Is this mould? Is this a ventilation issue?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mvdct, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. mvdct

    mvdct Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2016
    Bristol, UK.
    Hi BYC-ers.

    I wonder if you could give me some Coop advice please?

    We're based in the SW of the UK. We have 3 Wyandotte chickens in our coop (pics attached).

    We picked up the coop second hand, and before our chickens arrived (back in August), we thoroughly washed it, applied wood preserver etc. All long before they moved in.

    Over time, I notice a build up of white mould (?) on the inside of the roof of the nesting box (see pic). It smears if you run your fingers over it (see pic!). If you wash it with a wet cloth or sponge it disappears.

    My questions: what is it? why is it there? and is it any risk (or sign of any risk) to the chickens?

    My hunch was that it was due to there not being enough ventilation in the coop. The only air flow at night is through the hole on the LH side (see pic). Notice none on the RH side (see pic).

    Thinking that there might not be enough ventilation and so warm, moist air was gathering in the roof space of the nest box, I raised up the roof of the nest box to allow side vents on both the left and right side (see pic). But if I'm honest, I think this has sped up the speed at which the white stuff appears (although, it has also got colder at night, at about the same time).

    So. Back to my questions? Is it mould? Why is it there? Is it any risk to the chickens? And, of course, what do I do about it?!

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and wisdom.

    Best,
    Miles

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  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, it's mold, or mildew. It's caused by moisture condensing on the underside of surfaces as heating and cooling occurs in a high humidity climate.

    You're right in considering more ventilation. That will help tremendously.

    To get rid of the mold, wipe the affected surfaces with a strong bleach solution. Don't rinse but do open the coop up so it will completely dry before letting the chickens use the coop.
     
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  3. mvdct

    mvdct Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2016
    Bristol, UK.
    Quote:
    Thank you Azygous, that is really useful info.

    You say: "You're right in considering more ventilation. That will help tremendously."

    Can I follow up on that please?

    Where would be the best place to put extra ventilation? As you know the mould / mildew tends to form in the nest box area (not so much in the main roof space). So, should the extra ventilation go in the main roof space - perhaps on the other side of the current ventilation hole? (And would I do this just by drilling holes?) Or should I try and increase ventilation near the nest box itself. (And if so, how?)

    (One other thing that might be adding to the a problem, is that the chickens still sometimes sleep in the nest box despite their roosting bar being higher than it).

    Thanks again for your thoughts.
    Best,
    Miles
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Two types of moisture cause mold and mildew. There's the moisture in the air that causes humidity, and when temperatures fluctuate, condensation occurs on surfaces. Ventilation up high, either under the eaves or at the top of the walls, will help draw this moisture out of the coop without creating cold drafts. This is crucial if you get below freezing temps. Moisture in the air when it freezes is what causes frost bite.

    Then there's the type of moisture that accumulates from feces collecting and water spilling. Prevention is the best way to address this type of moisture. It also adds to the humidity and can cause problems.

    Keeping a clean coop and preventing sleeping in the nest boxes and assuring water spills don't occur are important in preventing a humid condition that causes not only mold and milldew but frostbite.
     
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  5. mvdct

    mvdct Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2016
    Bristol, UK.
    Again. Thank you. Great information.

    I'll work on adding in some extra ventilation up high to try and address the issue.

    I'm guessing its sensible to simply drill some holes under the eaves and then make sure those holes are protected by some sort of cover so wind / rain doesn't get directly blown in.
     

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