I have the foursquare from MyPetChicken - question about ventilation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wahmommy, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. wahmommy

    wahmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've attached a link to the picture of our coop (on MPC's site). We have two EE hens (ideally like to have 4, eventually). We built an additional run, but then as I was looking though this excellent forum for more ideas I started learning about coop ventilation. There is a window in the front, but a) its got some kind of thin plastic across it and b) it would be drafty where they roost. So I can't just knock out the plastic and put hardware cloth across right? The back of the coop is faced by a concrete wall, so that side has protection from wind etc., but the roof drains to the back. Just wondering what you would do if you had this coop to improve ventilation for the hens while in the coop?

    http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Chicken-Coops/The-Foursquare-Coop-with-Run-Ships-Free-p720.aspx
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    First, what climate are you in and where is the roost located inside the coop? If it is staying warm (seldom below 40) at night then I see no harm in replacing the plastic with securely-attached mesh. But if you're somewhere a lot below freezing then that wouldn't work. Somewhere 'borderline' it would depend how close the roost is to that window.

    Do you have the attached roofed run that they show, or just the coop? If you had the run then I would think that the best place for wintertime-type vents would be at the top of the wall that is shared with the run. Unless this would put the vents right over the roost.

    Really, in a tiny coop like that your best place for the vents is usually wherever is *furthest* from the roost, so that is probably the major controlling factor.

    If the furthest part from the roost, and most logical side for vents, is the side that the roof drains too, I would not worry about it too much, you can create the vents and then see if roof drippage is likely to blow into the vent, and if it DOES seem likely to, give the vent its own leetle tiny 'porch roof' to keep drips off, or make a scaled-down gutter to catch the roof water.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might find things a tad crowded in that coop if you add more chickens (coop sellers routinely overestimate how many birds their products can hold, in my opinion).

    I think a good rule of thumb is to figure 4 square feet per bird of indoor space, plus 10 square feet per bird of outdoor space as a minimum. This amount of space doesn't actually guarantee that you won't end up with pecking problems from overcrowding, but I personally think it's risky to try to give less space than this. Certainly, the higher the population density in a given space, the more work there is for the chicken keeper to keep things clean enough for health.

    The other thing to consider is roost width: I think a good rule of thumb there is to allow for about 12 inches of roost width per bird. I don't really see how you would be able to find enough space for 4 birds to roost inside the tiny enclosed part of that coop.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Oh, my.... elmo, you are so right, I did not even look at the *scale* of the thing... webpage says house interior size is 20.5" wide x 26" deep which is only 3.7 square feet. Total.

    I would for sure not ever contemplate putting more than 2 chickens in there, unless you live in somewhere Maui-like where they will free range (or have a huge run) all day EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR without wanting to stay indoors b/c of unpleasant weather. Even for two, it is tight.

    Ventilating such a tiny space will be challenging anywhere that gets down to freezing (really, really tough in an actual cold-winter climate). You'd sort of have to plastic-wrap 2.5 sides of the run (NOT the whole thing), vent into the run, and work on the knife-edge balance between too little ventilation and problematic draft.

    Sorry, not meaning to be a wet blanket, just calling it as I see it... and hopefully you DO live somewhere warm [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:X2
     
  6. wahmommy

    wahmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    rest assured, we are somewhere warm - we are in the Los Angeles area [​IMG]

    I ordered this coop as a newbie. We quickly realized it was pretty small and have added a 2' x 8 run to it (we have both the coop and run as pictured on MPC, and now there's an additional 16' of space with the new run) I was afraid the coop part might be too small for four hens, now I guess I have confirmation. We can't free range because of hawks and lots of other predators (we are in the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains) but until we built the run we got a superyard (baby gate) and put some chicken wire over the top when we couldn't be outside with them so they weren't cooped up in the coop all the time. And we also now have the additional run.

    I probably would be happy with three hens if you think they would be okay but I've heard introducing a third might be tricky (I've been told I would have more success with a pair). Do you think it would work for three? I don't know why they call this a four square -I just measured the coop roosts and they are 20.5" across (there are two) so they aren't even giving me 24" on each bar!

    Unfortunately there really isn't a lot of space for a larger coop - [​IMG] - do you think there's a way to expand the coop into the enclosed run area that the coop comes with? or build up? we aren't super construction type people or we would have built the coop ourselves to begin with, the run alone was a lot of work and took a while to complete...but I don't want to be a chicken slumlord [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Gee, if you live in L.A. you could probably open up most of the interior wall inside the pen and replace it with hardware cloth, without it being a problem, couldn't you? That would help a lot when it's hot.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Yup, what she said!

    You might consider carefully-inspecting and beefing-up-as-necessary the whole MPC assembly (especially run) (especially making sure it is digproof) and then installing an outdoor roost (in a way such that a rccoon on the wire can't grab handfuls of sleeping chicken), and then regard that whole thing as their "coop" and your extra run as their run-that-is-closed-at-night.

    Pat
     

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