I see your going with hardware cloth windows too. Have em on opposite long ends of coop for summer cross breeze. Yup, find a shaded area for coop or think on the rigid insulation for roof and your in business! Planing your coop with water inside would be key for those hot summers too. Having plenty to drink on those mornings your late in letting out of the coop (it happens) is advisable. And if your thinking of more chickens in future add 2.35" of venting per bird over that 19 sq. As in 24 sq for 10 birds etc.
     
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in the same climate as you. Here is a three sided coop I'm building now. Maybe it will give you some ideas. I blocked the north wall completely. The south wall has two windows & to the east is wide open. I'm more concerned with the blistering heat than the cold.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Yup, in Louisiana your big issue is making sure the structure is largely open-air in the summer so it doesn't get too hot (no hotter than the surrounding air, I mean).

    For a lot of breeds, you wouldn't necessarily need to do anything in winter other than make sure they have a good sheltered (wind-blocked) area around the roost to prevent cold breezes. For large-combed or very sensitive breeds, I suppose you might want to give them a larger area like that, so you could cover the most major wall openings with something solid (plywood, well-attached tarp, stapled-on feedbags, translucent or clear plastic roofing panels, whatever you like). Leave some openings open, though, preferably high up and at the furthest end from the roost (not an issue for most chickens, only for the *very* most sensitive.... the 20s is really not cold for most chickens)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. Oobhakeb

    Oobhakeb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:THANKS FOR THE INFO.... im designing my Kentucky coop as well. Post was VERY informative!
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    My climate is similar. Half the south wall of my coop (about 11x17) is hardware cloth which is not covered with anything. The eaves on two sides are also open air. A chunk of the north wall is hardware cloth, too, but I have plastic over that, because the roosts are in the SW corner and directly in the breeze, which is great in the summer but not so good now, as our local winds are mostly northerly.

    I have five 2 week old chicks in a 5x6 area of the coop, on the NE corner. I have no heat in the coop. Lows in the low 20's, 17 predicted. The chicks spend most of their time running around, then get under mama for a few minutes, often peeking out even then. I checked on them in the dark, early AM, and the hens were spread around the roosts as if it were 100 degrees out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2010
  8. aceoftrumps

    aceoftrumps Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 14, 2010
    South Central Louisiana
    Treeman52...I live in South-Central Louisiana and I built a coop that is 8x12 feet with ventilation on the east and west side...north side is completely closed off for obvious reasons. On the east and west sides, I have two ventilation strips that are about 12"x8 feet just under the overhangs of the roof. And on the east side, there is the same sized opening that runs under the nest boxes at floor level. This provides all the ventilation I need and keeps it comfortable for my 15 hens and one rooster. But alas, like everyone else, I'm now into hatching and no telling how many I will end up with.

    I would think your most important thought at this point would be ventilation. I've found my chickens fare well with the cold we get here in Louisiana.

    With this, I get no smell...And everyone seems to be contented.

    Kurt


    The east side:

    [​IMG]


    The west side:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  10. treeman52

    treeman52 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    Thanks alot folks I really appreciate the great info. You all probably help prevent a disaster. I was all set to board them up pretty tight . Thanks again, treeman52
     

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