I am rebelling against coop vents this cold windy winter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NHchicks, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    My husband was nice enough to improve the coop for the winter, boarding up the wire mesh areas. I told him we needed to keep 3-5" at the top of the boards open for vents. This is on 3 sides, as the 4th side is the box side anyway and completely wood. Well, here it is December in NH, and there is an icy wind, as usual. Cold is one thing, cold and windy is just about unbearable. I'm tired of feeling like any morning I will have to chip my hens out of the ice, so today I duct taped the vents. Forget it. It's too drafty. All day long the chickens free range and the door to the coop is wide open. But at night, that baby is getting closed up. If there's moisture, it will have to wait until morning.

    This is a confessional. I know the rule is vent, vent, vent. But it goes against all common sense when the wind is blowing into the coop. I can pull the duct tape off at any time once the icy wind is no longer an issue, say about March.

    I hope the coopmasters forgive me. I think my hens will thank me.
  2. Roy

    Roy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2007
    Central Illinois
    I also close my vents when it's this cold and the wind is blowing. I know that my girls appreciate this and that's all the approval that I need...
  3. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Quote:I hear ya NHchicks. When we get nor'easter storms, the wind blows hard right into the pop door, even when it's closed for the night. I think you're on the right track. If you coop starts seeming more moist than it should, then you have a fast remedy.
  4. DutchieWannabe

    DutchieWannabe Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 18, 2010
    I totally understand... I dont think my winters here in Idaho are as harsh as NH, but I have limited ventilation at night and then the (human) door is open all day for free ranging....
  5. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Oh, you all make me feel so less guilty. Thank you! [​IMG]
  6. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2010
    Apple Hill
    Quote:let me to dissect this statement about commone sense and vents and wind, and I mean all the respect and helpfulness in the world. [​IMG]

    The rule is vent as you say but that means vents in places where if the wind blows it does not blow directly on the chickens. If it does not blow on the chickens, they are fine with cold - they have a dwon coat. When the wind flows on them and parts the feathers then this down coat is no protection. But to have the vents in the proper locations it is of no worry. To not have the vents at all well if you can smell ammonia then it can already have harmed your birds.
  7. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Yeah, MM, my roosts are too high, I will admit that. They are nailed in tho, so it will take a big redesign to put them in other places, which will happen, only not this winter because it's too cold to get out there now. And my coop is too small. It's 4 x 8 with 10 birds, so square footage-wise they are doing okay because they do only roost in it at night, otherwise they free range. Those are the contributing factors to vents making the birds uncomfortable.

    I have to get this vent thing figured out for a new coop design. I think with a bigger coop you can get away with more vents because there's enough space where everyone doesn't feel every little draft.

    I am in search of the Perfect Coop. It's like the quest for the holy grail. Right now, tho, I'm covering my vents.
  8. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I covered some of my lower vents with canvas cloth that I bought at the fabric shop. It does not create condensation like plastic does. I first tried clear plastic but when it got cold at night the air condensed on the plastic. With the canvas it blocks out the wind and drafts but still "breathes".
  9. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    I only leave the south gable opening unblocked in winter. The other three sides allow some leakage but not a heavy draft. To further keep my girls out of any winter draft, I use construction plastic at the rafters to make a false, lower ceiling over their heads and extend it inward past their roosts and poop boards. This keeps any winter cold from coming in top vents and flow down onto the birds per Virginia State Dept of Agriculture in their drawings of coop design and winter venting. Moisture/humidity can vent but the girls are roosting in a pocket with no airflow i.e. cold drafts.
  10. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    It seems to me many things can dictate venting and how much is right. To many things in the books and magazines make me think we each have to choose what is right for our neck of the woods and coop size and number of chickens. The average chicken generates 10watts of heat, so do the math.

    NH you could just cover two sides or all three with burlap to deflect the draft. As could anyone else for that matter. The problem is the draft not so much the cold. You certainly want to watch for humidity and condensation on the inside walls.

    My particular coop is 8x12x10 or thereabouts. I have only the southside soffit open and covered with hardware cloth. My runs are covered with clear plastic on two or three sides and tarps on the other so they have a snow free area to run. I have straw on the run floor to protect their feet and I replenish it with more as it gets worked. It's great for keeping them busy looking for scratch.

    My newest read says to put the 2x4 roosts 4 side up so when they roost they cover their feet with their feathers. Something that will have to wait til spring.

    Bring a jar of vaseline with you at night and a pair of plastic gloves and cover combs and feet. This will protect from frost bite. If you have alot of birds do a few every night til they are all done.

    NH if you can feel a breeze through those opening consider changing them to a southern position. Also consider planting a windbreak in the spring. You don't want a draft or high humidity.

    Considering I've snow blowed twice yesterday and maybe twice today and we're supposed to get 8-12 tonight I hope we all survive the winter. Lord have mercy!

    Wishing everyone the best


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