questions about ventilation

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by celeste101, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. celeste101

    celeste101 New Egg

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    Aug 21, 2014
    Northern Alabama
    I have three pullets. We bought their coop from Costco, but have had to make many alterations to it as problems arise. It's a small coop and the only form of ventilation is the opening that leads to the run. It has a tiny door for access and the door has a little four paned plastic window. I was thinking that I would take out the plastic, and replace it with chicken wire. Another thing I was planning on doing was cutting out a slit, maybe 9" by 1 1/2", and putting chicken wire there. I want to put it on the wall of the nesting box but I'm concerned that my girls might get scared if a predator came sniffing around or something because that's where they sleep. Should I just put it somewhere else on the coop? Thoughts, and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks! Also when I say chicken wire I mean the wire that's little half inch by quarter inch squares, if that makes a difference.


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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to our forum! If you go in your profile and add where you live in the "location" field, it helps people with lots of different questions.

    I would replace the whole wall between the nesting box and the roof with hardware cloth (not chicken wire as it does not stop predators, it only keeps chickens in or out.) You may have to open it up more than that, especially if you live in a warm climate.

    You should stop them from sleeping in the nest. You may have to make the roost a little wider so it is comfortable for them. If they sleep in their nest, then lay there, you will have poopy eggs forever.

    There is a link to an excellent article on ventilation in my sig line. I believe the rule of thumb is one sq ft of ventilation per chicken.

    Welcome to our forum! If you go in your profile and add where you live in the "location" field, it helps people with lots of different questions.

    Good luck!
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I think it's a good idea to replace the plastic window panels with hardware cloth - if you're in an area that gets real winters, you can always screw plexiglass over that window come winter time. Now, if you get blowing rain, it's goint to get soaked inside, because the area is so small. But you could add more of an overhang there, or make sure you coop faces away from the direction you get most of your storms/rain.

    Since it's covered, I'd add ventilation (covered in HW cloth) above the pop door. This ventilation could stay open even in winter, since it's out of the weather. I'm not gonna' lie - I hate those coops because they're so daggone small - I think they work well with 2-3 tiny bantam breeds, but it'll be tight with full grown LF breeds. But you have to work with what you have.

    I'd be hesitatant to put the ventilation above the nest box because I'd be concerned water would make it into the nest boxes????
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hi, Celeste. Welcome to the forum! Glad you found us.

    I’ve never been a fan of those purchased coops. I understand why people buy them but they tend to be designed to sell as opposed to keeping chickens. As you’ve noticed, you need to make modifications for them to actually work. Other than the ventilation problems they are often so small you have trouble getting them a place to roost where they don’t poop in the food or water. In yours you might could feed and water under the coop to solve that problem.

    I’m not exactly sure where your chickens sleep, in the nest or at that end of the coop? Also, how old are they? That comment about them sleeping there opened up some possible questions or problems.

    Judy, what do you think about opening up that wall between the coop and run for ventilation? That way it would be under the roof so you get protection from rain getting in the coop. You’d have to do something with the pop door (Celeste, that’s what we call that access door to the run) so that makes it a bit more complicated but it should be doable.

    Celeste, is that pop door open all the time now or do you close it at night?

    Celeste, heat is much more of a danger to most of us that cold. As long as they have a little protection they can handle cold really well, but heat can kill them. That’s why knowing a bit about where you are located can help so much. In really hot climates like the Gulf Coast, many people make most of their coop just wire for better ventilation. Quite a bit further north some people use coops with one wall totally open, covered with wire only. Even in winter don’t be afraid to have ventilation.

    Once again welcome to the adventure. You are going to do OK.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote: Good idea -- as usual, from you! I never thought of this. I suppose it would at least partly depend which way the wind comes from, though, because of the point you make about heat.

    I definitely agree with you about that type of coop, too, but of course it's understandable that newbies with only a few birds often start out with them. In the end, I think most people will only be satisfied with a walk in, shed type setup.
     
  6. celeste101

    celeste101 New Egg

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    Aug 21, 2014
    Northern Alabama
    My girls are about a couple of months old. I live in northern Alabama, and while summers are hot, I live back in the woods so its significantly cooler than in open areas. I leave the 'pop door' ( thank you for improving my chicken coop vocab haha) open at all times. They are free range also so they don't spend too much time in there. I didn't think it would be a problem is they slept in the nesting boxes. What kinds of problems come from that? Also thanks for the idea of taking out the coop wall in the run.. I didn't think of that and that is probably what I will end up doing.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    If they sleep in the nesting boxes, you will have poopy eggs. I woulld close them off at night for a while til they adjust to the roost. Try to figure out whether there is something about the roost they don't like -- perhaps it is waarmer up there, if you don't have good enough ventilation at a high point.
    chickens prefer to sleep at the highest point of the coop, so if your roost is higher than the nests, there is another problem with it.

    What is a draft on the roost in cold weather is often a welcome breee in the summer.
     
  8. celeste101

    celeste101 New Egg

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    Aug 21, 2014
    Northern Alabama
    Ok! Thanks for all your help!
     

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