Ventilation + cold winters?? And window question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gracejr, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The shed we're getting has no ventilation, so far as I know. It is a big shed, 12x10x10' high approx... It sounds like the easiest/cheapest way to add ventilation would be to cut holes up near the roof, frame them off and add chicken wire attached to the inside? Is that right? How big should the ventilation areas be for a shed this size? Do I need the ventilation areas to have a cover in the winter months, or should they remain fully open year round? The coop is not insulated, and it can get pretty cold up here, especially at night. What about snow and rain blowing in through the wire openings? The roof peaks would be facing north and south, with the south side 6-10' or so from our tree line.

    As for windows, what should I be looking for? And does it matter which way they are facing? I was thinking 2 windows on the south side, 1 each on east and west. Probably not any on the north side, since the door takes a lot of space. Plus there will be a divider blocking off the front 4' anyway.


    Here's the shed. I'm not sure what the long skinny thing on the roof there is? Is that some sort of vent, or what might it be?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I have no idea what that long skinny thing is. If it is a vent, don’t count on it during the winter. Snow could block it.

    Chickens need ventilation in the winter to get rid of the moisture build-up. Don’t worry about the cold. They wear a down coat year round and can handle cold much better than heat. Your danger is frostbite, not them freezing to death. There have been several posts on this forum where people in your climate were having frostbite problems but the problems stopped when they added ventilation.

    What I suggest is you avoid is a cool breeze blowing directly in them in the winter. In the summer, a cool breeze feels good. How do you manage that? Have permanent ventilation higher than where they roost. In summer, you can open windows or have other openings below them, but in winter I’d keep the ventilation higher than them.

    That sun-looking thing may be some type of ventilation opening, but it is nowhere big enough. I’d suggest leaving the top of the walls open under that overhang on both sides for maybe 6” to 8” and cover that with hardware cloth. You’ll have predators there that can rip chicken wire apart. As long as the roosts are lower than that elevation, they will be fine and that overhang will keep rain and snow out.

    If you wish, you can put gable vents on there, especially if that sun looking thing is not a vent. The louvers will help keep the rain and snow out and will really help in the summer. You don’t want the coop to get wet, but if it is well ventilated, a bit of rain or snow won’t hurt. It should dry out pretty quickly, but you might need to rake it or throw corn on the bedding and let the chickens rake it for you.

    You’ll need at least one window so you can see to work in there and the chickens can see to go to bed when it gets dark. You’ll find some people on here with strong opinions on how many and where they should go. I‘m not one of them. I’d suggest putting at least one on a typically downwind side for your prevalent winds in the summer so you can open it in the summer when they need extra ventilation. And cover the opening with hardware cloth to stop predators.

    You can get all different kinds of windows. You can buy them new, look on Craigslist or find one of those recycle places, or just make them yourself. I like being able to open it in the summer for the ventilation, but that is not absolutely necessary. An easy way to make a window is to frame in the wall area and cover it with hardware cloth. If you want to be able close it in winter, get a piece of Plexiglas and figure out a way to mount it, either making it removable or hinged where you can lock it open or closed. If you hinge it at the top, you can lock it open and it will help shed rain.

    That area under the overhang will let in some light if you elect to do that, but I’d have at least one more window to let in light. More than one is great.

    Just my longwinded opinion. Hope you get something helpful out of it. Good luck!!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. ChickenLover WI

    ChickenLover WI Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a big shed12x10x10' like this how many chickens can you have for a size like this?
     
  4. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, if I cut openings all the way across and say a foot or so high under the gambrel in front and back (north/south), then cover with wire, that will work? The vents would be 8' up or so, so definitely above the roosting areas. May actually be higher than that, I'm not sure if the peak is 10' or 12' high. I'm just not sure how I'd make them to be able to close off any covers since they're so high? I'll definitely want a cover for the north side, since north winds can be an issue. Not sure about the south wall, since that will be at least partially protected by the tree line. Should I keep all the ventilation openings above that mid point in the roof where the angle changes, that way it's more protected by the small overhang? Roosts will be no higher than 5' up, so drafts from the vents should be a non-issue.

    To attach the hardware mesh, are you simply stapling it to the framing, or how do you attach it to keep it predator proof? I don't think it would be an issue for the vents, but for other areas where I may use wire, I want to be sure it's secure. We used to have raccoons and skunks in the area, but haven't seen them in at least a year. I'm sure they'll be back once we have chickens though. No big cats, but maybe fox?

