Muslin and burlap covered windows/ventilation

Knock Kneed Hen

California Dream'in Chickens
9 Years
Feb 15, 2010
So. Cal.
I bought a disc that has some old (early 1900's) books on it about setting up for housing poultry. Throughout all the books they mention windows (cut outs covered in hardware cloth) that can be covered with mulsin or burlap (instead of solid wood flaps). I find this interesting. I believe the purpose is to provide ventilation but not have the direct cold blowing in. Some of the coops have the fronts completely open where you would cover with muslin or burlap in the winter. I plan on building a 10 x 14 coop, however, 4 ft. of it will be access to the nest boxes and storage so the actual chicken area will be 10 x 10. I'm doing a shed row with two windows on the south side and I was thinking of doing a window on the west side. We always have a breeze coming from the west during the summer. I was going to put the door on the storage side along with a window so they could be kept open to allow more air in. I'm more worried about the cold. We get some wicked wind and it always rains sideways. Should I also put some vents under the rafters on the south side? I was thinking of doing this and covering them with muslin in the winter.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
The problem with covering vents with muslin or burlap is that you considerably reduce airflow, especially once the fabric or screening becomes choked with condensation and/or dust, which it does.

In the vast majority of cases you are probably better off with normal, 'naked' vent openings. I would suggest planning for them that way; if problems should develop, you could experiment with curtaining them during the worst weather but you should not expect it to be as easy and workable as it may seem

Totally agree that you should have vents high on the south wall, tucked up under the roof overhang -- that is the best place for the vents you will have open during wintertime. Plus the rest of what you describe for summertime use -- or even a bit more.

Good luck, have fun,



10 Years
Apr 8, 2009
Glocester, RI
I have a mesh covered "vent" across the top of the front wall of my roost box, inside a covered run. On really, really cold, windy nights this winter I draped a burlap "curtain" over the opening. I think it helped cut sharp drafts, without impeding the ventilation. Since it was only used occasionally, for really severe weather, there was no dust or condensation build up. Worked for me

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom