Ventilation in old stables

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Time-Out, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Time-Out

    Time-Out Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have recently taken on a small project of restoring a derelict bit of land, that has stables made from breeze blocks. We'll be allowed to do as we please with it, so, of course, we'd like to convert a couple into chicken coops. The easy bit is the planning. The question I have is about ventilation.

    There are about 4 stables, so we'd like to use two. We'll be building dividing wals between the two stables, that go halfway up, then metal bars the rest of the way to the ceiling. Each stable has a stable door to the outside (or not at this stage, but we can soon build some). I was thiking about covering the top half with mesh, so I can leave it open in the summer, and close it in winter. Maybe even use plxiglass, so they have some daylight?

    As we'll only be using half the space in the building, what amount of extra ventilation would be needed?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    For the Americans, breeze blocks are cinder blocks. Once again, divided by a common language. I had to look it up.

    Let me give you a link to Pat's ventilation article. She is really good. Her by-line says Ontario, so she has cold weather experience.

    PatÂ’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    I
    converted the end of a shed into a coop, so I had a great dry area to provide extra ventilation. The risk with this is that chickens make a lot of dust, so whether you want an opening into the rest of those stables may depend on how you plan to use that space.

    As far as ventilation, I suggest you provide as much as you can above where they sleep so breezes cannot blow on them on the roosts in the winter. In the summer, breezes hitting them is not a bad thing, but in winter it can be bad. Build your roosts as low as you can and still have them noticeably higher than the nest boxes or anything else you do not want them roosting on, and have ventilation openings above that. My roosts are at 4 feet and my ventilation is at the top of my 8 foot walls. I have a window for lower ventilation I close in the winter. Heat is more of a problem than cold for chickens. I don't know where the Peak District is in the UK, but you will not see the heat many of us do in other parts of the world, but I'd still worry more about the summer than the winter. A lot of it is what you are used to, both for chickens and people.

    If your stable has an overhang, putting ventilation under that is a great idea to help keep rain out. If yiou have really good ventilation, a little rain occasionally blowing in is not that big a deal, but you really don't want the coop to get really wet or stay wet. If it is a problem, you can build hinged or permanent shutters that hinge or attach above the ventilation openings so you can keep them open when you want ventilation. Mine are open all year and my lowest temperatures are in the range of (-) 20 C, but some people like to close the vents in the upwind position in bad weather.

    I covered my vents with what we call hardware cloth. I'm not sure what you call it. It is a welded wire material with openings no larger than 1". Many predators can rip through screen or really small gauge wire and what we call chicken wire is not welded but the joints are formed by twisting. A determined predator can pull on that wire and untwist the joints.

    Making a window with suitable wire mesh and having a plexiglass cover you can put over that is a great way to provide light year round and extra ventilation lower down in the summer.

    Good luck. Hope this helps a bit.
     
  3. Time-Out

    Time-Out Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2011
    The Peak District, UK
    Hi,

    Thanks for your (lengthy) response :)

    Sorry about the language barrier, I didn't think to see if breeze blocks had a different name. My mum calls them parpins, so we're all different!

    The stables are surrounded by trees, so will be cool even in the nieght of summer, which remains rather cool here. I wouldn't think the temperature would ever go above 80. They're also on the side of a hill. Wind, rain and snow would be the main contenders.

    I have read Pat's page, but it doesn't mention whaat to do if the building is noticeably bigger than the area used for chickens. If I have 20 chickens that use 100sqft of a 200sqft building, do I need less ventilation or is it the same? They wouldn't cause as much humidity in such a large space as if I was keeping them in a 100sqft building.

    Your hardware cloth is our welded mesh. I already have a small coop in the back garden, that is full of BYC intelligence. These stables are too good an opportunity to pass on. As much as we spent getting the garden coop perfect, I'd like to do the same again with these stables. It's hell trying to correct mistakes further down the line.

    Other than foxes, our main predator is theives. They are what I worry about the most. I can protect against foxes quite easily, but how do I stop wire cutters and greed?

    What I should probably do is take photos when we go this weekend. I've only seen the stables once, but they're already keeping me up at night with ideas. Hopefully, there'll already be some space between the roof and walls. Looks like we might be investing in a grinder!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I'm not even going to think what our friends in Australia, South Aftrica, or New Zealand might call those blocks. I'm sure we are not the only ones separated by a common language.

    If the rest of the stable is pretty open where it gets good ventilation, I'd consider it as if it were "outside". If it is enclosed and pretty air-tight, I'd tend to not count on that area very much. What you are trying to do is get rid of humidity. Warm air holds more moisture than cool air and it rises. If it has an open area high up so it can escape, you will get rid of humidity. If you can get a cross breeze above their heads, you can get rid of a lot of humidity. But that warm air with the moisture needs some place to go.
     

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