Too much air? Not enough air?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mr Hen, May 28, 2012.

  1. Mr Hen

    Mr Hen In the Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
    Southern Missouri
    Six weeks ago my wife brought home twenty baby chickens. After weeks of brutal construction, I have finally (mostly) finished the coop and he chickens are in it. We bought a prefab 10'x10 ' shed with a loft and converted it to a coop. I cut windows and placed 1/2" mesh over them. Of course, then it threatened to rain. I've got heavy plastic sheeting hooked over the windows when it rains. I installed a remote temperature sensor. My wife noticed the coop was getting warm 98) so I installed a box fan into one winow. Personally, I think 98 is probably nothing.

    I'm a little concerned though, that when I cover the windows for rain, like I did tonight, that the air might become toxic. That can't be right though, because I'll certainly have to have it sealed more in the winter.

    How cold and how hot can chickens get? What about chickens that are only about 5-6 weeks old? It's going to get into the 40's this week, will I need the heat lamp?
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    1 person likes this.
  3. PeepsAreForMe

    PeepsAreForMe Songster

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    Apr 10, 2012
    Pemberton Borough, NJ
    Yay Chicks! - thanks for that link, it answered all of my ventilation questions! We have a small coop with just 5 chickens in it. It has a cute plexiglass window on one side, and two 2" holes on the other. THAT'S IT!! My DH keeps saying it was built for chickens so the company that built it must know what they are doing. NOT!!! Our girls spent their first night in it Saturday night, and in NJ Saturday was very warm and humid. I was so worried that they would suffocate and die! The next day DH took out the window and covered it with hardware cloth. I felt better but now want to cut another window in the opposite wall.
     
  4. Mr Hen

    Mr Hen In the Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
    Southern Missouri
    Those links are pretty good, but don't really give me real parameters to work with. The coop actually smelled fine this morning, so I'm guessing covering the windows with a tarp will work for the short term during rain. It doesn't fit tightly over the windows. I may have a problem if it storms when it's hot. Maybe I can brace the makeshift blinds to make an awning.

    It's going to get to 46F this week. Is that too cold for 6 week chicks? They all have feathers but clearly aren't full size.

    What temperature can full size chickens tolerate?

    I cut four windows at the peak of the shed. How open should they be when it gets 0F? I live in southern Missouri, so it won't get that cold often, but that's not never.
     
  5. redhotchick

    redhotchick Chirping

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    May 22, 2011
    Fort Worth
    VENTALATION VENTALATION VENTALATION!!!!!!! If it stinks in your coop,its not healthy for your birds. It depends on breed,but most farm hens will never get too cold where you live. Its a on the fence thing for birds that young. Just listen to them & they will tell you all they need.
     
  6. Mr Hen

    Mr Hen In the Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
    Southern Missouri
    The idea that it can never get too cold for my chickens is something I'm going to have to get used to. That does explain the designs of coops I'd seen around here. Obviously, it almost never gets very cold here in S. Missouri. I just have trouble believing it. I may just be able to leave the top windows open in the winter. I'll open those up as soon as I figure out how I'm going to make something to keep rain out. Here is how the shed is now.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    When the temps are mild to warm at night, it's fine to leave the windows open. When it gets cool at night you can cover them. Keep in mind that cold air coming in underneath or level with your roosting chickens can create drafts. Ventilation, however, placed above the chickens heads should remain open year round to allow humidity and ammonia to escape.
     
  8. Mr Hen

    Mr Hen In the Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
    Southern Missouri
    I see that you are from Oregon. I lived in Eugene for a while. All of the weather you get is what I would consider mild to warm. We've allready had a week in the mid '90's and in the winter usually have one spell near zero.

    I am getting the impression though that novices like me underestimate the cold tolerance of chickens.

    My biggest concern is the combination of heat and rain right now. I need to work out a way to weatherproof my peak windows without covering them. It's the most complicated engineering issue Ive had with this coop. I've got storms through Monday, then some breathing room. So far the coop actually smells pleasant.
     
  9. SouthernAlberta

    SouthernAlberta Songster

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Canada - Garden Zone 3
    Two of my three pullets were six weeks old when I brought them home to my coop and the very next day we had a snow storm that wasn't predicted. The temperature went down to 0C/32F. The girls did huddle together in one of the far nest boxes but they were fine. I now call that their "huddle box" and I won't prevent them from using that one for that purpose. The entire front of my coop is open with just hardware wire. I draped it with a wool blanket for insulation and a blue tarp over that, bracing it down to keep it from flapping in the wind. It will get much colder than 0C here when winter comes again and I plan to have solid panels to go on the front of the coop when it gets that cold. Or maybe I should say "almost solid panels" since I know we'll still need ventilation in winter.
     
  10. Take a trip to Alaska and see the chickens up there.
     

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