Questions on drafts and disinfectant

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ed62, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Ed62

    Ed62 Chillin' With My Peeps

    #1. We have a concrete floor in the coop. Should this be disinfected every so often? Once a year? More often? Never? Would you use regular bleach for this?

    #2. There are 3 windows in the coop, about 10" X 10" each, and another window roughly 16" x 24". The 3 smaller windows are about the height of the upper roost, and close to it. They will be sealed for the winter, but I'm wondering when this should be done. Would it be risky to leave the windows open during the night when the temperature is in the 40s? I have about 6.8 sq. ft. of other ventilation, with 6 pullets and a cockerel. I guess a better question would be "At what outside temperature do you need to be concerned about drafts"? If you have a 90 degree day, and you have the windows open when it gets to 70 degrees at night, it seems like it would be beneficial. Quite possibly I just don't understand the concept of drafts.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  2. Ed62

    Ed62 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow! Did I mess that up.[​IMG]

  3. arcatamarcia

    arcatamarcia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2009
    I think it might be a good idea to seal your concrete floor. And yes, you might want to disinfect it once a year. Certainly couldn't hurt.

    Chickens can handle quite a bit of cold. But they need to be dry and out of drafts. Openings across from each other, so the breeze can go straight through, is what causes drafts. Drafts are good when it's hot, so I would leave all windows open when it's warm. You might want to close at least one window at the roost level, when it starts to get close to freezing, so you won't have a draft. I would definitely leave the high window open all year for ventilation.
  4. FlipFlopFarmer

    FlipFlopFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    if you disinfect with bleach, a one part bleach to 9 parts water mix is great. bare cement is cold in winter, i would put some hay/shavings/litter down. i would say any air movement below 75 at night would be a draft, in my opinion. If u cant make the whole coop air tight on the cool drafty nights, designate one corner and make it cozy, with perches, nest box, etc. i do all sorts of temporary things to my coops in the winter, using plastic, shavings, hay, rubbermaid boxes, caulk, spray foam, insulation board, etc, and in summer im trying to move as much air as possible with fans, moving chicken tractors to get more wind, and opening everything up. We go from 110 in the summer to snow on the ground for 5 days last winter.
  5. Ed62

    Ed62 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks very much for both replies. Now I have more to keep me awake at night. [​IMG]

    Quote:That statement kind of surprises me. I guess I'll have to take some pics of my coop, and post them for critique. Thanks again.

  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Drafts are at floor level or across the roost. You need high ventilation-anything besides windows? If the air doesn't blow directly across the roost, you can leave a window open or cracked. Better to leave all windows cracked than to close them up tight, but you just don't want air blowing across them while roosting in winter.
  7. Ed62

    Ed62 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, my "other" ventilation mentioned above, is high. But they are openings on the east and west sides, directly across from each other. They are higher than the roosts, and I thought that was going to be just fine. Possibly arcatamarcia meant to say openings across from each other at lower levels ? Thanks for the help.

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  8. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    If I had a concrete floor, I'd seal it at least, but I'd also cover it with a wooden floor and wood shavings.
    Having a concrete floor or stepping stones under a wooden floor is an ideal situation; nothing can dig its way into your coop.
    During spring, summer, and fall I leave the windows open to catch any cooling breeze that comes along.
    During winter, I close all windows/doors/pop doors tightly, and make sure there's lots of ventilation at least two feet above the roost level.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  9. Ed62

    Ed62 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks Joe. When I built the coop, I didn't even think about sealing the floor. Now that it's been mentioned, I realize I should have done that. We do have about 6' of pine bedding on the floor. Maybe I should clean everything out before it gets too cold, then get it sealed. I don't need frostbite problems in my first winter of keeping chickens.

  10. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    No one has really addressed your ultimate question yet: when to close down the windows at roost level.

    If it was me, I'd go ahead and do it with night time temps in the 40's. If you find it getting too warm in the coop during the daytime with the windows closed, you could always open them in the day and close them back down at night, right?

    Chickens would probably be ok in drafty conditions at temperatures lower than the 40's, but why take any chances when it's so easy to eliminate the draft? That's my thinking, anyway.

    Your 6.8 square feet of "other" ventilation should be plenty for 7 chickens, and keep humidity in your coop down below levels where frostbite becomes a problem. If you really want to keep an eye on humidity (other than using your nose and sniffing for ammonia levels), you can put one of those combination temperature/humidity sensors in your coop. I have a remote unit that lets me check the temperature and humidity of the coop from the comfort of my own bedroom. It's nice to have for those of us that tend to be worriers.

    Unless you have a particular breed of chicken that's not cold hardy, your chickens will do fine even in a bitterly cold winter if they have a dry, draft free but adequately ventilated coop. They come with down coats, after all!

    If you do use bleach as a disinfectant, let it dry and air out thoroughly before you return the chickens to the coop. Chickens, like other birds, have very efficient respiratory systems and are susceptible to airborne pollutants. I know that if you mix bleach and ammonia, you'll create chlorine gas (very toxic), but I'm not sure whether or not ammonia from chicken poop could cause the same chemical reaction. In any event, don't return the chickens to the coop until there is no more bleach smell.

    Oh, forgot to include this excellent link on the subject of the winter coop:
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010

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