Pole barn with "interior open air coop" , do I need ventilation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by pidgejr, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. Hi Everyone
    I'm in process of creating an open air enclosure inside my 20'x40' metal pole barn to overwinter the chickens. The pole barn has a concrete floor and no insulation, basically metal sheeting on a wood frame, and a metal roof.The chicken enclosure will basically be 10ft high walls covered in chicken wire with no top, and the roosts will be a ladder against the sides. The enclosure is basically 16'x16' inside the barn. I will have about 20 nests boxes accessible from outside the coop enclosure. The roof of the pole barn is higher than the walls of the coop by about another 7-10 ft. There are 4 windows on each side of the long sides of the barn, way up high, but they are covered with milky plastic panels that are screwed over them which allow some light in the pole barn. I plan on putting about 4-6 inches fine pine bedding on the concrete floor of the coop enclosure and raking it occasionally during the winter to make sure it doesn't get a hard "poo cap". Also will be adding more bedding as needed. The barn has electric, so I can also add lighting as needed in winter .I do not plan on adding any heat as the barn is draft free.
    My question is this, because of the open space in that huge pole barn, will I still need to open some of those windows to allow for ventilation for my 30 chickens in the winter? The area is not drafty inside the barn at all, but the area isn't airtight either. I just don't want too much moisture buildup. I will be be creating a pop hole from the enclosure in the barn to a small chicken yard outside the barn for the chickens to get fresh air when the weather is better in the winter too.
    Any idea or suggestions about ventilation or this whole setup (but especially about ventilation) is welcome!
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You may need to open up a spot hear the roof where the humidity and ammonia can escape, though with that much space it shouldn't need to be much. Or you may find there is enough air movement in the barn to let the humidity out.

    You are also letting their ammonia out, and the thing about that is, the ammonia reaches harmful levels in the air before you can smell it. On the other hand, the ammoniated air is also warm and humid, so it will naturally escape from the chickens' area.

    You might find this article useful

  3. Thanks Judy
    Yea I forgot about the ammonia. I do actively monitor their bedding in their outdoor coop every day, and constantly stir and add bedding as needed, but haven't had their coop in the barn before so am not sure what to expect there. Ill see what I can do for the vent near the roof. One option I was thinking about was putting louvered covers on two of the windows. the windows face east and west on the sides of the barn. Maybe a louvered window cover, one on each side for cross ventilation? Just worried about that co$t :p
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You cold save some money by putting something in that is not louvered, that stays open and has some sort of "roof," and just forget about it. Or maybe one of those round things that turns by wind force.

    If you don't see any buildiup of moisture with the chickens in there, it ma be a good sign that ventilation is adequate. I really can't imagine it willl be a major problem in a space that large.
  5. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chirping

    Sep 9, 2014
    My coop is also inside a larger barn that also houses my horses, goats, and pot belly pig.

    We shovel out poop and air it daily (the horse and goat stalls in particular) but close it up at night so it's secure. The gaps around doors and other 'draftiness' of it has been enough ventilation so far, even with all those animals inside, except in mid summer when it's hot and still... we wait until later at night to close it up before we go to bed. Let it cool off inside first.

    When we have a few days of really bad weather, when everyone stays in and we can't clean the horse stalls as well, it can get ripe in there, but opening a few of the upper doors does it.

    I guess I'd install some windows with wire screens that you can easily open and close when needed for more air flow.
  6. Thanks everyone for suggestions and experiences. Well the chickens have been in the "pole barn coop" now since we had the first snowfall of the year last Monday and the litter seems to be keeping pretty dry. After I inspected the roof overhangs I noticed it had vented soffits all around and it seems to be ventilating away any excess moisture nicely! I have 24 hens in varying stages of molt but am still getting 9-12 eggs a day, not bad for this time of year!
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Thanks to OP for the follow-up. It is always good to see the result of the hypothesis, a true learning tool.

    Just a thought, are there gable vents (with shutters)? It should further improve the ventilation.
  8. No these are not the gable vents with shutters. Its up pretty high I think the barn is about 20ft high.Seems to be venting pretty well. We are into Jan 2015 and the chickens are doing great! Getting ready to cut a hole for the automatic poultry door in the side of the metal pole barn using an angle grinder with a thin blade which I hear makes clean cuts and cuts like butter thru metal. Will be an interesting project.

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