Ventilation- Open Front Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mrskenmore, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Everyone!

    I recently read somewhere about a man that never closes the front of his coop so it can have adequate ventilation. Of course now I can't seem to find that article or thread... This is my first winter with the girls and I was thinking about doing a similar thing after thinking about this for about a month. (overthink much?!) I have attached a photo of my coop- I am thinking of taking the acrylic off of the front lime green window. (it is secured with hardwire cloth as the acrylic was for the winter) Thoughts? The coop is 12 sq ft and I have three hens. The opening is around 30" h x 10" wide. I close the pop door at night and the roof is pitched up towards the from of the coop and from the roost. (which sits about 3' away from this front window.) I do not have any other vents or openings that would be open. I originally covered the windows with acrylic for the winter- but after monitoring humidity and temps in the coop I am realizing I need to open something up. Also- I have noticed that sometimes the relative humidity outside is quite high even in the winter if you get a real rainy day... I live on Long Island and our winters are sometimes mild and sometimes very harsh. I am confused between drafts and vents, but this window would be the furthest and highest point away from them sleeping at night..

    Thanks for any and all help!

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  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I think this is the guy you're talking about.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/u/55557/jacke

    So from what I read, it sounds like you have no ventilation in your coop.
    That's a bad idea for several reasons. A 30X10" opening may be about right for 3 birds.

    They're outdoor animals that need fresh air. We only keep them in coops to save them from predators and give some rain shelter. They've also evolved to handle a wide variety of climates.
    I have huge openings on opposite sides of my coops.

    If you read through the threads this time of year when people close up their coops, the 'Emergencies/Diseases/Injuries - Cures" section is full of posts about respiratory problems.
     
  3. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I believe you are right- thanks for finding the thread for me! You are correct- the coop has no real openings right now since we installed the acrylic last month. It is not insulated or air tight by any means - but not ventilated. I am going to remove the front acrylic panel tonight. I am just overly worried about then drafting them- but reading what you wrote they will still be warm enough with no draft- do you think? Sometimes us humans can cause more harm then good trying to "help mother nature" [​IMG]
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    It's important to remember that chickens evolved as jungle fowl in the Eocene period from tropical rainforest to the Himalayan foothills. That means they can adapt to a wide variety of climates. Further, they have been domesticated around the world from Norway to Chile and all climates in between. They can roost in trees. I always wonder how they keep a draft out of a tree.


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    There's a rooster sitting on that roost with the wind blowing right on through. I've never lost a bird to cold or respiratory disease.
     
  5. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very true! Okay so acrylic window gets removed tonight after work.... I have a device to measure the outside temp and humidity as well as the coop temp and humidity. It has been pretty rainy and humid lately... but what is the overall temps I am looking for? If it is below freezing- the humidity in the coop shouldn't be more than 60% right?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    With a well ventilated coop, the inside humidity would be close to the ambient humidity. You can't control that. What you can control is not raising it above ambient with insufficient ventilation. Chickens' respiration and feces add a lot of moisture.
    If you could keep it below that it would be nice but I have high humidity here all the time and without an environmentally controlled building like a home with a dehumidifier I don't know what you could do.
     
  7. windyflat

    windyflat Out Of The Brooder

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    You need a deeper house to pull it off successfully. My open front is 8'x16'
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, JackE is our resident expert on this. You can always PM him and ask for his comments. He’s a pretty nice guy.

    How can chickens sleep in trees? They have the freedom to move around and get to a place that blocks the wind hitting them directly. In our coops they don’t have that freedom. Don’t think in terms of a draft that will cause a column of smoke to waver when you ae checking your house for leaks around a window. Think of a wind hitting the chickens enough to ruffle their feathers and let the air trapped in them escape.

    In an open air coop you are creating a dead place in the air flow. There is still air movement but it does not hit the birds.

    To me an easy way to provide ventilation is go have openings above their heads while they are on the roost. That way, any breeze that comes in doesn’t touch them but passes over their heads.
     
  9. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I removed the acrylic from the front window 3 months ago- since then we have had over 2' of snow that hasn't melted all of february and temperatures that are hovering in the 10's and teens with a high in the 20's. The girls are thriving (no more frostbite on the combs) so I think that I did something right! even though my coop isn't as deep- my opening also isn't as large (3 sq ft)

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  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

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