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Need some advice on ventilation.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 70monte, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2009
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    Here are a few pictures of my coop and the windows and vent that I have as well as where my roosts are. Last night I got a little bit of frost buildup on the underside of the roof insulation near the bottom of the roof by the wall. Also my Rooster looks like he got a little bit of frostbite on his comb and wattles. I have the side windows fixed where I can have them partway open, open all the way, or all the way closed. Its been very windy and cold here lately and I don't know what to keep open and what to close. I'm worried about drafts. The humidity in the coop has been in the seventies which is too high. I also have a heated dog bowl in the coop for their water. The temps in the coop are the same as the outside which has been in the high teens to low 20's at night.
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    I have been leaving the south window(the one on the left looking at the coop from the front door) slightly open as well as the top square vent on the rear wall near the peak of the roof slightly open. The top vent is not much above the roosts so if the wind is blowing from that direction, it comes in right on the chickens if the vent is open. The winds never seem to come from the same direction every night so I'm always trying to keep the drafts off while having enough ventilation. The area where the walls meet the roof was open about 1 1/2" the entire length of the coop on both sides and when it was windy, the wind really seemed to come in quite a bit in this area and I was afraid it was getting on the chickens so I used some 1x3's and blocked this area off but that has seemed to raise the humidity in the coop. I need some ideas on what I should do to have plenty of ventilation but not drafts. Thanks.

    Wayne
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I would have left the areas open that you closed with 1x3's because what they need is ventilation up high. You will probably have to reopen them. Can you also cut a hole above the pop door? The windows are not good ventilation in cold weather, as you realize, because they are low enough they are going to put a draft on the chickens. In hot weather, of course, that's a good thing. Hopefully, opening those two areas will do the trick. If not, I don't see anything else but to cut some holes along the roof peak and rig up something to protect them from the weather. This would actually be the ideal place, but I realize is not the easiest to accomplish.
     
  3. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Aurora, MO
    Thanks for the reply. I will take off the 1x3's and see if that lowers the humidity. The pop door is built into the human door so I don't know about cutting anymore holes into the human door. I thought about cutting a hole in the small area above the human door but I don't know how I would cover it to keep the wind out when its coming in from that direction as well as keeping water out. Plus it would create a draft on to the chickens. I'll have to do some more thinking on this. Thanks again.

    Wayne
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I wasn't clear, sorry, I meant above the entire door, as it needs to be high. Agree that if that is the windward side it's probably not a good idea.

    Good luck!
     
  5. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Aurora, MO
    I just remembered the main reason I put up the 1x3's is that most of the chickens quit roosting on the roosts and I thought it might be because the wind was blowing in under the eaves and bothering them. When they are sitting on the roosts, the wind coming in under eaves goes right over their heads and swirls around. I know when I stood inside the coop with the wind blowing, it was pretty windy on my head. I went and took the 1x3's off and will see if they continue to roost on the roosts.

    Wayne
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I can see that removing the 1x3's might create a draft on them, now that you say it.

    Where did they sleep then? Nest boxes? Floor? Maybe this is the best place for them.

    I just realized you spoke of leaving the high vent "slightly open." I wonder if opening it more, a lot, might solve the problem. I guess it depends on what kind of weather protection you have for it; does it have a shutter of some sort so it doesn't let rain and snow in through the vent? Or could you rig something with, say, a tarp?

    Short of redesigning the peak of the roof, which would be ideal, unless a wide open vent would solve the problem, the only other option I see is to move the roost, perhaps placing it at the height of the bottom of the window. Of course you'd have to close the windows. Of course, then you'd be violating the "roost higher than nest boxes" dictum. But maybe this would work OK; maybe they'd cooperate and use the roosts anyway. Maybe you just need to let them sleep in the nest boxes, at least for a short term fix, though I'm sure this is not an attractive option in your mind!

    There's a board at the bottom of the first pic that looks like it has poop on it. Not sure what it's there for. Any possibility they could/would use this as a roost?

    If you have the leisure, you could close the nest boxes at night and open them in the morning, too.

    I think I've completely run out of ideas.
     
  7. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Before, the Rooster would sleep on the perch for the nest boxes, a couple of the hens would sleep on the top roost, and the other three hens would sleep on the floor under the nest boxes.

    If you look at the third picture, you can see the wooden flap that is propped open on the upper vent. When I leave it partially open, I turn the wooden latch on the outside that secures the flap closed, and let the flap rest on it which creates about a 2" gap at the bottom of the flap.

    I don't want them to start sleeping in the nest boxes so lowering the roost is not really an option. The piece of wood you mentioned in the lower portion of the picture is the lower roost which was installed so the chickens could get to the top roost. The Rooster is the only one who can fly from the floor to the top roost. The hens had their wings permanantly clipped so they cannot fly up to the top. Some of the chickens occasionally use the lower roost but not often.

    Tonight all of the chickens are on the top roost with the 1x3's removed but again its not real windy tonight. The top vent is opened all the way and the south window is cracked open about 4".

    Today the temps were in the upper 30's and I had the upper vent all the way open, the south window cracked open about 4", the 1x3's removed, and the pop door open, and the humidity in the coop was still at 75%. The heated dog bowl may be creating part of this but the water was cold to the touch do I don't know if its having any effect or not.

    I guess I will just have to see what happens and go from there. Thanks again.

    Wayne
     
  8. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Tennessee
    Quote:I would cut and install another gable vent at the other end. And in your case, I would leave both gables open year round. I have an 8 x 16 coop with two gable vents and a turbine vent that are open the year round. Also I have full length soffits vents front and rear that are open year round. Then I have also 4 windows and the pop doors that can be open all the time. But the total full time ventilation with the soffit, turbine, and gable vents total 6 sq ft for the 24 chooks I started with.

    See 'My BYC Page' for details.


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  9. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, that is a nice coop you have. Thanks for the advice. I will probably cut another vent above the human door. It won't be very big and I have to figure out what to cover it with. Thanks.

    Wayne
     

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