Ventilation versus Minimizing Drafts in Chicken House

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by denverchicks2009, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. denverchicks2009

    denverchicks2009 New Egg

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    We have had our chickens for about 3 months.

    I am busy finishing the chicken house, but I have some concerns about how much ventilation to build into the chicken house. The chicken house floor is about 8 feet by about 5 feet (so say fourty square feet).

    We live at 4,800 feet, and it gets below freezing during some nights in the winter. Usually, about 10 to 30 degrees at night.

    In summer, it gets hot (say 70 degrees and into the high 80s on most days).

    At night in the winter, should you close all vents to keep the chicken house warmer?

    For summer, how many square feet of ventilation should you have?

    Any suggestions most appreciated for those form similar climates.
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Minnesota here with 4 backyard chickens. I have ridgecap-soffet ventilation that is open year around. In addition, I have two 10x10 vents in the gables of my roofline. This keeps any airflow, irregardless of how cold it is, up high and off of the birds while they are roosting. I don't close those vents until it goes - and STAYS - below 0 or we're getting snow from that side of the coop (which is East, so not a lot of weather from that direction). In temps at 10-30F you might not have to close them at all. If it was me, I'd build the vents so that the option to close them has been designed in -- you know, just in case.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:That should not be any kind of problem. By all means leave the vents open -- just configure them so they're not blowing windy air right *at* the chickens, you know?

    At night in the winter, should you close all vents to keep the chicken house warmer?

    If you want frostbite [​IMG] Lots of people do that and get that result (which unfortunately tends to reinforce their belief that they were right to close the vents...). Humid air can cause frostbite right near freezing; in dry air, like in a well ventilated coop, most reasonably cold hardy breeds are fine down WELL below freezing, often well below 0 F.

    For summer, how many square feet of ventilation should you have?

    'As much as possible' in a hot climate, but if 85 F is what passes for hot in your area, that is not such a big deal.

    The amount of ventilation you "need" depends on too many idiosyncratic details to summarize or calculate for your individual setup. However a good safe rule of thumb is that, in areas that are not overly hot in the summer (i.e this means you [​IMG]) you will be pretty safe if you have 1 sq ft of ventilation per chicken, or if you want to live a little more dangerously but still *probably* be ok, 1 sq ft of ventilation per 10 sq ft of coop floor area.

    Check out my ventilation page, though, as there is more info and suggestions there.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  5. Kieyamama

    Kieyamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    patandchickens- I just have to say...you are a wealth of ventilation knowledge that I am very appreciative of.[​IMG]
     
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Agreed!
     
  7. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do windows count as ventilation? I have windows (3) at the roosts so that the chickens can see out and stay cool in the Summer, but should I put a vent over the windows up high, and keep the window closed in the Winter? The one wall without a window has one of those foundation vents up high, do I need more?
    Didn't mean to hijack but I have been thinking about this all Summer.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Depends how cold your winters are, but unless you are fairly far south, you would be better off with some high vents (although in borderline winter areas, you might get BY with windows, if necessary)

    A foundation vent isn't really that much area -- it is better to have too much (and thus some unused) than too little vent area, IMHO. I would recommend a target somewhere around 1 sq ft of vent per chicken; you can often slide by with 1 sq ft of vent per 10 sq ft of coop area; but I would not try to go much lower than that, you might be ok but you might not and it really sucks having to hack a hole in the coop in January b/c the ladies are getting frostbit [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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