Re-roofing my "barn"

Lacy Blues

7 Years
I will start out with drawings I did to show what my intentions are. My notes to myself are included as I cannot figure out how to get rid of them without reloading from the start.

This is what my current barn roof is like:

This is what the interior wall construction is like:

I have begun deconstructing the flat(ish) roof on my "barn" and intend to put on a pitched roof with a ridge vent.

I want to be able to close the roof vent off in the winter, dependent upon the temperature. My birds seem to be able to handle temperatures in the teens but once it gets into the single digits, they get frostbite. I raise a large combed breed that I was raising before I moved here and I have no intention of getting rid of them. I will do what I need to do to keep them comfortable and healthy.

These roof vent closures will have the option of being mostly closed or fully closed. Not sure yet how I'm going to do that.

The opening itself will be about 12-18". Unless that is too much? What is not shown in the above drawing is the foam board insulation I have that will be installed on either the bottom side of the rafters, or cut to fit up between them directly beneath the OSB board on top. Which position would be better? Also, I plan to put corrugated metal over the OSB, no tar paper but I'll use self-tapping screws with rubber washers to seal the holes.

For lower openings, I have two windows on both the left and right sides (west and east respectively) that are each about 24"x36" and one window in the back wall (north) that is the same size with a change in orientation. I plan to put another window, the same size, in that back wall. The wall that does not appear in the above drawing is the south side of the building. There are two large human doors and two pop doors down just above floor level. The east wall has 6 pop doors about 12" off the floor. The west wall has 5 pop doors.

There has been an addition added to the northwest corner of the barn. I added a room that is roughly 6'x8' and has a pop door on the north wall, a human door that is only covered in 1/2" aviary wire right now. It will receive OSB to cover. If the wind were to come from the south, it would blow directly on the perches. There is also a 2'x2' window in the south wall. This allows wind from the south to blow on the perches as well so before winter, I will provide coverings for this as well. Perhaps I will put clear vinyl on both as the low winter sun would be able to shine through and warm the interior. On the west wall of the addition, the top 3' is open window with hardware cloth. I need to cover these with vinyl as well as our winter winds change directions often and it can come from any direction, plus it receives some late afternoon sun too. The roof pitch of the addition is pretty low. I think it is about 10" at the top from the outside. Right now, this is wide open with no coverings at all. I'm thinking perhaps I can put fence boards over the top openings, leaving spaces between. Will that be good?

This drawing shows the basic layout of the barn. In the upper left corner is the addition that was added. I will try to get photos of this posted soon.

Oh, I may not close the roof vents because I plan to build sleeping boxes for my birds. They will be suspended from the rafters. This will leave the floors completely open. If I have one male in with a half a dozen females and they all pile into a sleeping box for the night, it should keep the roosters' combs/wattles warm enough. I know the sleeping box will need ventilation too and I will put plans for those on here in future days.

I do have a seemingly unrelated question for anyone who might know...

If a mouse is standing on the floor, how high STRAIGHT UP can they jump? Also, if they have some fencing of any sort to climb on, how far HORIZONTALLY can they jump?

We have quite a mouse problem here and I'm working on ways to outsmart them. They are currently able to climb up onto the perches where my birds sleep and chew on their feathers (protein) plus they get in the feeders and it drives me nuts! I don't like feeding mice and even worse, I just don't like them getting into the feeders. They have no bladder and they pee everywhere they go. Plus the defecation is everywhere too.

The sleeping boxes (winter) will be suspended from the rafters and suspended from that will be a platform that has their feed set up. I'm hoping to have it high enough that mice cannot jump up to it and also far enough away from dividing fences and whatnot that they cannot jump over to it. In the summer, I will remove the walls from the sleeping box so that they have a regular perch.

The drawings of my makeshift barn are actually a lot nicer looking than reality but I will show what has been accomplished so far...

"Centermost" pallet removed and supporting post added.

Inside, most cages and obstructions have been removed so roof could be taken off.

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They need to have continuous ventilation, even in winter, as they add humidity and ammonia to the air, both of which need to exchange with the outside air. What prevents frostbite is not temperature so much as removal of humidity. You may need to cover the openings with hardware cloth to help keep mice out. This article explains it very well -- and was written by a Canadian:
I've read the article. I don't think hardware cloth is going to keep mice out of my coop when I have pop doors. I'm sure the mice can jump up and through them with no trouble at all. Also, the person who wrote the article doesn't have a full ridge vent.

