Providing adequate ventilation for summer AND winter without chilling

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chxns, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Chxns

    Chxns New Egg

    Aug 19, 2013
    Hello BYC community! This is my first post!

    In the spring I plan on having 5-7 standard sized chickens! At first it became an idea to have a steady supply of eggs; and now it's become an obsession & I'm starting to see them more as pets!!! I cannot wait to have them!!!

    I've been wrestling with coop plans everyday but ultimately it comes down to practicality & function for the area. The coop will have a footprint of 6 ft x 4 ft. The roof will be slanted like a lean to (4ft at its highest & 3 ft at its lowest). The coop will be raised a foot off the ground, and the roof will hinge at the top for coop access. I am unable to make a walk in chicken fortress at this time...darnit!

    My concern is that I live in NE Pennsylvania and want to provide adequate ventilation without creating a huge draft in the winter. Average winter day has been 15-30 degrees. So far I've planned for:
    1) two (12" by 18") windows that are able to open half way for additional ventilation on summer/warm winter days
    2) two 4" by 18" vents with wood&hinge so that they can be propped fully open or slanted partially.

    Is this enough ventilation? Is this overkill? Will two windows on this structure make them too cold in the winter even when they're closed? I don't want any permanent ventilation openings due to winter chills. I like how the windows can be opened/shut, and how the vents can be adjusted to completely open/cracked open. Plus there's two so I can either have one or both open!

    Considering insulation, but not a heating lamp. (BF is big on fire hazards...)

    Any suggestions or comments please let me know! I want to do this right! Construction isn't until December so I've got plenty of time to stew on the right designs!
  2. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Check out the link below. The book goes into the need for proper ventilation year round, even in the coldest days of winter, the chickens REQUIRE plenty of fresh air flow(Ventilation). So don't close your coop up tight when the weather gets cold. Chickens can generate a lot of moisture just through breathing. And if you have the coop closed up, that moisture can and probably will freeze on the birds,causing frostbite. Not to mention the build up of ammonia in a poorly ventilated coop, leading to respiratory problems.
    Me, I would double the size of your front windows and rear vents. You need to get more fresh/cooling air flow for the summer. And make those front windows able to be FULLY opened, not just half way. For the winter, I'd leave those back wall vents open. And you may have to at least crack open the front windows. Gotta have plenty of fresh air in there. If you were to see your coop frosting up when the chickens are all inside. THAT's a sure sign you don't have enough ventilation.
    You really don't need to add any insulation in a chicken coop. If you put in insulation, you have to install interior walls. Otherwise, the chickens will have all kinds of fun and shred it all. And with interior walls, you have provided a nice hidden and secure place for vermin (Rodents or insect) to set up housekeeping of their own. Besides, chickens already have perfect insulation of their own, and don't need any help from us.
  3. Kiasmama

    Kiasmama Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2013
    I am also from NEPA!! [​IMG] and I'm building a chicken coop cause I can't wait any longer! For ventilation I'm going to have about five windows, one in the front, two on the sides across from each other and two in the back. In addition where the roof pitches up I'm going to drill two inch holes (several of them) in the front and the sides. I think these will stay open in the winter for ventilation while I close the windows. I will also have the ability to close off some of the holes if needed, if the temp gets too cold.

    I was on the fence about insulation. I ended up putting in R-13 in and have interior walls. I chose to insulate because I built such a big coop 8x8x8 (no idea what I was thinking) that I felt if I only had a few chickens they might not be able to keep warm enough... I dunno :-/ Maybe I just have to get more chickens, lol.
  4. Chxns

    Chxns New Egg

    Aug 19, 2013
    JackE- Thank you very much for your informative reply. I skimmed over the link and am surprised all those pages are available online! I will look it over in full tomorrow. I need to remind myself that ventilation is more important than insulation because these chicken breeds can be winter hardy and don't have to be babied lol. That is interesting about the frost because if I saw frost in the coop I would think it was too cold period & needed less ventilation! My mind is backwards! There is so much to learn, thank you!

    Kiasmama- Hello fellow NE PA'er!!! How exciting! I can't wait to feel that excitement of finally building the work of art haha! I like the drilling of the holes idea for permanent ventilation. Sounds like your coop is going to have plenty of windows for sunlight & ventilation! I've so far opted out of insulation because my coop will be small & unable to walk into upright. I figured it wouldn't be worth it unless my coop was much bigger.... So I'm saving insulation for my (much further in the future) chicken mansion LOL. Is this your first experience with chickens?! It's my first time, I don't even have them yet and I'm already addicted haha!!! I like the get more chickens idea for sure [​IMG]
  5. mommyoftwo

    mommyoftwo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2013
    Instead of little hole I would add squares or retangels and place the heat grates for floors. It will give a larger area for air flow, and be safe from predator's.
  6. Kiasmama

    Kiasmama Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2013
    yes it is my first time with chickens!! I've wanted some for years and finally decided to pull the trigger. Believe it or not some "stray" roosters wandered in my yard and watching them just got me totally hooked. I don't have the chickens yet (well if you don't count the stray roosters) either but will be getting them hopefully in a week or two. Hoping to get the coop done this week, but have other projects going on so we will see. I will post pics when it is all completed. I can't wait...I am beyond excited! Where in NEPA are you from?

    Sorry...don't mean to hijack the thread with questions....can PM if you like.
  7. Mike Fitz

    Mike Fitz Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2013
    Eastern Missouri
    My Coop
    I'm building a 10'x4' coop and want plenty of ventilation so went with 2 18x23 windows in the front along with three 16x4 vents spaced evenly along the front eaves. On one end there's a 12x18 window and three 3" round vents and on the other end is the pop door and three more 3" round vents. The back of the coop will have 1 16x4 vent in the top center and three 3" round vents on each end under the overhang
    Between the vents, windows, and pop door open during the day there should be plenty of ventilation in the summer and just the vents should hopefully provide decent Winter ventilation. If not I can always drill more vent holes!

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