Ventilated but Free of Drafts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Bubsiesmom, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    And the banging on the window from the annoying flashlight??

    Fond memories [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    haha...I am telling no tales!
  3. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Lol :D

    That's actually a VERY good analogy! It's much colder to go running around without um, "clothing" when you're wet vs dry ;)

    Wet combs and wattles from hot moist breath can end up in frostbite :(
  4. mcbrown7513

    mcbrown7513 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2015
    Southern Mississippi
    Should a chicken parent (me) paint the inside of a coop to keep the condensation from accumulating? My coop is small for the number of hens I have. However, it is well ventilated. The coop is raw wood in and out. Just bought primer and paint for the outside.
  5. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    paint will not keep moisture from frosting or condensing on the walls. The only thing that will keep moist air from condensing on the walls is ventilation!

    Paint can be a good idea but it isnt necessary. Some people like it because a painted surface is easier to clean. Light colors will make the coop lighter inside, and helps to see if any creepy crawlies are there.

    If you want to paint it, go ahead, but!!!! be very very careful about the paint vapors. You might consider keeping the hens in a box or a dog kennel for a night, so it can dry and really air out.
  6. mcbrown7513

    mcbrown7513 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2015
    Southern Mississippi
    Thank you La la. Good advice is priceless. I will paint the parts that get dirty. The rest will be ok I think.
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's not the only thing, insulation and vapor barriers can stop or help prevent condensation from forming...

    Lets go back to the car analogy, the windows condensate readily but your padded and insulted roof of the car doesn't., right?... The padding/insulation, vapor barrier and/or sometimes double layered metal with a air lock between metal layers on the roof of the car prevents condensation as it offers a level of insulation the windows don't have...

    Or if you are a home remodeler a sure sign of lack of insulation or a failed vapor barrier is condensation on the walls inside the house...

    Insulation in the wall and ceiling can and does help with condensation, it just need to be applied properly but insulation alone is not a replacement for proper ventilation...
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
    3 people like this.
  8. Bs Peeps

    Bs Peeps Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 11, 2014
    To Ridgerunner - Thank you for your eggselent clarification on this topic. I don't desire further clarification but because your insight is logical and carries an air of experience with it, I do desire your opinion on my coop construction - with regard to ventilation.
    Shown in my photo is the inside of my 4x5 (20 sf) hen house. The right-pointing arrow points to a screened vent along the entire width/length of the top edge of that wall, about 5 inches in height.
    The left-pointing arrow points out an example of some gaps between the boards of the other wall. Allows for expansion and contraction of the boards.
    And you'll notice the door has a screened window - which can be covered with a hatch in extreme weather.'ll notice there is a fence behind the coop/run which wraps around the east end, which houses the hen house. The fence is on the south side of the coop/run. Winds typically come from the west and southwest; the west side is blocked by cypress trees and property separating wood fence.
    My pop door access to the run is expected to be shut at night.

    In your opinion (or that of other readers), do I have enough/proper ventilation? Thanks.

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  9. mistermaster

    mistermaster New Egg

    Jun 1, 2015

    I've been wondering this too. I'm about to move my birds into a larger coop. The coop is actually a room in my barn. The coop's exterior walls face south and east, while the north and west sides are surrounded by the rest of the barn. In the picture, the space between the rafters are open to the rest of the barn. Is this sufficient, or should I have it vented to the outside?
  10. fabelizer

    fabelizer New Egg

    Aug 5, 2012
    If this were my coop, I would prefer some screened holes in the board at the top where the rafters come through. Those would allow the warm moist air to escape. If cut with a hole saw, and the cut outs saved, you could put the cut outs in or out to adjust the amount of ventilation. Or you could simply have doors to cover individual holes. Generally, you will leave them open all year.

    We have 2 doors that can cover a 2 inch opening across the front of our coop on the high side (and East) under the roof that are the length of the coop. Nine months of the year they are wide open, and in the winter we throttle them a bit. When it is really cold, (below 10F is my rule of thumb), I close one of them, and the other is dropped down, but not closed. The three windows are always open at least a crack and the crack is about 6 inches below the perch. (In the summer all the windows are wide open.) It seems to be working, and as I have learned, it is better to give them more air, even when really cold (0F or below).

    This will be our 3rd winter in Ohio with chickens. Last year we had 2 straight weeks below zero, often with highs below -7F. Since I have some glass windows, I watch them for Jack Frost, and open more ventilation panels if I see any! It has worked. The first year we had a little frostbite on their combs, but they recovered, and being more worried about cold that first winter then moisture is definitely why we had it. This past winter (which was far more severe in the temperature department), they had more ventilation and less comb damage. We didn't loose any chickens either winter. However, being concerned with the cold that first year, we had a lot of frost inside the windows. That concerned me enough to open the vents more, and it probably saved some lives!

    Other things that need to be considered are how many birds to how much space. More birds will keep it warmer, but also wetter, so you need more ventilation. You really have to watch. If you see frost on the inside of the wooden walls, it is WAY TOO WET in there!! It is much harder to create venting in the winter, so do it now, and cover it if you feel you have to, just be ready to open it up if there are signs of frost in the coop. Water containers also add moisture to the air. You might consider removing them at night if you can't get rid of frost formation inside the coop. We use the inverted flower pot and light bulb trick, so that releases considerable moisture. I am aware of that, and keep the vents open!

    It is very hard, especially when it is less than 10F outside, to resist closing up the coop, but experience has taught me that it is NOT the right thing to do. You have enough wall ventilation, but I would add some holes higher to create some convection to move out the moisture. As the birds breathe, they let out a lot of damp air, their poop adds even more dampness, and moving that wet air out is the key. The colder the air gets, the less moisture it can hold, and if condensation starts to form on the birds, the frostbite and chill set in. You really just have to believe that, until you've seen it. I have, so I know.

    If you live where it is rarely below 20F, you can pretty much leave everything open, so long as it isn't windy in the coop. I designed mine to replace air from the windows below the perch, and exhaust it at the top. Again, it seems to be working, as long as I leave some open.

    1 person likes this.

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