Pros and Cons of Open Air Coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NHchicks, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    After reading for the first time about open air coops on a thread here, I'm totally wondering if that's the way to go or not. Woods' book was written in the early '20s - a lot of our thinking has changed since then. He also mentioned sleeping on screened porches in the winter and I don't see how that has the health benefits he's touting. I sure wouldn't want to do it, nor do I want to sleep with my windows open in the winter, regardless of the health constraints of "poor air".

    So I'm wondering - are open air coops, in the frigid northeast (or wherever) - a good idea, or not? Any thoughts would be appreciated, as I'm thinking about a new coop and don't want to have to do this again for a really long time.
  2. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
  3. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    The open air coops were the standard of the egg industry for years. They were proven to work. They used coops like this up through Maine and Canada. Now they keep the chickens in small cages enclosed in huge buildings with lights on timers and giant fans providing the ventilation. They supposedly get more eggs out of the chickens, but I'll bet their quality of life is no where near as good as it was years ago in a bigger version of a Woods open air coop. I personally don't want to sleep in the winter with my windows open. Can't say I totally agree with the author on that. But the chickens handle it well. On the coldest days of the year, even when the chickens don't want to come out of the coop. The chickens will hang out near the open front watching the day go by. They are totally healthy, I did not have any problems with frost in the coop or frostbite, and I have some chickens with big combs. The inside is well lit by the sun. It's not like a dark dungeon in this coop. If there is a downside to coops like this, I have not seen it, it has worked out great for me.
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I have nice big windows in my coop. Does this open air thing mean I should close them in the winter? What about snow blowing in, and also what about drafts?

    I close mine and then I have lights in my coop.
  5. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Yes, JackE, it was your post that introduced the idea of open air coops to me. I had never heard of it before. I'm still a little puzzled about it, only because it goes against my intuition, but if it truly would work even in my New Hampshire climate, then I would do it.

    I board up my hardware cloth walls in the winter with siding panels and a plexiglass door piece. During the day, I keep the full sized door open, but at night I button them up, and even tho I left 4" at the top of the siding for ventilation, last winter I duct taped those openings up, feeling that they produced too much of a draft, especially in biting winds.

    I guess I have a modified open air coop: closed at night, open during the day. But if open air 24/7 is really healthier for them, then I will make my new coop that way.

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