Ventilation Question for Turkey & Chicken Shared Coop Design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChickenChuckles, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Hi there,

    We are designing a 12x20 ft insulated, wood construction coop with an insulated tin roof that will accommodate chickens and turkeys. We will frame chicken wire walls inside to keep turkeys, chickens, and brooding hens separated. We'll be using screen doors to allow human access between sections. There will be a poultry door for each internal section to allow them out to separated runs.

    We're reading that turkeys need much more ventilation than chickens do, and we have very cold winters (-20 C / -4 F is common, -40 C/F is possible).

    We're planning a two foot tall ventilation strip (open to outdoors with hardware cloth to keep out weasels) along the top of wall to accommodate the turkeys, but it will run the entire length of the coop on the taller wall (8.5 ft), so through the chicken sections as well.

    My instincts tell me that will be too cold for the chickens mid-winter, and that we should create a way to close this up partially for the chicken sections. However, I'm wondering if anyone with experience keeping both turkeys and chickens can tell me if that's necessary.

    Also, will closing that up for the chicken area make it too humid for the turkeys since they're just separated by chicken wire inside the coop? Or would it be too cold for the chickens having the turkey section's ventilation strip open? I'm trying to figure out if we need more than just chicken wire to separate the two in the winter, maybe a plywood wall.

    Thanks for any and all advice!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    Mine all live together in one coop and I've never had any issues with them all living in the same conditions/environment. I've never had chickens get too cold and we also live in a pretty cold environment. They have feathers and down and are actually far more cold tolerant than heat tolerant. People keep them in Alaska without heat so I figure anywhere south of there and we should be okay. The main thing is not to have drafts blowing bon the birds where they sleep on the roosts.
     
  3. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Thank you. How much ventilation do you have in your coop?
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Quite a bit. I have window openings that are covered in hardware cloth and those are fully open almost all the time. I do have storm windows that can fit in the openings but I only put the glass in for a handful of the coldest nights - and I never close the windows all the way. The soffits are open allowing more air flow, and in addition, I added a roof vent that runs the entire length of the coop that allows lots of ventilation. If you go to the "My Coop" link on the left under my name, hopefully it will explain the set up a little better and there are also photos that will make more sense.
     
  5. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Eastern Md.
    Unless you have some kind of thinly feathered exotic breed, don't worry about the chickens getting cold, they are built to handle cold weather. If I were you, I would not waste any time and $$$ on insulation for your coop. Again, the chickens and turkeys already come with perfect insulation of their own, and really don't need any help from us. As far as ventilation goes, open it up. Fresh air is very important, even in winter. Check out the pic below, and check out my coop's winter ventilation. I get winter temps to 0 F here, not including any windchill, and my birds thrive.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Thanks, great coop designs!

    So no insulation, and big open ventilation like that works for you, hey? Our typical sustained low is -30C/-22F, and they'd be ok?

    I'm cautious because last year most of our chickens got frostbite on their combs and wattles when the temp dropped from a sustained -20C/-4F to a single night of -30C/-22F. We had added a heat lamp for that night only, and I've heard rumours that this may have been the problem, not the actual outdoor weather. Something about the heat lamp raising the humidity. Our coop was insulated and had a 24"x24" window that was open a few inches (opens at the top, swinging in, to avoid drafting their roosts). I'd like to avoid that happening again, so that's why I'm being so careful. Any ideas what went wrong, or why it's working for you and not for me? My chickens are all cold hardy breeds.

    This forum is great, thanks to each of you for your thoughts!
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Frostbite, in a chicken coop, is a result from high humidity levels, plus the cold. Not just the cold alone. Chickens generate A LOT of moisture/humidity just from breathing. I haven't seen your coop, or know how many birds you have in there, but it sounds like you did not have enough fresh air exchange/ventilation (Only one window cracked open), to get rid of the humidity that the birds were putting out. If you don't have that air exchange, the moisture in the air is going to settle on the chickens and freeze, causing frostbite. And we haven't even got into gasses from their waste. Without proper ventilation, the chickens can suffer from nasty respiratory problems. Check out the link below. On pg-24, you can read about chickens being kept in open-air coops, in Canada, in -40 temps, with no problem. The design of these coops, is over 100yrs old.

    http://archive.org/stream/openairpoultryho00wood#page/n0/mode/2up

    As far as insulation goes. If you coop is properly ventilated, and I'm talking about WINTER ventilation, insulation is useless. Think about it, your house is insulated, to keep in the warmth, from your furnace. You keep your windows and doors shut, for the same reason. Now, in a chicken coop, you have a bunch of birds in there, with high respiration rates. Putting out high levels of CO2, and humidity, which HAS to be gotten rid of. So a coop is going to be open to the outside, even on the coldest days. So what good is insulation going to do, in an open building? The answer, nothing.
    I have found the inside temp of my un-insulated, un-heated coop, to be usually 10 degrees or so higher than the outside. Each chicken has a average of 106 F body temp. They come wrapped in one of nature's best insulators, their feathers. I read somewhere, that a chicken generates about 10Ws. Put a bunch of them together, and they can warm up a space. Go in your coop on one of the coldest nights, and put your hand under one of those hens. I guarantee your hand won't get cold.
     
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  8. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Wow, that's excellent insight, and a dramatic cost savings. Thank you! Great book as well, I'm already enjoying the read.
     
  9. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    I want to thank each of you for your inspiration! The coop is built, and here are a few interior photos and a view of part of their new run. Exterior photos to come - at some point!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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