How much ventilation is enough?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kerry in Wa, May 14, 2011.

  1. Kerry in Wa

    Kerry in Wa Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    My brother-in-law, bless his heart, built a chicken tractor for me, for my 4 gals. The coop part is 2-1/2' x 3', but the only vents are a 3-1/5" x 4-1/2" screened triangle in the apex of the roof on both ends.

    I'm thinking that's not nearly enough... is it? And should there be a way to close off/shutter the vents, as small as they are? We're in the Eastern part of Washington State... summers can be mid-90's to over 100*, winters often hover in the 20's with dips to single-digits.

    TIA!

    Kerry [​IMG]
     
  2. VelvettFog

    VelvettFog Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,569
    27
    163
    Apr 7, 2011
    Yakima, WA
    For me -- it's hard to say if that is 'enough' without looking at the coop. Pictures would help [​IMG]


    Also -- you are probably going to be told that you don't have enough coop space for 4 chickens. Unless you have bantams, the folks here will tell you that you need 4 sq ft per bird inside, and 10 sq ft per bird in the run. I'm in Yakima, so I deal with the same temperature swings as you do.


    Dave
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Even in winter, no, especially in winter, the top vents need to "exhale" the humidity of chickens breathing and they produce a lot. That escaping humidity is venting. Otherwise, the humidity forms frost on their combs. Properly vented, temperature for cold hardy breeds is irrelevant. Mine take -20, with no heat in the winter, with regularity.

    I also agree on the minimum of 4 sq ft per large fowl inside the coop, but in the winter, I like to provide 8 to 10 sq ft of moving around space. When they get snowed in for a week or two, boredom sets in. They have to have lots of space to busy themselves.
     
  4. Kerry in Wa

    Kerry in Wa Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    Thanks Dave and Fred's Hens... they are bantams.

    Not enough posts for pics yet, but I'll work on it. [​IMG]
     
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    That's pretty small, even for bantams, only 7.5 square feet. The vent's sound like they are pretty small, even for winter. And in summer... they're going to roast with 4 of them packed in there at night. Don't mean to sound like such a downer, it's just that things get nasty so easy health and behavior wise when you pack critters of any kind into small spaces. I know when my little sebright goes broody she is cranky! She want's no other chicken anywhere near her!
     
  7. Kerry in Wa

    Kerry in Wa Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    Thank you, Imp! That link is extremely helpful! Now I know I'll have to cut in more vents.
     
  8. Kerry in Wa

    Kerry in Wa Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    cafarmgirl, I appreciate the advice! [​IMG] I should clarify, the coop is 36 inches by 32 inches... so 3 feet by just a little over 2-1/2 feet. If my math is correct, that leaves exactly 2 square feet per bird. I did read that 2 sq. feet is adequate for bantams, but this is a learn-as-I-go experience for me, so any insight is welcome. The run part of the tractor is 36 in. by 92 in., leaving 5-3/4 sq. feet outside space per bird.
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,852
    32
    249
    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    Quote:Oh, my. That's very tiny, especially the run which is where chickens spend their active waking hours. I have very small bantams, and I go by the usual rule of thumb quoted here for standard size chickens: a minimum of 4 square feet per bird indoors, plus 10 square feet per bird outdoors. Is there any way that you can enlarge the run? Setting aside the quality of life issue for the chickens, with that stocking density you're going to have a very hard job to keep the setup clean enough for health and odor control.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by