open air coops

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tdgill, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. tdgill

    tdgill Overrun With Chickens

    Its confusing...avoid drafts but open air coops are the way to go!? are drafts mainly a concern with chicks?

    enjoying this open air info...

    The open-front house gives a full and abundant supply of fresh air, with its contained oxygen, all the time. The fresh air supply is particularly important at night to provide for the heavy demands of the sleeping fowls for life-giving, life-supporting Oxygen. Fresh air at night is absolutely necessary to provide for normal restorative processes and the maintenance of body heat during sleep. It has been estimated that fully 60% of the total oxygen needed by the body in the 24 hours is required at night.

    "Prof. Charles K. Graham, of Connecticut Agricultural College, Storrs, made a test in a common tent of the A type. Leaving the front open in this tent, he installed a flock of White Leghorn fowls headed by a proud, handsome cock bird, and found that not a comb was frosted, while some of the combs in the regulation closed houses were touched with frost."

    doesnt seem to make sense.... enclosed birds had frost, but open air housed birds did not.

    haven't found this connection yet, but thinking that the reason the open air birds didnt suffer the frostbite, was because of abundant oxygen levels....i remember watching Discovery Channel Everest - Beyond The Limit and that one of the benefits of using bottled oxygen was avoiding frostbite. Those that climbed with poor oxygen levels were more prone to suffer from it.

    and we all know how much colder "damp" enclosed air is than dry cold air.

    so - back to the draft issue....hahahahha
  2. Catalina

    Catalina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2007
    It depends on where you live.
    If human skin will get frostbite in your area then chicken combs will get frostbite too.

    I live in Minnesota and I've seen human skin get frostbite after 15 min. exposed to winter air temps. If humans are getting frostbitten then chickens are going to get frostbite too.
  3. jforsness

    jforsness Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    That's an interesting theory, I would still thinks temps play a big role. Being in Seattle with my 3 B's, we rarely see temps below freezing. Their Crib is small, open and ventilated. Maybe I should record humidity in and out, sort of an experiment to see if there's a diff? [​IMG]
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    The idea of "fresh air" houses is an old one. The item you cite from Bob Plamondon's Norton Creek Press is just one of many oldies but goodies that espouse the concept.

    Bob is a real champion of the older methods, and does yeoman's service bringing the out of print wisdom of our elders to light.

    The idea of fresh air houses stems from the fact that chickens in the wild don't have houses at all. One of the worst things we can do for them is to shut them up in tight enclosures. It is one of the primary reasons for illness in flocks, particularly respiratory diseases.
    Sadly, we often confuse construction that offers proof againt the elements with tight and confined.

    Some other good reading on the topic is found in M.G. Kains' "Profitable Poultry Production" and Charles Weeks', "Egg Farming in California." Here they are, free on the Web:

    Download these two, print them out and trash all your other books. Once you have these, you won't need others.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2009
    2 people like this.
  5. tdgill

    tdgill Overrun With Chickens

    yeah, temps definately make the difference. It just appeared to me to be some kinda connection between o2 levels and the chance of frostbite.

    thanks d for the links. always up for some more reading. seems like the more i know, the less i know. hahah

    i have a 10x20' shed that i am putting a 9'x3' 2 story run/coop in. the backyard is fenced with split rail and coated wire, so hopefully will be able to let em free range too. barn style doors face south and i think i wanna be able to leave it open often than not, but i'll have to make a predator proof screen door there, since my coop inside is just chicken wire, i'm worried that a coon could tear into it?
  6. Catalina

    Catalina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2007
    By the way - [​IMG] [​IMG]
    What state are you in?
  7. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    I use open coops. I do not have to worry about predators so much since I live in the city. The high roost is five feet off the ground. I staple a few "yard campaign signs" up in the winter to block wind & rain but remove them in summer. The summers are so agonizing hot & humid in Alabama that my open coop I call an "artificial tree" serves my flock well. Also, my breed is cold hardy so they can take the coldest Alabama winter night on the open roost:

    maralynn28, rhino1 and Kris64 like this.
  8. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    I use open coops too. In the winter I put plastic up around a couple of sides to give my chickens a place to get out of the direct wind. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  9. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use open coops and we get some snow here. It would be rare for our temps to get below 25 degrees, though. Our summers are in the 100's. I love the open coops and have very healthy, happy birds. My coops are 3-sided, and are placed with their "backs against the wind".
  10. imfowl

    imfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2008
    I also agree that it depends on where you live. Here in Louisiana, an open roost an open nest boxes are widely used. My shed overhang extends over the run so that they can get out of the rain. Other than that, my run is totally open, and they do just fine.

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