My coop's winter heating and ventilation - need opinions and information

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by OrchidDragon, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. OrchidDragon

    OrchidDragon Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2013
    Boonville, Indiana
    My Coop
    I live in southwestern Indiana, which can experience all types of winter weather. I need to know if my coop set up needs improving.

    My shed is 8' x 10' with half for chickens. It is insulated in the walls only.I can run electric out to the coop, so I am as worried about heating or keeping the water thawed.

    The windows are roost high (the chickens can see out the windows). Will this cause drafts? Two windows (with 12" x 18 " openings) are on the east and west side for ventilation and the pop door faces north. I cannot put any vents in the roof or the upper walls they are covered by a vinyl tarp until the roof can be replaced next spring.

    I could put vents in the roof overhang if I really had to.

    The ventilation was fine this summer because two fans were running in the coop. Indiana has extreme humidity which makes the heat worse.

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  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Personally, I wouldn't worry about heat. You will need electric for thawed water unless you want to carry water to them 3 times a day.
    IMO ventilation is much more important than drafts. I shoot for 1 sq. ft. per bird. A chicken can live in a tree- how does one keep drafts out of a tree?
    I have a friend with a nice coop and covered run with roosts in both. Last winter her hens chose to sleep in the run all winter - drafts and all. We live in MO, much the same weather as yours.
     
  3. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You definitely need the ventilation for winter or you end up with frost bite. Since the roosts are at window height, I can think of two options that might help - 1) add another roost away from the windows in a more sheltered corner or 2) add something like an awning (could be plexiglass or wood or whatever you have on hand) that would allow air to flow through the window but would prevent major winds from rushing through - something that could be adjusted so that on good days it is further away from the opening but on bad days it is closer to the window. Of course, adding a vent in the overhangs would help but you would still likely need to keep at least one of the windows open.

    As for keeping the water thawed, you can use an aquarium heater in a nipple waterer bucket or a heater dog water bowl or any of a number of other options for keeping the water thawed. This will be much less expensive than heating the whole coop and the chickens don't need the heat.
     
  4. OrchidDragon

    OrchidDragon Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2013
    Boonville, Indiana
    My Coop
    I could attach a small square of plexiglass to the mesh wire that is over the windows. There is a couple of inches between the window and the mesh wire. Air would come in around the edges of the plexiglass but block direct wind from blowing on the chickens.
     
  5. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 21, 2010
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    That would work but may not allow for quite enough ventilation - though if you add the vents to the overhangs it may allow for a decent draw of air. You could also hinge the plexiglass at the top so you can prop it open at the bottom - on good days, it is propped open more while on bad days it is open only a little. Just be sure to drill holes in it first - if you try to put a screw through the plexiglass without drilling holes, it will crack.
     
  6. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Taylors, SC
    My chickens roost looking out the mesh-covered opening that serves as one of the windows. Once they go to sleep, the huddle down and are just below the opening. I have the ventilation set up so that there are no drafts.

    I don't worry about the cold. Chickens have all those feathers to make their own down comforters. The drafts will chill the combs and wattles, but good ventilation will keep the air clean by allowing the warm, ammonia-laden air to rise out through the upper vents. I haven't had any with frostbite.

    I has not gone below 0 F here in records from the weather service.

    If you are going to replace the roof in the spring and since you have a gable roof, you might consider installing a ridge vent to enhance ventilation. It is easy to install and will allow warm, moist air to rise straight through the peak of the roof.

    Nice accommodations.

    Chris
     

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