Insulation and ammonia

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by I have WHAT in my yard?, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. I have WHAT in my yard?

    I have WHAT in my yard? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Eggberg, PA
    I was frantic last week to seal my coop up as it is/was very drafty with a vent running across the ceiling line which is of course where the chickens like to roost.

    We sealed it all with great stuff - this coop is temporary as DH is building a new one but it won't be done for another months or two.

    But, now I am worried about ammonia build up. I clean the coop once a week and replace the wood shavings, but it is stinkier than it used to be.

    Did I overdo the sealing?? How much vent should they have??
  2. CackleFan

    CackleFan Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 1, 2008
    I don't have much vent this time of year as I seal everything in the wall. I open the door in the morning and it is not so bad. I use pine shaving and change every two weeks.

  3. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Yes, you need more venting. How much? Hard to say. My rule of thumb, I've decided, is to provide enough that I can't smell ammonia at all. And then add a little more.

    Ammonia is bad for the birds.

  4. I have WHAT in my yard?

    I have WHAT in my yard? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Eggberg, PA
    It doesn't smell of ammonia - it just smells like chicken poo.......

    I took off one cardboard baffle I had blocking one gap - the draft shouldn't be bad because it is on the leeward side of the coop and it is below where the chickens tend to roost.

    Think that'll do it?
  5. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I have a metal vent at each end of my coop. I seal the one with cardboard and duct tape that is closest to the roosts and leave the other alone, the are approx. 5x8 vents. This basically stop the draft accross the top of the coop. I do not have a poo smell or ammonia build up with this set up.

    Keep in mind, chickens are pretty cold hardy, I have raised chickens 40+ years and honestly don't remember losing a bird to the cold (I will lose at least one or two birds a year in extreme heat). Proper nutrition, cracked corn on cold days, fresh water, draft free and dry environment and they do just fine.
    Yesterday it did not get above 18 degrees here and I opened the pop door to let them venture out if they wanted. They would spend some time out, go back in, time out, back in so on and so forth. If it is windy they tend to stay in the coop.
    I do put vaseline on my one and only roosters wattles and comb to keep them from getting frost bite.
  6. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I know everyone has slightly different setups- so this wouldn't work for everyone. But, I have a roof vent that I have a fan on. Not sure how to describe- the fan vents into the opening in the roof. A fan could also be placed in a window. If I turn the fan on high for a few minutes (enough time to do my chores in the coop) the air is pretty well exchanged. It makes a huge difference quickly, if there is any buildup of odor. I use the deep litter method and I do notice it smells a little if the chickens have been in and out with wet feet all day. The fan works great!
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You probably overdid the sealing. Try hingeing up a couple of boards (like one long board, but cut into lengths so that you can have just some of it open, you know?) to cover that vent. Then you can prop some of them open, or all of them open a little bit, or whatever is needed according to the weather. If this is a ridge vent you can rig them horizontally right under it -- some snow etc will pile up on them and have to be disposed of at regular intervals but it will reduce and baffle the incoming air, nad you can still construct it so it's adjustible.

    Good luck, have fun,


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