Ventilation advice, again


May 20, 2020
Central Virginia
I have read every thread and article on ventilation available on this website, paying particular attention to the one by @patandchickens. I could use some specific advice on the approximately 25 square foot coop we are currently building to house 6 chickens. The coop will attach to a fully enclosed and roofed run, approximately 120 square feet. First, we live in Central Virginia where the summers are hot and humid and the winters mild by most people's standards though it does get below freezing for extended periods. I have been convinced that 1) we don't need to heat our coop during the winter and 2) we need as much ventilation as possible. I'm somewhat confused by whether operational windows count as ventilation when figuring square footage needed (hardware cloth covered with plexiglass). Our windows will be at roost level so they will be an asset during hot weather but not during cold when they will need to be closed to prevent drafts. We are planning to have a wire ceiling covered by a metal roof which will sit about 3" above the level of the ceiling and open on three sides by about 4". These 4" heights will provide about 5 square feet of vent total. The roof will overhang by about a foot in all directions and we plan to leave these upper vents open all the time. They are minimally 18" above the highest roost (higher in some areas). The coop is about 5.5 feet tall at the rear wall and 6.5 feet at the front.

I'd be happy to hear people's thoughts and advice on whether this is enough ventilation and whether the specs seems safe for the hens. Another related question is whether it is OK to leave the windows open at night during warmer weather or whether that would constitute a draft since they will be at the same height as the roosts. Many thanks.


May 22, 2020
South Bucks, UK
My Coop
My Coop
I'm building something almost identical in size etc. Was asking similar questions to yourself and came up with a similar solution. I'm no expert as this is my first run, but with what you've explained, I came to the conclusion that the ventilation you describe would suffice. Although mine is a somewhat unorthodox build, you can see the responses here.

The drafts that you need to be concerned about are during winter, in which case your windows will be closed as your perm ventilation solution would suffice I think. Leaving them open during warmer weather is exactly what I plan to do, and believe it's perfectly fine.

Following nevertheless.
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Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I'm somewhat confused by whether operational windows count as ventilation when figuring square footage needed (hardware cloth covered with plexiglass).
They can, in summer.
Actually the 'numbers' for ventilation are not carved in stone....
....just like sqft for coop space is not.
There are a lot of variables to consider.
The run configuration can help a great deal.

What you have sounds pretty good.
Post some pics of your coop and run, inside and out, for more viable suggestions.


May 20, 2020
Central Virginia
Our run (picture 1) is finished and has a small coop inside though we don't plan to use it. Instead we are building a larger coop attached to the far/left end that will open into the run. Picture 2 shows the platform that will house the coop. Picture 3 is one framed side wall (upside down). The 4" framed gap at the pointed end will be a hardware cloth-covered vent (on three sides). The ceiling will also be wire covered by an elevated metal roof identical to the one on the run. Hope this clarifies things a bit.


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In the Brooder
Apr 6, 2020
I have a small coop 4x6 with 2 windows and a door leading to the run. Both windows are at roost level and will be closed/locked during the winter. I anticipate cutting a vent in the back wall for the winter air flow as I have 8 chickens and I dont want it to get too stuffy


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