Ventilation and Light Questions for Newbie

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by roni0907, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. roni0907

    roni0907 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2011
    SF Bay/ Delta Area in CA
    My DH is almost finished building our very first chicken coop. The house is enclosed within the run and the entire run measures 12x5 and about 6ft tall. The house within the run is 4x4 and sits about 2ft off of the ground, so the chickens will be able to go underneath.

    My question is this: How much light does the actual house need to have? There is the chicken door leading from the run into the house, so that would be the only light, except if I have the poop door open for cleaning. I am not sure a window is an option at this point, but is that enough light? Will they go in there during the day with only a small amount of light?

    Also, the ventilation consists of the chicken door and a small 2" ventilation strip at the top of the actual house. Is that enough ventilation? I want to make sure it isn't too drafty, but want to make sure they have ventilation while they are inside.

    We live in Northern California and therefore have mild winters but sometimes 100+ days during the summer. Any advice would be most appreciated!!
  2. ladyride

    ladyride Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2011
    East Tn
    When you can please post pics but I don't think that will be enough ventilation. Pics will give other people a chance with far more experience than me a chance to evaluate the coop. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. bertman

    bertman Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    I'm no expert but it sounds like the ventilation may be questionable for hot weather IF you close the door at night. That would eliminate any air flow and create a stifling environment for the birds. If the run is secure and you don't have to close the door you may get enough ventilation to be safe.

    Also, if you close the door in winter you are going to have no air flow to ventilate the ammonia buildup in the coop--which seems to be an issue when the birds are in an enclosed space for a while.

    I'm sure someone else can help answer your questions.
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    They say a coop needs one square foot of ventilation per chicken. And I don't think you can ever have enough ventilation in a coop. Chickens are heavy breathers and the poo builds up a lot of smell and ammonia which can cause respiratory illness if the air stays consistently bad in the coop. A draft is a lot of air with an icy breeze. Ventilation is a lot of air on a summer night. If I were you, I would cut more slots all along the roof top edges and make as much ventilation as possible. If your summer temps are reaching 100 degrees by day, it is going to be really warm in the coop at night and all that heat needs a place to escape. If you feel that it is too drafty in the winter you could always close off one side of these slots to slow the air down.

    As far as light, chickens will go into a semi darkened coop. My coop is not all that bright and they wander in and out all day. So I think you are ok there.

    Oh and [​IMG]
  5. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    I agree with other members, but I am just would like to say [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. roni0907

    roni0907 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2011
    SF Bay/ Delta Area in CA
    Oh, THANK YOU all for your advice! I am going to try and upload a photo or two, so cross your fingers that it works!


    OK, Yeah, it worked! As you can see, the poop door is open and on the right side inside the house is the door that the chickens can use to get out into the run. The ventilation area is at the top of the house, on the left side, but you cannot see it in the picture. This afternoon when it was finished, we moved the chickens in and they LOVED the run area. However, I couldn't get them to go into the house, despite putting them in there several times. They were so verbal about their unhappiness in there, that I ended up taking them back into our house for the evening - I don't want to upset the neighbors with the noise on the first day [​IMG] Tomorrow morning I will put them back out there before leaving for work.

    Anyone have any ideas they can share on how to get them to go into the house and want to stay awhile??
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  7. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nice! Welcome to BYC [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I would make that flip-up door have a hardware cloth insert for air circulation in hot temperatures.

    To make them cozy, hmm .. maybe wood shavings? Is there a roost in there? (can't see)
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    It's lovely!
    And although it's a pain, especially when thinking you're done, I'd find a way to add a lot more ventilation - simply cutting out (break out a jig saw) a decent sized window w/HW cloth over it on one end would work fine. The thing is, you can always cover a window with a sized sheet of plexiglass/lexan for cold weather time, but what do you do when it's 100 degrees inside the housing (partly due to not enough ventilation) and therefore the birds don't want to go inside?? A large opening on the pop door side would be great, because it's already under cover, so rain wouldn't blow in during storms.
    To test - on a hot evening, stick a thermometer inside the housing where the roosts are set and measure the temp.

    ETA - at this point it's most likely the newness and the dark that's making the chicks wary of entering the housing. If it's not too hot inside the housing, a small light (battery operated pushlight would work) inside the housing might tempt them to go inside as it darkens outside.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  9. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    Quote:Nice coop![​IMG]
  10. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    a tiny light to make them go inside at night - yes!

    we do that, with a small solar garden light ... works like a charm & automatically goes off in a short while.

    ours is outside of the coop in our run, mounted by it's stake and rigged with wire & pointed into their window at an angle that doesn't blind them ~ like up towards the ceiling.

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