Ventilation for Florida Heat

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by askem, May 23, 2019.

  1. askem

    askem Songster

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    Hi everyone! I'm trying to learn as much as I can about chickens because... I'm getting two or three sometime this year or next! I know it's pretty far away, but I have a lot to learn before I get them ;)

    Anyway, we live in Florida (specifically Pinellas Park) where it is H O T almost all the time, except for a few nights. My chickens will live solely in my back yard (quarter of an acre) and have free range, and then for their safety will go in a coop at night. The coop will stay open during the day, too, so they can go in if they want to.

    I'm still trying to design the coop, and that's where I'd like some help!

    In our area we have seen:
    - Coyotes
    - Crocodiles (or Alligators? I can't tell the difference)
    - Raccoons
    - Stray Cats
    - Black snakes
    - Rats/Mice
    - "chupacabra" as my S/O swear... I think it was a mangy dog

    Luckily, we haven't seen ANY of these in our back yard during the day time - but that doesn't mean they don't come in at night!

    So I am wondering what is the best option to keep the hen coop cool at night, but also safe from all of the predators? I also want to keep it cool enough during the day, because it can get 100 F+ here easily and I don't want them to go in to lay and egg and get heat exhausted. Of course I will leave water out for them always.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I would HIGHLY recommend that you NOT go with the typical box type coop.

    You want something like this:
    cedarpet-ranch2_1.jpg
    Make the wire a strong hardware cloth, or maybe one layer of hardware cloth and one layer of a stronger beefier wire so dogs or whatever can jump against the wire walls and not bust them.

    Put the roosts and nests in the back more sheltered area, the feed and water in the front.

    With this design you have the space to install a fan in the top if you need more air movement. You could also put a window or large close-able vent on that back solid wall.

    My baby sister lives in Texas and has something similar. Her back coop part though has no wall at all on the top half, just wire. And yes, she gets hurricanes and big weather, and freezes at times in the winter... her poultry are healthy.
     
  3. askem

    askem Songster

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    Thank you! That is pretty much similar to the design I had in mind, except I didn't plan an "A" shaped roof I thought about a slanted roof. :)
     
  4. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

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    What ever roof design you pick have large overhangs to help keep the rain out. BTW crocodiles live in Africa... and you forgot panthers well your a bit north of where they hang out at. Is the yard well shaded?

    You should put your general location in your profile.

    JT
     
  5. alexisrambles

    alexisrambles Chirping

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    I second the recommendation of a not completely enclosed coop. Just make sure they all have room to get off the ground, and that the coop doesn't flood.
    If you feel like you NEED something you can lock up, I'd recommend a 2x4 frame with hardware wire/cattle panel at the top for air flow and plywood along the bottom half or 2/3. That way you get good ventilation still. I can draw it out if you can't picture it.

    We did something like the second option for my rabbits. We also had a fan hung up from one of the corner posts to help with airflow.
     
  6. McChics

    McChics Songster

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    You left one of the most notorious predators of all off the list.

    Snow Birds

    :yesss:
     
    Melodychick, askem and Jen T like this.
  7. Jen T

    Jen T In the Brooder

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    I used to live just south of you in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. Our coop was a VERY similar set up to what Alaskan posted and commented on above. It worked out great. If it weren't for the open concept I think the girls would have roasted. I know I was roasting and that's why I'm further north again!
     
  8. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Songster

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    Also if you plan on having 2-3 hens you will likely end up with 6-10 so plan accordingly... I am sure you have read already but the number most commonly thrown out is 4 sq. foot of coop space per bird. Being in the south they won't spend as much time in there in the winter as us folks further north but they will be spending a lot of time in there during rain and storms etc. so try not to skimp on the size thinking they will be outside a lot.
     
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Actually there are Crocs in Florida but they are in the everglades. Around here we have Alligators.
     
    Ursuline Chick likes this.
  10. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    Agree. 2 or 3-sided coop with high emphasis on wind protection, yet well ventilated and as much shade as possible. To help with adding shade and rain protection, I would extend any roof as far out as possible. A single slant roof can be great- the hot air just keep rising up and out. Some people add a mounted livestock fan to pull air up and out a window, an upper vent or add in a roof vent.

    Where you situate the coop is important too. Keep them protected from the prevailing winds, and if you need further protection at times, plan for a way to easily add it in. One poster from HI adds clear shower curtains to one side of their coop during the rainy season. Other posters add clear roofing panels or wood to protect from winds or rain during key times. Our coop is directly behind our barn to protect from winter winds, and gets morning sun, but is completely in shade by approx 2 pm.

    Good luck !
     

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