The windows will have to be closed at night because they are at approximate roost height and as I said before, the wind changes directions here all the time. The pop doors and human doors are not air tight though so I'm wondering if having it closed up at night will bring in sufficient ventilation. Once I get the ridge constructed, I'll likely go in there with it all closed up and take an incense stick with me to watch how the air moves in different areas.
As for your question on mice jumping they can jump about 12" vertical, I have seen them many a time nearly jump straight up out of a 5 gallon bucket... Give them anything to grap with a little grip like a wood wall and they can pretty much shoot right up said vertical surface....

Also with any roof type vent you need a location for fresh air to come in, or else air can't come out... The ridge vent will create a negative pressure in the building when wind passes over, but for it to work you need to allow air in somewhere else, this is generally done with end gable or sofit vents...
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You are not going to be able to keep mice out of that without going to a huge expense. Mice are just too opportunistic.

Do you get enough snow to block a ridge vent in northern Nevada? Pat probably did in Ontario so no, a ridge vent might not do her much good in the winter. It’s certainly not to be relied upon if you get much snow. In summer, they are great.

In ventilation you are trying to get rid of two different types of bad air. One is ammonia that comes from poop decomposing. Ammonia is hard on their respiratory system and is lighter than air. A vent higher than the roost will get rid of unwanted ammonia.

The other bad component is moisture in the air. That can lead to frostbite. There have been plenty of posts on here where people got rid of frostbite problems by adding ventilation, not by closing the coop up tighter. The moisture comes from their breathing and from their poop. Warm air holds more moisture than cool air and warm air rises. Their breath is warm and so is the poop at first. It’s not much of a difference after a while, but higher ventilation does help get rid of moisture.
What prevents frostbite is not temperature so much as removal of humidity.

This is only half true... At moderate cold temps just bellow freezing humidity does accelerate the risk of frostbite a lot and is a huge concern, but as the temperature continues to fall and is well bellow freezing humidity plays less and less of a factor, while exposure and drafts play a larger part... Either way you don't want the humidity, but even with low humidity frostbite can and does happen if the skin is exposed in extreme cold...
This is only half true... At moderate cold temps just bellow freezing humidity does accelerate the risk of frostbite a lot and is a huge concern, but as the temperature continues to fall and is well bellow freezing humidity plays less and less of a factor, while exposure and drafts play a larger part... Either way you don't want the humidity, but even with low humidity frostbite can and does happen if the skin is exposed in extreme cold...

This is what I have found to be true as well. My birds do well and the humidity is low. This area has low humidity and I think I will be removing poop boards so the droppings can do just that and get mixed in with the floor litter to dry out more. Either that or I have to be more diligent when it comes to scraping the poop boards. Like I said, they do well in temperatures down into the teens fahrenheit but when it gets into the single digits, that is when they have problems. It had only been the males until I tried increasing ventilation, then one of my females showed a bit of frostbite on her comb points as well. Nix that idea.

I do not get a lot of snow here except maybe once every 20-30 years. At that time, I think they got around 24" and that was some time ago. If we ever get an advisory for lots of snow like that, I may go up on the roof and cover the ridge vent with a tarp or something to keep the vents clear. Of course I wouldn't leave it there, just to keep the ridge from filling up... I'd take it off the next day.

With the barn roof the way it currently is, with openings along the entire perimeter, I think cold air would come in and drop right down on the roosters as their pens were around the perimeter of the building. Maybe just moving them away from the outside wall will take care of that.

Is the planned opening at the ridge too wide? Should I make it narrower?
Today's progress...

This is my supremely helpful son. Without his help I could not do any of this... well, maybe the easy stuff. I decided last night that I didn't want to stick my boys in small cages as I was not sure how long this project would take. So, I built this thing to reach over the existing cages and be strong enough to hold his weight or mine and we could get to the screws holding the pallets over the cages down.

All the pallets on this side of the barn are off and we were able to get the ridge up. The current rafters will be taken down, cut to fit and reused.

Tomorrow we will secure the south end... we were just too exhausted to do even one more thing.
Looking good Lacy. I agree with some of the others that more ventilation is needed. My hens were in sub zero wind chills last winter for several weeks and temps in single digits and teens most of the winter and I didn't have any frost bite. My girls huddle, puff up and sleep with their heads down or in their feathers. I swear their toes were hotter than mine in front of the wood stove
Even if its just vents on both ends under the peaks.

I also think of this house when I make changes to my hoop coop. If I ever had a chance to get more land this is the coop I would make.

He also includes a great explanation. And in any old books I have read they always stress the importance of ventilation.

I look forward to watching your barn remodel

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