Mold in our coop....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chilisweet, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. chilisweet

    chilisweet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2008
    Vancouver, WA
    so we just built a 4x4 coop for 8 hens. Well actually we finished building it about a couple months ago. It's new, is my point.

    We live in the lovely pacific northwest where it rains ALOT, and we've noticed mold on the inside panels and ceiling of this new coop. We do have ventilation in there, so I wouldn't think that is the reason, but do you think that maybe it's from too many hens? Could it be condensation from their heat causing this?

    Any thoughts? Also, how do we get rid of the mold?

    Thanks,
    ~caran
     
  2. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Your hens are probably a little cozy. The general recommendation is 4 sq feet of coop space per hen.

    Mold is caused by lack of ventilation. The combination of too many hens, climate and weather means you have too much moisture in your coop.

    Mold can usually be removed with a bleach solution. However, you will need more ventilation to keep it away.

    Good Luck!!
     
  3. 4hooves&featheredfriends

    4hooves&featheredfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Recently, I visited a horse barn that was very "tight" in regards to ventilation. The condensation of the horse's breath created a mold and mildew fest. So the flock could be creating enough condensation in a small space to cause mold.

    In the case of the horse barn, two forms of black mold, molds which can cause severe respiratory issues were present. Animals and humans can be adversely affected.
     
  4. JohnL11935

    JohnL11935 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Agree with the above.

    8 hens in a 4x4 coop is far too crowded. Regardless of the need of opening it up for more ventilation, you are either going to have to remove one-half of your hens or double the coop space.
     
  5. lovemychix

    lovemychix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would remove the birds and wash the areas with bleach water and let that dry well. Bleach will kill it!
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Heat plus moisture equals mildew/mold. Our temps get to near zero in the winter and I never heat the coops.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    That is a pretty small coop, especially if they're going to stay inside because of the weather a lot.

    But anyhow, normally the cause of mold in the coop is insufficient ventilation. Having *some* does not necessarily equal having *enough*.

    That said, if you are in the Pacific Northwest it just *is* an extra challenge keeping humidity down, given that the air often isn't giving you much help [​IMG] Now that you have a mold problem started you may have trouble getting rid of it, short of mildewcidal paint and frequent cleaning (AND lots extra ventilation -- notice that things *out in the open* don't mold so easily, even when you get a stretch of rain and high humidity).

    Heat is a double edged sword in this case. If you heat the coop *enough* you can probably dry it out to at least temporarily discourage the mold. OTOH heating it some, but less than enough, especially if accompanied by insufficient ventilation and a lot of chickens, will as Cyn says just encourage the mold to grow faster and more lush.

    Personally I would put way more ventilation in and probably either expand the coop or contract the flock; and then as soon as you get a stretch of 'plausible' weather, prime with a mold-killing primer and put another topcoat on of plain ol semigloss exterior latex. Then just be REAL careful about keeping things as dry and clean and well-ventilated as possible. A droppings board might help - scraped off daily first thing in the morning with the poo removed to a compost pile, that will really cut the amount of moisture in the coop too.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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  9. lorihadams

    lorihadams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If that is the coop then you definitely do not have enough ventilation. I would say that you need to do some adjusting and add some more so that you get good cross ventilation. If you only have that one vent in the front then it is definitely not enough.
     
  10. estpr13

    estpr13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Having worked construction in the Portland OR area I was amazed by the number of house roofs with mold growing on them. Your humidity in that area is always high and the ventilation might not be the problem. Humidity is like a very thin fog rolling through your coop. Your chickens create warmth on the inside of the coop which draws the moisture which allows the mold spore to grow.

    Perhaps a bigger coop with a different type of wood more resistant to mold. Western Cedar? But cedar presents a problem for the chickens. What do others in your area do?
     

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