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Should I cover the windows?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dsc6, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. dsc6

    dsc6 Out Of The Brooder

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    This question is about ventilation, drafts, humidity, and the birds being warm in the winter. This is my hen-house:

    [​IMG]
    There are 4 lower open windows and 4 high round windows. Certainly there is great ventilation, but the position of the open lower windows on 3 of 4 walls makes for complete cross drafts. (the 2 front windows were converted into closed openings to the nest boxes:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    I use the deep litter method and the girls sleep on the floor in a chick pile partially buried in the straw/hay.(as the house is pretty elevated, they have never roosted when they sleep inside the hen-house--funny). I'm not sure what I should do. I was planning on making some kind of plug covers for all the windows, but now know that is a bad idea. If I cover any, I will just staple plastic up over the window to keep the wind out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Before you worry about drafts, I think you need to worry about predators! Maybe I just can't see it from these pictures, but it looks to me like these windows aren't covered with hardware cloth (welded wire). And is there a door to the coop that you close up at night?

    To answer your initial question, I would cover over the low windows with something for the winter. You could make hinged flaps with plywood so you could open and close as needed, and if you hinge them at the top like awnings this would also provide some protection against rain blowing in the windows when they're open.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If there isn't hardwarecloth *securely* attached on all the windows (I am just not sure what I'm seeing), absolutely for sure do it right away.

    As for the issue of closing the windows, yes, unless you live in Maui or something like that you will probably have to block the upwind-side vents, at least the largest and chciken-level ones, during cold weather. The idea is to just make sure you have enough ventilation on the other side(s), in a way that won't be drafty, to compensate. You should be able to work it out just fine, although it may require a little experimentation to find out what's adequate vs inadequate.

    GOod luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    Too cute but yes, cover your windows.
    I don't see where you are located but I would make sure to cover all holes from predators, even if you have dogs.
    And in the winter I would cover with some thick plastic to keep out drafts, wind, snow, whatever. I even use the PVC roofing stuff to cover the windows in the winter. It doesn't keep out the cold very well but we don't get a lot of bad cold weather.
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Predators then weather, it's a good suggestion...

    You could make wood frames with hardware cloth on the inside, vinyl sheeting outside and hinge them. Or use hardware cloth (1/2" gauge) inside the windows and frame some vinyl or plexiglass on hinges to open or close as weather dictates. A lot of things can get into a coop if you do not regulate the predator screen to 1/2", even weasels!

    Some ideas in the lnks below, and this is how we framed some screening this week over the end of a run...

    [​IMG]

    In summer we lift the frames off, which are attached with butterfly hardware, leaving the hardware cloth up all year. This method works equally well on coop or run windows and doors.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  6. ZombieChickens

    ZombieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Check craigslist or a Habitat for Humanity Re-store for windows or plexiglass. Then it'll still look pretty.
     
  7. dsc6

    dsc6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Of course all my windows are securely covered with hardware fabric, and of course there is a door that securely locks at night. It is predator-proof and was before I got my chickens. Thanks for the concern, though. It's all about the chickens.....

    OK, now I will read the responses to the ventilation, etc., question.

    Needed to clear that up first...

    I live in southwestern PA. Zone 6.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Couldn't see the hardware fabric, thanks for clarifying that. You're in a challenging zone, lots of winter coming your way. If you can indeed find some plexiglass I think you would be pleased with it and it's easy to work with. If in a rush, vinyl will do for now. It's snowing here, we're in Zone 5 and expecting winter to savage us shortly! Sweet-looking coop, I think you have been busy in all the right areas with your birdlets! [​IMG]
     
  9. dsc6

    dsc6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm going to have to go sit in the hen house during windy weather to see which of the lower windows need to be covered. My husband built this as a playhouse for our girls in 1995-ish, and it's not air tight, even with the lower windows covered. It wouldn't be hugely drafty, because there are no visible holes anywhere, but it isn't insulated.

    How do you cut plexiglass and is there anything you can put around the edges to seal it better?
     
  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    There is a blade you can get for a jig saw that works on plexiglass and if yours is a scroll saw, even better. Then you have to decide if you are going to router into a frame to hold it or lay it against one side of a frame. If you lay it there is a form of silicone sealant you can use to tighten the seams. I don't know if your windows are 'standard size', but if they are you might be able to buy 'shed windows' which wouldn't cost much more than the plexiglass...[​IMG]
     

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