Moisture worries in moisture rich Portland, OR

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Japuvian, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Japuvian

    Japuvian In the Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2019
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    I'm a new chicken mom! My coop came with my new house. I've made some upgrades to the coop among them I added a 1'x1' ventilation hole at the top of the coop with a louvered vent cover. There are also small gaps (not big enough to worry about covering with metal cloth) at eaves of the roof and just generally the coop is not air tight. The coop is about 4' x 5' (not including the brooding boxes) and houses three young chickens. I use pine shavings and remove most of the soiled shavings once a day (once I get a poop board in this will change a bit).

    As you might know Portland, OR is MOIST all winter long. And though most of the winter is temperate we do on occasion have some cold snaps where it drops below freezing. Does anyone here have any experience raising chickens in the Pacific Northwest? How much should I worry about the moisture? I've got some solid ventilation but It's gonna be moist air moving through. Should I install insulation on the walls for the winter? What are your experiences?
     
    feathermaid likes this.
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    You won't need insulation, I wouldn't recommend that unless you see temperatures well below freezing.

    How much ventilation do you have in total? Just that one vent? Best bet would be installing ventilation high up... I have vents under my eaves, in the ridge of the roof, in the gables, as well as multiple windows. Photos of your coop would help a lot... generally I wouldn't count cracks and crevices as "ventilation" and in some cases those are best sealed up.
     
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  3. so lucky

    so lucky Crowing

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    If you are worried about moisture collecting from poop between cleanings, you might consider using PDZ at least on your poop boards. It is a substance used in horse stables to absorb moisture and reduce odor. Active ingredient is zeolite. Kind of a granular/cornmeal size. I like it and use it but have found it doesn't serve me well on the side of the coop that gets rained in. Makes a wet sandy/grainy mess.
     
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  4. feathermaid

    feathermaid Egg Obsessed

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    No insulation is needed in our climate, even when temps drop below freezing. The most important factors are keeping the coop dry and providing tons of draft-free ventilation.

    Your louvered vent will keep out drafts, but it may not be enough to keep the air moving... you want some cross circulation, or an opening that spans the entire length of the coop, up higher than roost level. You might have to lower the roost if necessary, which is fine, you'll just make sure the nest boxes are lower than the roost to discourage sleeping in the nests. Large openings covered with hardware cloth make perfect vents.

    I put a hygometer in my coop to check humidity levels as well as temps. Moist air when it rains is no concern, you'll never have less humidity in the coop than what's outside. The ventilation's main purpose is to let additional moisture from droppings and body heat to escape the coop, along with ammonia fumes. Trapping that stuff inside can cause serious respiratory illnesses.

    Chickens are little heaters, and their feathers offer perfect insulation to keep them warm in very cold weather. Just make sure those cracks don't let in enough of a draft to disturb their feathers. I agree that sealing cracks might be beneficial, and having more openings above roost height is the way to go.

    The next thing you'll want to think about is a covered run and a gutter to lead away the roof runoff... far away! Even a small roof can shed a significant amount of water right at the base of the coop/run which will seep right into their dry areas and create a giant mud pool, especially with chickens scratching all the time. If you eliminate the runoff, you keep the ground dry, or at least manageable. A thick layer of big chunky wood chips works best in any uncovered run areas. Check out "My Coop" link under my avatar to see how I keep the wood chips from mixing with the muddy ground. (way at the end of article!)
     
    rosemarythyme likes this.
  5. Japuvian

    Japuvian In the Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2019
    Portland, Oregon
    Thank you for the reply! They have a lovely covered run that I haven't let them out in just yet as there are some holes in the roof that need to be fixed and they are still adjusting to their new "home". Aside from the wet patches from the roof holes the run stays nice and dry so I'm happy there.
    I'll go ahead and add some more ventilation to the main coop. It has plenty of room for another large vent on the other side of the coop and a few smaller round vents as well.
     
    feathermaid likes this.
  6. Japuvian

    Japuvian In the Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2019
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks for the feedback. I'll go back and add a few more square feet of ventilation and I think seal up those cracks by the roosts. I'm mostly just worried about the moistness that is Portland air in the winter. So far they seem fine happy and dry.
     

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