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Pop door and drafts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by K0k0shka, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. K0k0shka

    K0k0shka Chirping

    Jul 24, 2019
    Boston Area, MA
    I’ve read a lot about drafts... how crucial it is to avoid them if you live in a cold climate... Particularly, I read about not leaving anything open at floor level, because it will create a cross breeze with the roof vents and blow across the chickens from floor to ceiling.


    This is at odds with what I’ve read about a lot of people leaving the pop door open year-round.

    And now I’m confused. How does the open pop door factor into the drafts equation? Do people leave it open only in warm climates?

    For context - we get cold winters here, but like 20s-teens kind of cold, and even that isn’t daily. So not like Canada-level cold. The occasional blizzard. I’m planning a 5x7 partially insulated coop (floor and roof insulation only), 7 feet tall (sloping down to 6 feet), for 3-5 chickens. 4-inch tall vents 7 feet wide at the top of both long walls, so across from each other, and way above roost level. The roosts will be along one of the short walls, the pop door on the other side of the coop, by the opposite short wall. The run will be partially covered with plastic for the winter (certainly the area near the pop door, and the whole top and 2 sides.

    With all this in mind, do you think I can leave the pop door open in the winter?
    Willow Whispers likes this.
  2. jreardon1918

    jreardon1918 Songster

    Jul 13, 2016
    Southeast, MA
    My Coop
    We are neighbors. We live in southeast Mass. you might want to take a look at our coop article. We do not have insulation. The run is tied to the coop. It is pretty secure so, we never close the pop door or windows. We do put up plastic for the worst of the winter. I don’t think there are drafts. Welcome neighbor.
  3. K0k0shka

    K0k0shka Chirping

    Jul 24, 2019
    Boston Area, MA
    @jreardon1918 Hello neighbor! That sounds great, exactly what I was envisioning! Nice setup you've got there. The pictures are very helpful. I'm going to do something similar. Thanks!
    SunHwaKwon likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Depends....on a lot of things.
    Pics of your coop and run would help.
    I had to put up a wind block in front of my pop door because of the wicked west wind here.
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    This isn't exactly true... I have 2 floor vents that are always open as well as a lot of venting up high (gable, ridge and under eave vents) and there's no cross breezes or any detectable drafts even during windstorms, unless you're literally standing right up against a window. It probably depends a lot on your wind direction, the exact placement of vents in relation to one another, etc. I only have minimal ventilation in facing the prevailing wind direction, for example.

    Your climate isn't that cold so I doubt you'd have major problems with drafts. A lot of times you have to kind of play it by ear, by standing inside your coop (or using something like a lightweight ribbon to catch any wind/draft) and opening up all vents and seeing what happens.
    K0k0shka and blackdog043 like this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  7. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    Both of my coops pop doors were open all day last winter, except for 1 day.
    That day we had a blizzard with wind chill below zero.
    The chickens weren't leaving the coops. I closed them a couple of hours after opening and left them closed till the storm was over.
    The pop door is closed nightly. GC
    K0k0shka likes this.
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    I only close my pop door at night in the winter. If temps get really cold here I open daily for a couple of hours incase the chickens want outside to the Run.
    K0k0shka likes this.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'm surprised you don't occasionally get days or nights colder than that. Those temperatures aren't that horrible.

    You are not worried about a draft like you might get in your house near a door or window that doesn't seal really well, the kind it takes a candle flame to find. You are looking for a breeze that can ruffle the feathers of your chickens. Their down coat traps tiny pockets of air, that's what gives the insulation to keep them warm. If a breeze ruffles their feathers enough to release that trapped air they can get cold.

    You need good ventilation to have an exchange of good air for bad. There are two types of bad air, ammonia and moisture. Ammonia forms when poop breaks down and can damage their delicate respiratory systems. Ammonia is lighter than air so if you have an opening higher than their heads gravity will carry ammonia out of the coop.

    Moisture is a little more challenging. High moisture levels can lead to frostbite. The higher the moisture content of the air the more likely frostbite when the temperatures are below freezing. If the moisture content of the air is fairy low hey can easily handle the temperatures you mentioned. Moisture can come from their breathing, their poop, thawed water they drink, or rain or snow that blows in. Decent ventilation will get rid of excess moisture.

    That's the basics. Now to your specific question. You are trying to avoid breezes from hitting the chickens. During the day they can move around and get out of a cold wind so you really don't have much to worry about. They will manage that if they have an option. It's nighttime that you might have an issue.

    In Tennessee I saw chickens sleep in trees without problems when it was below zero Fahrenheit. Those tress were in a protected area and did not get much wind but they had great ventilation. They could move around the tree to get out of a breeze. Sometimes when we build our coops we build wind tunnels. We don't give the chickens an option to get out of the wind if a storm blows through. It's amazing how well chickens can take care of themselves if we give them options.

    If your pop door or other openings line up with other openings in a way that a breeze passes over the roosts then you can have a breeze blowing over the chickens. If the openings do not cause a breeze to pass over the chickens then you should not have problems. When I was in a cold climate I liked all openings at night to be over their heads. That way any breezes created are over their heads. I close the pop door at night so all openings are over their heads. That's one way to handle it.

    There is a coop specially designed for cold climates, the Woods Coop, that does have openings under and over the chickens. But those openings are up front. It is specially designed so the roosts in the back are in a cul de sac that does not see breezes. If your pop door is positioned where it does not generate a breeze over the chickens where they sleep you should be OK with it opened.
  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    My thoughts....

    Pretty much what the other posters said.

    I love poop trays under the roosts, since they help keep the perch area draft free even if there are drafts in the coop.

    I was not able to have vents in the eves of the roof across from each other since this meant wind holding snow would rush in one side, swirl, drop the snow, and blow out the other side. :rolleyes:

    I have had great success with huge vents that are in a coop wall under a covered run. The covered run helps protect from blowing rain and snow, so a huge vent wall in that sheltered location usually works well.

    But.... as already stated.... you won't really know how the wind blows in .... until it does.

    So the best choice is to make HUGE vents, all over, cover them well with hardware cloth, and have plywood covers for lots of them. If possible make the plywood covers adjustable.

    That way... in winter, you can just stand there, and open and close covers until things are just right.

    Oh.... my cold weather coop article goes over draft verses ventilation etc.

    rosemarythyme and aart like this.

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