Newbie with ?????'s

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AmySue, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. AmySue

    AmySue Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a very new chicken mama - just got our 5 chicks on Tues., and I've been planning the coop I'll be building. I've learned so much from all of you - don't know what I would have done without all the good info here at BYC!! I've read Pat's awesome page on ventilation, and looked at just about everyone's coop designs. I think I'm on info-overload, because I'm still confused about some things. All I do is toss and turn at night thinking about doing this right! Please help!!

    1st question: I saw some of that wood siding at a local salvage store cheaper than the plywood I had planned on getting for the coop. If I use that, do I need to put it over plywood? Or can I just attach it to the frame? (I plan on putting a layer of plywood on the inside too - and maybe insulate between the layers)

    #2: Ventilation - I'm going to have a lot of windows that can be opened or closed, depending on the weather, so as far as summer ventilation, I think I'm more than good. It's how much I need open in winter that has me confused. My plans are for an 8x4 coop with a slant roof going from 6' down to 5' high. My run will be 8x8... or maybe bigger! We'll see [​IMG] If I read things right, I will need open vents even in the coldest part of winter. (I'm in SW Ohio) Do I make vents that are just covered with hardware cloth, but not close-able? If so, how big for my coop? And can I use store bought vent covers? I saw some wall vents at Lowes for $1.87, and there are others that cost much more. I was thinking those vents would be less drafty that a plain open vent... (am I over-thinking?!!!!)

    I know I have more ???'s, but my mind is now a blank. I think it's shutting down [​IMG]

    Thanks for any help -
    Amy
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    The Lowe's vent covers are perfect. For your 8x4 coop, I'd put one on each short end, and two in the back upper top where the roof is highest (if that's the long side). That way the air rises and goes out, taking the extra moisture with it. Plus, those vent covers already have screen material on 'em, and the louvers so rain would have be blown UP to get into the vents and into the coop.


    Yes, you may be over-thinking, but that's what I've done each time I tackled a project. [​IMG]
     
  3. AmySue

    AmySue Out Of The Brooder

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    Is it ok to have a vent by the roosts? Higher, but on the same end?

    Thank you!!!![​IMG]
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    What you want is a high vent for the moist, warm air to exit. Even if it's on the same end as a roost, but above it, and preferably right up close to the ceiling, that will do fine. You just don't want DRAFTS which could chill your chickens. More chickens get ill from high ammonia levels (uric acid in the their poop) and damp air (from their breathing) not being vented than from other problems.
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I looked at those vent covers, but they're so darn small! I'm trying to hit the rule of thumb given in Patandchickens' ventilation page of 1 square foot of ventilation per chicken. For me it would take a lot of those little vents to get to that number. Instead, I'm having wide vents put on the top of the north and south walls, covered with hardware cloth, and having hinged lids so I can close down the vents if I need to on the coldest nights.
     
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    The vent covers I found are 4 inches tall by 16 inches wide. That's a good size.

    This photo shows you where I was gonna put the vent cover in one wall; it's just tacked up there whilst I thought about it.
    [​IMG]

    But what I ended up doing for that particular COOP (I saved the vent covers for the Duck House) is leave a four inch space between the top of the back wall and the roof panel, for the full length of the 8 ft wide wall. The back wall is six feet tall, the front wall is four feet tall. There are windows in each short end (4 ft wide walls) AND in the front wall, plus - of course - the open pop door during daylight hours. There's a gap between the front wall and the roof panel of about an inch.

    I have plexiglas panels to cover the windows when it's colder. The window openings and the ventilation gaps at the top of the front and back walls are covered with hardware cloth.

    Here's a view of the back side of the coop, perhaps you can see the ventilation gap at the top of that wall.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  7. AmySue

    AmySue Out Of The Brooder

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    If I change my coop plans and raise the roof off of the coop by, say, 2", and leave it open on the 8' sides (covered in hc) - would that be too much opened for winter?
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:As long as it is actual siding, MEANT to be used as exterior siding, sure go right ahead. No need for plywood behind it, unless you are concerned about structural-strength-in-the-face-of-a-hungry-raccoon issues (only if the siding is very weenie to begin with)

    I will need open vents even in the coldest part of winter. (I'm in SW Ohio) Do I make vents that are just covered with hardware cloth, but not close-able? If so, how big for my coop? And can I use store bought vent covers? I saw some wall vents at Lowes for $1.87, and there are others that cost much more.

    If the vents are in a very protected location, e.g. under the soffits of the usually-downwind side of the coop in a pretty sheltered location, you may not need vent covers. (In an emergency, you can always shove rags in the opening, or staplegun cardboard over the vents) However IMO it is nice to have constructed adjustable vent covers in advance, mainly because "usually-downwind" is not ALWAYS downwind <g>.

    I do not not not not advocate vents bought at hardware stores. First, they are usually quite small in comparison to what you need. Second, all them louvers and suchlike (especially the ones with *fixed* louvers) on the vent covers can substantially cut down on airflow and opening size, such that the vent is effectively even smaller than its crude measurements would indicate. (Even a 4x16" vent of this type is less than half a square foot in area, *before* subtracting the area occluded by all the louvers etc, which in many cases is probably about 50% of the total area, giving you only, effectively, 0.25 sq ft of vent area, for that size vent...) And finally, I just think it's silly to fork over a bunch of money for something that does not in the vast majority of cases perform *as well as* something you would make yourself [​IMG]

    In most cases you do not need to worry about a vent cover engineered to 'prevent draftiness' -- intelligent *placement* and *construction* of the vent will pretty much take care of that. Only exceptions would be in a quite-small coop, or in a super-windy area... in those cases, permanent louvers or hooded vent *can* be of value. For most peoples' purposes though, just make big ol' holes in the walls (narrow, high on the walls, and on *at least* the S side of the coop unless you have weird local wind patterns), cover with hardwarecloth, and make a hinged or sliding cover for them, and there ya go.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I lived in SW Ohio (Oxford, in Butler Co) for a while once, so have some idea of the winters... you will undoubtedly want to close off all vents on the upwind (NW) side(s) for at least some of the winter, possibly a *lot* of the winter if the coop's in an exposed windy area. But having a 2" gap (minus purlin or rafter widths) on all of the *downwind* 8' side would be maybe 1 sq ft of vent area (exact # depends on how much lumber interrupts it). Provided you have other vents available TOO, for use on milder or less-windy winter days, that is not a totally unreasonable am't of usable vent opening, although it would not be terrible to have more. The extent to which you can leave that 2" gap on the SE-facing wall OPEN all winter depends largely on how much roof overhang you have and what your site is like. (On days when you get a winter storm with S or E winds, you can close those vents as needed, and *open* the NW-facing vents that have been closed for the worst of the winter, since then they'll be downwind)

    So, I don't think that's a bad plan -- it's not excessive but I suspect it will not leave you badly in the lurch if at all, and after all you can always modify things later if you *have* to.

    To close off that sort of "crack just under the roof" type vent, honestly stuffing rags in there real tight is pretty effective. They just have to be in tight enough that they don't blow out.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. AmySue

    AmySue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2010
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    Thanks - you've helped so much!!

    (I didn't know I'd fall in love with chickens!!)
     

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