Ventilation in the South

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by saraem, May 19, 2016.

  1. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Summers are hot and humid in GA but we do get some cold weather in Winter and occasional snow.

    I'm feeling torn about ventilation and windows in our henhouse and would love some feedback. Here's what we have going now:

    - measures 3x5 (we have 3 hens) and is attached to a covered run that they will have unlimited access to.

    -ceiling is hardware cloth with translucent polycarbonate roof a couple inches above for ventilation and light.

    How much additional ventilation do you think we need? Will they just sleep in the run in the summer? Can any windows we add be left just hardware cloth or will we need to be able to fully "close" them?
     
  2. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is the coop in the shade in summer? It makes a big difference.

    The birds will always roost in the same spot. So the Windows should've operable with wire mesh, so close in winter and open in summer.
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    If there is about a 4 to 6 inch gap between the wall and the roof, all the way around, you will have ample ventilation. You do need to have a way of closing up the windows to keep rain and wind out. Translucent roofing tends to have an oven effect, amplifying the heat inside. I suggest changing it out, or covering it up somehow. Think about how warm a room with a window that faces the sun in the afternoon gets. If the space at the top of the walls is large enough, the coop should have ample light without the translucent ceiling.
     
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  4. BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree here. The translucent roof seems like it would get hot. Sort of like a greenhouse. Replacing it with tin (which is what I use) or covering it seems to be the best option. We are in Virginia so ventilation is an important thing here too.

    My coop has a gap between the wall and the roof on the front and back walls of the coop. The door leading out to the run is usually open all day and then closed up at night. I have a window opposite the door so on nice, spring/summer days there is almost a "draft" effect that keeps a gentle breeze blowing through the coop. Like having two windows open in your house. On days when I'm not home and the chickens cant get out in the run the door is shut and a window on the door is opened, that way the small "draft" is still in place. At night we have little shutters that cover up the wired windows so no predators get in.

    Of course one of the main reasons for keeping a well ventilated coop is the health of your birds and keeping them from getting ammonia poisoning. Keeping the bedding clean in your coop is an effective way to help this too (and of course keeps the smell down too).
     
  5. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, the coop is under a tree and should be shaded for most of the day. The roofing panels I used actually are supposed to cut heat transfer by about 50%. They were more expensive than some others but I hoped to allow light to enter, at least during the winter. If we want/need to we can cover during summer, but I'm hoping we won't have to.

    There is probably a 4" gap in the back, 8" in the front between the top of the wall and the roofing material. Good to know that will be sufficient ventilation. I would still like to create a cross breeze as mentioned above.

    I was not imagining we would shut the pop door except in extreme weather as the run is under the same roof and completely secure. So perhaps adding a window in the side opposite the pop door (hardware cloth with the ability to cover completely in winter) would be helpful for cross breeze when it is really hot?
     
  6. 0wen

    0wen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I leave my pop door open all the time. I haven't wintered in this coop yet but I plan on keeping it open during winter as well (although I may close them in for a few days if they don't want to roost inside initially). Right now, the chickens are about 50/50 on using indoor roosts or the roosts in the run - I imagine they'll be smart enough to go inside if weather gets terrible but we'll see when winter rolls in.
     
  7. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So are they sleeping in the run sometimes? I have been wondering if mine might do this during the summer months.
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    When letting your flock sleep outside the coop, you must first have a very, very secure run.
     
  9. 0wen

    0wen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I currently have a small flock (rebuilding flock after being out of state for 3 years - wife's college) that's around 6 weeks old that have been in the new coop. We're a bit cooler here in VA than you are - temps have been down to around 36 degrees and as high as 80 degrees - staying in the 60/40 range for the most part the past couple of weeks. On the significantly cooler nights, they go inside their huddle box (which is essentially a 8' x 6.5' coop within the main coop/run - my coop is linked in my signature to get a visual) and roost inside, but on nights where it's not really cold - they stay in the run - either perched on one of the perch options, or sometimes (more rarely - usually when raining or such) they'll all congregate and huddle underneath the huddle coop. If your run is secure, I don't see an issue with them bunking under the stars. I think security and ventilation are probably the most important factors in keeping a flock healthy and happy.

    My coop is in a clutch of maple trees that keeps them shaded and offers some protection vs. rain. I added solid back and front walls to my hoop coop to protect vs. wind - the wind blows against the back plywood wall on my land and the rear half of the coop is covered with a trucker's tarp (on top of cattle panels + hardware cloth). The upper side of the coop rests on tangled, rooted, rocky ground that I couldn't dig into with picks, shovels, etc. It levels out on cement blocks that are buried or partially buried (I'm adding some soil and wood chips to finish off the cement blocks soon) and I'd buried a segment of metal fencing about 10-12" around the entire base of the coop. I plan on planting some cover crop there to 1.) make it look better & 2.) discourage digging predators and make it easier to detect digging attempts. I feel comfortable in my security, while recognizing there's always a chance something happens - I give my coop a quick inspection daily when I go to check food/water/well-being. All that to say this - I'd make the coop as secure as you can, and let your birds have the run of the place. You'd need a covered run if you don't have one to keep out climbers and birds of prey, but I like that my birds have access to open air and more square footage 24/7.

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    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  10. BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd be leery about letting them sleep in the run. Even a deemed secure run may fail when a determined Raccoon or Dog wants to get in. I personally don't let chickens sleep outside, but most of the time they go on into their coop when they can. Right now it is drizzling, and has been all week, so most of the chickens are already staying in their coop all day anyways. But if you still don't mind the thought of the chickens sleeping out in the run, then go ahead! Just make sure it's secure enough.
     

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