Settle an argument: draft vs. ventilation

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by paeskie, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. paeskie

    paeskie Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    32
    Mar 22, 2011
    I need help to settle an argument with my husband.
    We live in North Carolina (not in the mountains). We have some cold nights in the winter, frequently in the 20s, occasionally lower. It rarely snows. Most days are in the 50s during the winter.
    We keep five hens in a chicken tractor in our backyard. They free-range some most days, and seem pretty content.
    The portion of the coop they roost in is a raised box about 4x4x3 with a sloping roof of currugated metal. The walls go right up to the roof, so ventilation is in the waves of the roof.
    We are arguing about whether or not to block off the door to the roost at night.
    One opinion is that wind coming in through the door to that small space is a dangerous draft for the birds. If we close it after they go to roost and open it at dawn, they will be sleeping the whole time, and will stay warmer.
    The other opinion is that closing the door diminishes ventilation too much. Predators have not been a concern. Locking the hens in a small space without food and water is risky, even if someone lets them out early in the morning. The opening is partially protected by another sloping roof.
    What say you experts?
    Should we be locking them in or not?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    66,638
    17,638
    836
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Do you really think that I am going to enter that fray? [​IMG] Here are some home made definitions - mine only, so please no flaming. Ventilation is air movement/exchange that does not directly contact the birds. Draft is an air movement that directly contacts the birds. I don't know your coop/run set up, but simply because predators have not been a concern does not mean that they might not be some day. Good luck on working this out.
     
  3. paeskie

    paeskie Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    32
    Mar 22, 2011
    Thank you for your reply, though I still need advice. It comes down to this: which is a greater danger to our birds: the draft of an open door or the lack of ventilation with a closed door?
    Honestly, predators are not a factor. This is our coop. The doorway in question is at the top of the ramp. It is partially protected by the roof over it. The wind can still come in from the side. The hens roost above the level of the doorway, but I don't know how much wind they feel, or how cold is too cold.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Cknldy

    Cknldy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,489
    87
    158
    Nov 6, 2012
    Appalachian mtns
    I shall toe the line with eyes closed so as not to be bitten while entering the fray....I shall start by saying I am no expert and did not think of everything for winter when I built my coops in the Spring. That said- my nest box in rir coop is open front straight to the run, back to prevailing winds. Winter wind came and I quickly had to rig siding to run at boxes to block wind. Bg coop made about the same and very open. Found myself working in wind and snow to block wind there too. In my opinion as long as roost is not directly in front of door the chickens are fine. Even though they are sleeping at night they shouldn't be shut in with no air circulation. I'm not saying they need a spring breeze just that moisture may become a problem. Chickens aren't like people and yours seem to be pretty well protected from drafts. Btw- mine are doing great in mtn weather without an actual house although they will get one this summer!:)
     
  5. Cknldy

    Cknldy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,489
    87
    158
    Nov 6, 2012
    Appalachian mtns
    [​IMG]bg coop b4 ramp put in. Had to block entire side, bottom in back to keep water from freezing, and half of front with other side totally open. Instant warmth. Not totally enclosed.
     
  6. Cknldy

    Cknldy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,489
    87
    158
    Nov 6, 2012
    Appalachian mtns
    [​IMG]rir nest boxes/ roost box attached to end of run. You can see the quickly added tin to box in the sides at the nest/roost box. Sufficiently blocked wind for no freezing water and I can feel instant warmth walking in. My babes have weathered this winter fine so don't worry about arguing. Love one another! Lol
     
  7. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,341
    106
    218
    Aug 18, 2011
    Virginia
    Usually try to follow Sour's lead - but gonna toss some opinions in from way over here and hope to not get too messy from the 'fray'..
    [​IMG]
    I would like to say that poor ventilation could be more of a danger than predators. IF you are really and truly somehow free from any sort of creeping critter that would want to chase or eat your chickens (and kudos to you since most of us have not been able to manage that). Then the dampness in cold weather could lead to frost bite and maybe some respiratory problems.
    Have you thought about some sort of curtain over the door? Something heavy that the wind can't blow. You could hang it over half the opening for a while till they got used to it, then cover the other half and see if they will push through to get inside????
     
  8. paeskie

    paeskie Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    32
    Mar 22, 2011
    Thank you for your reply. To be sure, we totally agree that we want to do what's best for our chickens. And if I don't ask advice from this crowd, I don't know where I'll get it :)
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    66,638
    17,638
    836
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Umm, from your husband? [​IMG]
     
  10. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,915
    1,153
    336
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    Is that a solid roof on the outdoor portion? I'd think that would block the wind blowing at that side pretty effectively.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by