    Debating adding gutters along the east and west walls for rain barrels and to keep the run drier (on east side anyway), but not sure yet. So I likely won't be adding any ventilation on the east/west walls. I will have windows though. Just not sure which way I'll be going with them. The east wall will have a door to the coop and a pop door, and I want a window with planter box in the run for them to get at some marigolds if they can hop up there. South wall I was thinking 2 windows, and probably one more on the west wall? No windows on the north side. I want to be able to open all the windows, since it can get into the 90s and sometimes 100 in the summer. A crank window would provide the most ventilation, but then it would be in the way of any planter boxes, plus how would I put hardware cloth over it and still access the crank? Eventually I want to get some electric in there for a heated water dish and an overhead light for winter, but that can wait until later this year.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  5. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I've read you want to have 4 sqft per chicken in the coop, so if you're using the entire shed for your chickens, and not blocking any off for storage, you can fit 30 chickens in there. (Length x Width. Then divide total by 4) I'll be sectioning off the front 4' for storage space, leaving me with a 8'x10' coop area, so room for 20 chickens. We'll only be getting 6-10 for now, but I want the extra room since I'm sure we'll have more in the future.
     
  6. ChickenLover WI

    ChickenLover WI Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I was talking about putting permanent vents on the east and west walls under the overhang. You said it was 10 feet high and that door looks to be at least 6 feet high, so I was thinking of putting the roosts lower than that. I can’t argue with the gutter idea. That sound real good. I still think you could get the gutters installed on the end of the overhang and have ventilation back under there. Look at how the gutters are attached and where the ventilation would be.

    On the north and south walls, you could do something like you are talking about or just get some gable vents with louvers, especially for the south wall. You might not want to do anything on your north wall. Anything that high up I’d leave open year round. The advantage of a gable vent, or even a ridge vent of some type, would be that in the summer it would let the heat out.

    I don’t know how that change in the roof slope is done. You may have a bit of ventilation under there, but I kind of doubt it. It doesn’t look like much if there is any.

    I’d definitely worry about raccoons. Many people attach hardware cloth with screws and big washers like fender washers. That is secure.

    I do it differently. I cut strips of wood maybe ½” thick and put that over the ends of the hardware cloth. I attach it with screws and drill pilot holes so I don’t split the wood. The screws go through holes in the hardware cloth so it is for sure not coming off. This holds it as securely as those fender washers and has the added advantage to me that it covers the sharp ends of the hardware cloth. I’m really talented at snagging clothing and skin on any sharp wire edge.

    I have no suggestions for those crank windows.
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    An easy venting for this shed would be under soffit and upper gable ends. This would create a forced air flow. More air circulation to smaller openings.

    There are several easy vent products you can use for under soffits. One is the continuous vent for soffits, in your case you'd put it on outer wall and not under eave. Another is the circular metal vents. Those would be easier to install. Hole saw out every foot and pop one in. Then for your gables you can also make a vent with wire or purchase gable vents again. Come in several shapes for rectangles to triangles.

    That would be plenty air exchange to keep humidity out in winter. For summer heat, have a screen door so you can keep the shed door open during days.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  9. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh sorry, I didn't explain that well. For the roof split, I wasn't referring to putting anything between the sections of roof there (I'd be worried about leakage from snow melt doing something like that). Just keeping all ventilation holes in the front/back of the shed above that height point on the wall. Keeping them closer to the roof line, so there would be a bit more protection from snow/rain on that north side.

    Just to make sure, you're saying with vents that high up I wouldn't need to worry about covering them at all? Would it still be a good idea to get a cover somehow for the north (front) wall? For heavy winds or snowstorms? Or with it that high up, plus them being 4' back from the wall, would it not be needed? Or maybe I could do a gable vent on the north wall, then wired on the south. But would a single gable on that front wall be enough to help heat escape? Though, looking at prices for gable vents, maybe I'll stick with wire...

    So for the east/west walls you'd add some ventilation up near the roof as well? 6" tall in 1-2' lengths along the sides or so?

    If it's nice out, do I need to worry about breezes from the windows being open? Or is that only a concern in colder weather? (in which case they'd be shut anyway)

    Another newbie question... On the exterior, how would I go about finishing all these holes to keep the vinyl siding looking nice?
     
  10. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So something like this along the east and west walls? Is that right? I could fit one of these on each of those two walls? If I did that, a gable vent in front, and a larger vent in back, would that be enough if the coop is eventually at capacity? http://www.lowes.com/pd_244089-5259...nuous+vent&N=0&langId=-1&storeId=10151&rpp=24

    It looks like the most economical way to do it would be to do those continuous vents on the east/west walls, then do a wire vent up high on north/south? The gable vents would be far better in appearance, but budget is a huge factor in this project. Maybe I'll get lucky and that metal sun will be a vent in disguise. I don't mind if the south wall is "ugly", since it's the backside of the shed.
     

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