Ventilation questions


Apr 21, 2011
Allenton, MI
We are in process of building our "chicken coop" and are debating on how much ventilation we need. The chickens will be in a lean-to that is 14' long, 6' wide, and goes from 5.5' to 7' high. There are 2 windows that I can open on the long outer wall. The lean-to is attached to a shed that is 14' long, 10' wide, and 7' walls with a 3' gambrel roof. There are 2 windows on the opposite side of the shed from the lean-to. A door will be on the connecting wall to let me get in and out of the lean-to from the shed. We were considering putting vents up high on the connecting wall so that we can open windows on both ends of the building and have air flow that way, since I prefer to leave the connecting door shut (and keep the shed floor as poop-free as possible). Does anyone think it necessary to put any vents on the lean-to outer walls at all, or one of those circulating vents on the roof (the ones that the wind spins and it draws the air up and out - sorry don't know the name but the hubby is fixated on those - I don't think it would look right on the lean-to)? We live in Michigan, so it can get pretty warm in the summer, but pretty cold in the winter. I have 6 chickens at this point - don't plan to increase that number too much in the future but reading on this website I think a lot of people say that and things change
Any ideas/suggestions/pictures would be great!
Your concern about ventilation is valid, as well, the summer heat is going to be an issue.
Are you going to have a run for them or will they live full time in your coop?
If the answer is full time inside then it sounds like you have adequate x-venting with the windows you describe.

If you are really concerned about fresh air, you might consider trying a fan, but the blades of the fan must have a shroud to keep your peeps from becoming ground chicken burgers.... sorry if you are offended by my english. My quess is that you're going to just have to try it. If the birds are kept cool then the ventilation will work itself out. If on the other hand they get overheated then watch out. I've had to use a water hose on my flocks in the hottest parts of the summer to keep them cool. They don't like the water at first but they are very flexible and get used to the spray and certainly benefit from the cool down in the hot afternoon.

I live in a cold part of the country and had to insulate my coop and keep it small inorder to keep the birds warm with one heat lamp. I use a two piece improvised door that I open as needed to allow venting. If it rains hard or blows then I just take a chance that birds and building don't blow away. I've found that heat is more of an enemy than a bit of wind and rain....

Just some ideas for you to ponder....

That will be very useful in the winter, being able to have at least part of your ventilation into the adjoining building which will be warmer and wind-free.

However it will probably be of very, very limited use in summertime when you need free airflow for cooling. I guess I can envision a situation where the lean-to coop is so shaded that it doesn't really get very hot, and so is the adjoining building, that you MIGHT CONCIEVABLY in some rare cases get away only with that plus windows, but I think it is much much likelier (especially if the coop is on the S or W side of the building) that you will find you need a good bit more airflow just to keep the coop tolerably cool.

Does anyone think it necessary to put any vents on the lean-to outer walls at all, or one of those circulating vents on the roof (the ones that the wind spins and it draws the air up and out

The turbine-type roof vents are pretty pointless for most backyard chicken coops. They only work when there is wind and if there is wind then it could perfectly well just be goin' thru some large openings and doing an even BETTER job of air exchange. (Exception: if coop itself is located in a very wind-sheltered location so its windows/vents would get little breeze, but roof turbine would stick up high enough that IT would catch some breeze. Bear in mind they don't move THAT much air though and only work when there's wind).

The amount of airflow you will need to keep coop temperatures comparable to outdoors-in-shade temps will obviously depend a lot on the siting of the coop, so you will have to judge a lot of this yourself. But, in general, if it were me, unless the coop is sited in a shady situation (tree, or on N or E side of the adjoining building) I'd want to make a good-sized area of the coop wall openable. Of course you CAN just build it with less ventilation and wait and see if you need to retrofit more. But IMHO that is a giant PITA and it is much, much easier and more satisfying to just design in a comfortable margin of error, so you're likely to be able to cope with however things behave WITHOUT requiring emergency retrofits b/c the chickens are melting

JMHO, good luck, have fun,


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