Keeping Pop Door Open too Drafty??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hensandchickscolorado, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. I have a really secure run and so often keep my pop door open so chicks can go in & out in the AM/PM as they please.

    When winter comes, is a 12" pop door going to be too drafty for the chicks (it is floor-level) when temps get to freezing?

    How cold can the coop get? I'm hoping to always keep the pop door open but maybe that's too cold. Should I add some doggie door material to it perhaps to keep out drafts but still allow for chicken convenience? I have a few other vents here & there & two large windows (which will probably stay shut once it's winter).

    I'm having a hard time figuring out the "no draft" rule combined with the "adequate ventilation" rule combined with "don't freeze the chickens" rule.
  2. frostbite

    frostbite Songster

    Sep 27, 2011
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Me too! That's three pretty contradictory rules if you ask me.

    I have a 6 inch square screen section of my otherwise plywood chicken door. I have a 4' by 20" vented section at the base of the human door, and I have screened in eaves that are about 14 inches high at the center and about 7' long on both sides of my coop. I figure that will give me great ventilation in the summer. Then I have six 2" thick rigid foam plugs that I can put in to block the eaves for cold weather in stages, depending on how cold it is, and also similar foam plugs for the chicken hatch and the vent in the human door, so I figure I'll just experiment when the weather gets really cold, and see how everyone does. But it'll be winter of 2012-2013 before I'll know for sure. My chicks aren't even eggs yet!

    Of course, for me, "close to freezing" is relatively balmy. Really cold is 20-40 below.
  3. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:I just wanted to make sure that you're aware of the risk that comes from leaving a pop door open all night. Generally speaking, it's much harder to make a run as secure as a coop.

    Chicks have different tolerances for cold than adult chickens, particularly before they've grown their first set up adult feathers. If your chickens aren't adults and a Colorado winter is approaching, you really may need to think about providing supplemental heat for them, at least until they're full grown.

    Think of a draft as wind chill, and think about how a chicken can manage to get out of its way. The worst possible setup in a coop would be a vent that allows cold air to blow onto birds as they roost as night with no other place to roost. The best winter vent would be someplace well above roost level, not on the side of the coop that gets prevailing wind. A high vent like this also lets the warmer, moister air exit the coop, which is what you want, because frostbite is more likely in a coop with high humidity.

    A pop door open in winter will let cold air blow in at floor level, but your chickens won't be down there at night anyway. But if you have a pop door open at floor level and a vent open up high, that could potentially create the conditions for air flow within the coop (warm air exiting the high vent, cold air entering the pop door). If the roost is between these two points, the chickens may be roosting in that airflow, which wouldn't be good.

    Other than the draft thing, and the humidity thing, if you have adult chickens of a cold tolerant breed, they should be able to handle winter cold pretty well.

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