Ventilation and drafts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CandiceN, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi [​IMG]

    We recently converted an oversized dog house into a coop.

    [​IMG]


    Since it's Summer, we didn't worry much about blocking drafts, figuring the more ventilation the better right now! I went into the coop to grab a rogue egg today (behind the food bin, silly hen!). I noticed that all around where the roof meets the house, there is a slight gap. In the picture, it's right below the end of the shingles, you can kinda see it in the picture. The gap is not enough to worry about predators, but enough to let air in and out. Will we have to block this up for Winter (I'm in NH - weather can get brutal)? We will be closing the windows and blocking off the gaps around the windows and doors. If we do that, the majority of airflow will be gone so we'd need to figure out some type of ventilation system (I was thinking we could put vents along the underside of the hangover - it is in a bit of a recess on the inside - so it wouldn't be a direct draft, more like a place for air to go). I'm at a loss as to what to do next!! I just want to have it ready to go in plenty of time.

    How much ventilation does a coop need? I plan on them being locked in there the better part of 3 months depending on the weather. We'll cover the pop door with a solid door.

    Thanks! I can take better pictures if necessary when it's light out tomorrow.


    ETA: I have 4 hens, and the coop is 4X8, in case that's necessary information [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I see the ability to let air in, ie, draft, which in summer is a very good thing. Uncontrolled air intake in the winter is a draft that is bad.

    What I do not see is how the air vents, or escapes, thus allowing air which has entered to exit, ie ventilation.

    The differentiation seems very confusing to many people. The foul ammoniated air, the humid air due to the chickens breathing out water laden air, must escape, be vented out in winter as frostbite due to frost, or the freezing of high humidity, is hard on the chickens. A vent normally is located at the higher regions of the coop design. That is direction the warmer, but foul air will go, as heat rises.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  3. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so what I think you are saying is I should put a vent in the gable and block the rest of the gaps off for Winter? Does there need to be more than one vent to create the appropriate airflow? Maybe one in each end? I'm sorry, I don't understand construction much!

    The openings we have now are the two windows (one on either side - as shown in the picture), and the pop door. The coop is generally a few degrees cooler than the outside air, and it does not smell bad at all. I smell the pine shavings in the nest box more than anything else when I open the door to feed/water them or check for eggs.


    Thanks for the reply!
     
  4. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would let the gaps under the shingles there and add a gable vent. Just be sure their roost is below the air flow. Rule or thumb: 1 square foot of ventilation per chicken, summer and winter.

    You could built a peak over your run and tarp the top for winter and still let them out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  5. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks! I know one of the roosts is below the gap, I am not 100% sure about the higher one, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the idea on the run cover, too [​IMG]
     
  6. sixty7x

    sixty7x Out Of The Brooder

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    You should have the venting above the hens when roosting. It might be a good idea to have multiple vents vs. just one big one. Cross ventilation can help pull out the nasties without causing drafts from below. You may also want to consider running a bead of caulk all around the inside seams. I hope this doesn't sound like overkill, but I think it's a bit more critical in small coops. The hens have less room to escape a draft vs. a larger coop where they could just move.
     
  7. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with ZooKeeper, you'll need to let them out in the winter and probably keep the pop door open a good portion of the day. Like PP said, put a tarp over the run, that would be pretty cheap and you could even bring it down to the ground on whatever side has the most wind, snow, ice, etc. I plan on tarping a section of my run to keep out the ice and snow so they have a spot where there will be a wind break. If they're outside, that would be a good time to air out the coop, too. I'm new to having chickens on my very own- but my dad raised them (a LOT of them) when I was a kid. He had a pole barn they were in, and he kept a vent towards the front (not direct wind on them) the size of a people door open all the time to vent it out. Plus, the pop door stayed open and plus he had venting at the top in the roof in the sofits. Even with all of those open areas to vent, it never really felt too cold! I'm going to try to use that same idea on my much, much smaller coop that I am building.
     
  8. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm, ok that will be harder, lol. It is not unusual for us to have a good 3-4 (or more) feet of snow in the yard the Winter. Not sure how we would tarp it correctly so the run wouldn't collapse under the weight. I guess I have some research to do! By Peak, do you mean using a wood frame and attaching the tarp to that? That wouldn't be too hard. and should be easy to remove for Summer. It would probably cover the entire run, since we don't have a very big one.

    For the vents, can I just put one of these types of vents in each gable?

    [​IMG]

    Is that enough for cross ventilation? Also - we don't even HAVE a pop door right now, it's left open to the run all the time. So we'd have to figure that out, as well. I am thinking we could close it during the really bad/windy days and leave it open on the more mild days.

    I just realized we'll have to snowblow a path to the coop when we're doing the driveway. Oy! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  9. sixty7x

    sixty7x Out Of The Brooder

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    what's the size of those vents? In the winter my vents are about 1/2 a square foot on each side. During the day I keep the pop door (16"x16") open as long as the sun is out. I've only got 4 hens myself. I don't have any moisture build up on any of the windows and there is no smell at all. During the summer I'm able to open up my vents ALOT more. When it comes to letting the hens out with 3-4 feet of snow there's nothing I can suggest there. I've only had to deal with 12"-18". But I have to shovel a path about 75' to get from cozy warm house to coop [​IMG] . Guess I shouldn't complain.
     
  10. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can complain about shoveling any amount of snow, lol [​IMG] I hate shoveling!

    The vents in the picture are 12X12 and made of aluminum, but I wasn't sure which size I needed, I was more just asking if that was the right type of vent. The coop is 4X8, so would these work or should I make them a bit larger? I'm seeing that these should actually be installed ASAP rather than waiting for winter, as well. Doesn't look too hard to put those in, thankfully! I may look for the kind you can control the venting on, so I can open them more up on the warmer days to increase the airflow.


    If I install the vents and close off the gaps with caulking, would there be enough airflow? I would make a point of opening the pop door every day for a while if that's what I need to do. I just don't want the girls to freeze or get sick!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011

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