Preventing pop hole from being a draft hole

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by GawkyBird, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. GawkyBird

    GawkyBird Hatching

    Dec 3, 2010
    West Springfield
    Hi folks!

    I poked around a bit for this but couldn't find a good answer. Please redirect me if I've missed a valuable discussion!

    We live in NW Pennsylvania, where the winter lows get into the single digits and have -- though not frequently -- dipped down to -10.

    Our chickens live in a restructured hen house that we upgraded with the money and time we had, and we plan to further reconstruct it in the spring. As it is, the house is not very tall (probably three feet at the walls and four feet in the middle under the peak). It also is elevated a good 2 feet off the ground -- the birds like to hang out underneath when it is hot or rainy.

    The roosts are about a foot off the floor, not counting the thick bed of litter. We cut two good vents at the top of the peaks, which we covered with screen during the summer and how have a shutter of plywood on a bottom hinge attached with a chain at the top so we can vent while hopefully preventing wind from accosting the chickens. (The bottom of the vent is only about 1.5 feet above the roosts, and I have barred rocks, RIRs and a Guinea -- taller birds!) I am hoping this will be adequate ventilation for the birds, or at least sufficient until we can improve next year.

    My larger concern is the pop hole. It is doorless, located a few inches above the floor and is central in the more narrow wall (under the peak), and it opens onto a small platform before the ramp, which leads down into the enclosed run. I am certain this causes an unpleasant -- and dangerous -- draft, but am not sure how to fix it.

    The reasons we don't have a door on the pop hole: 1) The birds are fond of hanging out on the "porch" in the morning before they're all awake and in the evening when they're in the coop but not quite ready for bed. 2) I work until 2 a.m. and don't wake up before they're ready to be out and about. 3) The rooster crows and the guinea gawks when something is wrong -- overturned food, out of water, etc. -- and I like to be able to hear them ASAP if something needs to be corrected.

    So the real question: Is there a way to prevent drafts while keeping the pop hole in the wall and always open without totally enclosing the porch or building a room around that part of the run? Maybe extend the porch just a little and then enclose it so they still have space to hang? Install a kitty-style door flap out of clear plastic? Securely tent with plastic around the whole opening? Buck up and put a good door on it and deal with sad chickens?

    Ohmigosh this turned long! Thanks for reading, hope it's not too confusing, and I appreciate any help you can give!

  2. HogbackMtnChickns

    HogbackMtnChickns Chirping

    Nov 21, 2010
    New Castle, Colorado
    Hi GawkyBird. I noticed your post because I am curious about this as well. I am a newbie, and have no answer for you.

    I did see a mention in another post about putting a cloth cover over the door - but there was not a lot of detail. I assume the idea is that the birds will push through, but it will cut the draft? Makes sense, but would love to hear from someone who uses this or rejected it.

  3. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    Central Iowa
    The expense of an auto pop door is money well spent. I have one that I made using a drapery motor. Some enterprising individual as put a kit together that you can purchase with easy to follow instructions. If your coop doesn't have electricity, this setup can be operated with a solar option that is also available. Murray McMurrary sells one that is kinda pricey but has a photo cell switch that opens and closes the door with the sun. It is a complete kit which includes a door, but is easily adaptable to existing building. If your interested, I can look up the url for either.
  4. jmagill

    jmagill Songster

    Mar 9, 2009
    Western Wyoming
    I have three sections to my coop, so three doors.

    I have neoprene door mats that I cut to fit hanging over the door. I cut a slit up the middle.
    It works great for keeping most of the breeze out. I had to prop up one hanging side for a few days until they understood that it would not stop then from going in.

    The floor mats are heavier but still flexible in the cold.
    1 person likes this.
  5. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    You can use lots of things to cover the door. I have an old hand towel I cut sptirps in the bottom 1/2 and left like the top 4-6 inches intact and Then I nailed it to the coop just above the door so the strips hang down. The birds walk right thru it. It does not completely cut all the draft but it is better than an open hole.
  6. RoosterPecked

    RoosterPecked In the Brooder

    Nov 4, 2010
    I am also a newbie and have wanted to post the very same question but came up with using a piece of burlap and hung it over the small coop doorway and cut just a small slit in the middle. Of course it doesn't keep all the cold out, but I was afraid a piece of rubber hanging there scare my chickens and prevent them from going in and out. They were actually afraid of the burlap for a few days after attaching it. They are finally used to it. I have also been keeping the light on (100 watt) at night and day while it is extra cold. It keeps them a little warmer and keeps them producing eggs for me. I am averaging 4 to 6 eggs from 7 hens.
  7. 7&8

    7&8 Songster

    Mar 29, 2010
    Can a chicken get a good night's sleep with a 100W bulb burning all night? [​IMG]

    What about a colored bulb for nighty night? [​IMG]

  8. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Songster

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    A small extended draft hutch is easy to build. I built mine in about 30 minutes. You can use spray foam to seal the space where the hutch meets the house. I leave the pop door open year round.


  9. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    [​IMG] from MN! I used a pet door replacement flap that was just a sheet of clear very heavy vinyl. I cut it into about 2 inch strips as it is too heavy and stiff in the cold for them to push through otherwise. It isn't super easy for them to get through but they do it. I tacked up some of the strips at first and also held the strips up to help them go through it at first.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  10. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I've just put on a flap too, using clear vinyl from the fabric store --a 1/4 yard will do, and they have it at Jo-Ann Fabrics.
    I used two 9" x 18" panels wrapped around a dowel and stapled. They just come together.
    The chickens don't love the feel of it when it gets hard & cold, but it lets them see where the light is when it comes on in the evening to go inside.

    If you have lighting in your coop, I suggest something see-through.
    If you don't, two flaps of oilcloth or PUL (polyurethane laminate) raincoat fabric will feel softer to them --or recycle an old leather coat!

    Greetings from SW PA [​IMG]

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