Moisture in coop. Vetilation Problems? Please Help

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by r709shackleford, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. r709shackleford

    r709shackleford Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Southcentral Alaska
    Hi,
    Newby here. By coop is 10x12. A standard man door. One 23" window. The cop itself has two doors for chickens. One good sized poop slot. And two vents. Poop slots is 23" wide. Vents are 23" wide and about 4' tall.

    Coop construction is 2x6 walls. R21 insulation. OSB siding. 4 mil visqueen plastic on the inside of the walls covered by OSB. Flat roof for now will upgrade next summer.

    Heres the catch: I live in Alaska. Last night was -13 below. Coop is about 35-40 deg with just one light bulb. When its 0 degrees or more outside coop is about 40-50 degrees. But when its this cold I have to keep the vent slots closed and the chickens inside. There is lots of frost on the window and door. Maybe .25 - .5" thick. In ALL the corners where walls and ceilings meet there is vapor. I tried to open the vent slots but the coop drop to about 10 to 20 degrees. Everything freezes.

    I considered a dehumidifier. But those cost a lot, plus it would cost to run it.

    Also, I can take all the chickens out and heat it with a propane heater for half a day or so to get it really hot, but the moisture would likely come back in a few days to a week.

    Any suggestions?

    Tnx
     
  2. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SW WA
    Chickens can handle insanely low temps, and you want to keep those vents open. The cold isn't what gets them, it's drafts, so if your coop is tight and draft-free open up those vents! Poop and respiration produce a TON of moisture.
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Use more ventilation and MORE light bulbs.
    Enclose them in a fire/waterproof box so you get the heat without the light

    Propane heat ADDS moisture to the air
     
  4. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I have an uninsulated coop with vents, and it gets down to 15 degrees and under. The chickens do just fine! They are blessed with fantastic all-natural coats. I've heard of a lot of Alaskan members who don't supplement heat and they do fine. Adding heat actually under-prepares them for winter low temps.
     
  5. r709shackleford

    r709shackleford Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Southcentral Alaska
    How does the propane add moisture to the air? Like an inversion effect? Lots of hot air mixing with cold existing air?
    I plan on installing some permanent light fixtures. I was not going to enclose them because they would be on the very ceiling. Isn't light necessary during the dark winter months?
    I can see the logic behind adding heat and making things worse for the chickens. I'll keep that in mind. Tnx!
    Do you get eggs when its really cold out?
     
  6. Twister-n-Dos

    Twister-n-Dos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Alaska
    C3H8 + 5 O2 → 3 CO2 + 4 H2O + heat

    It is a product of the chemical reaction.

    We are new to having chickens this year. Our coop temperature has been between 5 and 20 °F through this cold snap and we just got our first two eggs. I think the egg production is more affected by light than temperature.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. r709shackleford

    r709shackleford Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Southcentral Alaska
    Ive been getting about 20 eggs per week until this week. It dropped of pretty drastically. I blamed the cold spell, but I discovered some mites or lice in my coop. I have new straw in there and several rescue chickens. Not sure were they came from.
     
  8. Twister-n-Dos

    Twister-n-Dos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Alaska
    Sorry to hear about the mites. Hopefully some of the knowledgeable old timers here can help you figure that out.

    The advice you are getting to open up the vents is correct. -13 is not that cold. Chickens really do handle the cold well.

    To let you know what the temperatures have been like in the interior, here is a quote from our paper today:

    "Counting today, the temperature at the airport has dropped to at least 20 below for 15 straight days, with a low of 40 below on Monday. That was the same day the high hit only 30 below. There were seven straight days from Nov. 28 to Tuesday — when the high temperature at the airport didn’t hit 20 below.

    The cold snap, which began Nov. 24, helped solidify November 2012 as the sixth-coldest November on record in Fairbanks since 1904. The average temperature in November of minus 8.8 was 11.4 degrees below normal.

    December has started out even colder, with an average temperature of 29 below through the first six days, which is 27 degrees below normal."
     
  9. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SW WA
    I've had layers go all the way through the winter. It's not the cold, but the light that decreases their laying. I gave my girls a two month break and was getting two eggs a day, and then added a light recently and got an egg from everyone after a week!

    You really don't need heat, I promise. Each bird produces 100w light bulb worth of heat, and if you had a power outage while they'd been on supplemented heat you could easily lose your birds from being under prepared. Just like mammals, they eat more and feather out heavier when stimulated by the cold. Give them plenty of grain (produces more energy for heat production), open up vents that are near the roof of your coop, clean poop out frequently, and you're set!

    As for the mites/lice, simply dust everyone and the coop with Sevin dust and again in two weeks. That will take care of the problem, and could very well be a cause of the slowed laying. Molting will also decrease laying.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  10. r709shackleford

    r709shackleford Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Southcentral Alaska
    From heaviest snow fall to coldest winter. These past few years have been ruff.
    I plan on adding hardwired lights to my coop. They are older salvaged light fixtures. 3 bulbs each. That should do it. Ill have to get a heated waterer because currently my water does not freeze. Did you mean 10 watts or 100? Cause I've seen 10 before, but 100 seem high. Nonetheless, great input! Tnx
     

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