Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by worms7, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. worms7

    worms7 Songster

    May 22, 2015
    i am going to put some ventilation in my new shed . should the tempreture inside the shed be the same as outside or less, or if I cant smell ammonia inside the shed is this ok
    cheers phil

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    A shed to me implies it is a decent-sized walk-in, not one of those tiny elevated coops. That helps me to visualize. I know it seems cold to you, but in England you really don’t get that cold as far as chickens go. Still, it gets cold enough for you to be concerned about frostbite.

    Any time it gets below freezing frostbite is possible. Just like the wild birds you see outside, chickens can handle the cold as long as they are housed properly. When it gets really cold or a strong cold wind is blowing, wild birds hide in thickets or other places out of the wind but don’t lock themselves in airtight locations. They make sure they gave outstanding, great, fabulous ventilation. That’s what you need to shoot for in a chicken coop, wind protection but plenty of ventilation.

    The biggest contributor to frostbite, other than freezing temperatures, is moisture in the air. Moisture comes from their breathing, their poop, water not frozen, outside water getting in the coop, or maybe something else. Good ventilation up high allows this moisture to escape without breezes blowing on them. Since ammonia is lighter than air, openings up high allow ammonia to escape too.

    Nowhere have I said anything about the temperature inside the coop being warmer or colder than the outside air. As far as wind protection, that’s irrelevant. Usually it will be warmer in the coop than outside from the birds body heat, the heat from the poop, maybe the thawed water is a little warmer than the air, and with a coop on the ground during cold snaps the ground is usually warmer than the air temperature. In some coops this temperature difference will be noticeable, in some not really noticeable but it doesn’t need to be much. You’ll still get air movement with good ventilation up high. The only time II can envision the inside temperature being cooler than outside is when the outside temperature is increasing fairly rapidly. That’s not going to be a concern.

    If you can smell ammonia you probably need to do something. Good ventilation up high will allow it to escape without building up, but it’s still not good for you or your birds to breathe. Ammonia is created when poop composts or breaks down. It’s not noticeable unless the poop is thawed and kind of wet. Wet poop is dangerous to your flock, not just from an ammonia standpoint but also from a disease standpoint, some bad things can live in wet poop. What you need to look at is why the poop is wet.

    Wet might come from rain or snow blowing into your coop. If the coop is in a low spot rainwater runoff may be collecting there. If your waterer leaks or the birds spill it, you can have a wet spot. Another common cause is that the poop builds up so thick that it doesn’t dry out. You may need to remove the pop before it builds up that thick.

    I don’t know enough about your specific situation to give specific advice, I can only be general. Don’t be shy about providing a lot of ventilation up high. Don’t worry about temperature. Keep the coop dry.

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Songster

    Dec 15, 2014
    Venting is not just to rid the ammonia from the coop. Air quality is part of it, but it also serves to regulate temperature and humidity levels.

    In summer you want enough ventilation so that the coop isn't any hotter than outside temps.

    In winter you want enough ventilation to rid the coop of excess humidity. The chickens bodies pump heat and moisture into the air. In an ideal situation there is enough ventilation such that just enough heated air is retained to raise the coop temp a few degrees higher than outside temps but most of the heated air (and the moisture that it carries) is vented out.

    Put in lots of ventilation but make it adjustable. You won't regret it. It'll let you open everything up to let in the cool breeze in summer and give you plenty of options for abating the cold and humidity of winter that can lead to frostbite.

    When it comes to ventilation, more is generally better and adjustability of that ventilation allows for maximum flexibility in all seasons to deal with those times that the weather decides to throw you a curve ball.

    Put in vents all along the eaves or just leave the eaves open and reinforce with hardware cloth. That will be your fixed ventilation and the backbone of your temp and humidity control.

    Install some windows on opposite walls to each other and away from the roosts. I like windows hinged at the top because they help keep wind, rain, and snow out. If you are using double hung windows make sure they can open from both the top and bottom. These will be what lets you quickly and easily increase air flow, providing a nice cross breeze in summer and allowing for a nice airing out of the coop on cleaning days and those freak warm days that come along every so often in winter.

    Install some adjustable vents down low on at least 3 of the walls. These will let in cooler air that will push the hot air out the top. Why on so many walls? Because you'll want to open them all in summer to cool the coop but you'll want to close the ones under the roosts in winter so there isn't cold air blasting up the birds skirts. Having them on multiple walls ensures you have enough to still get the job done in winter.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Molpet

    Molpet Crowing

    Sep 7, 2015
    N. Illinois
    My Coop
    Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

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