ventilation without windows?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Jewelwing, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Jewelwing

    Jewelwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2013
    East Central Illinois
    I'm building the coop for our 9 chickens (they're 3-1/2 weeks old now), and I'm stumped trying to figure out the ventilation/window plans. I'm building a 6'x6' box with a gabled roof that is 6' at the sides. The roof is going to be a sod roof, so no ridge ventilation. But what I'd planned was to stop the wall cladding 1' below the wall meets the roof and finish it with hardware cloth. So there will be 1'x6' openings at the tops of both side walls. I'm also going to use a storm door as the door, and it has a window that can slide open for more ventilation (I was thinking summer).

    So my question is whether I need to put a window in the back wall, which I could board up during the winter to prevent drafts, or if I could just do the same thing as the side walls (leave a 1' space open at the top of the wall).

    The thing about the window is that it seems like it would provide better air flow during the summer, when I would have the window in the storm door open also, but I'd have to worry about rain getting in (not worried about the storm door since there will be a big awning over it). I'm going to use the deep litter method, so I really don't want it getting soggy, and also I don't want water to drip down the wall on the inside and then cause rot (that sod roof is heavy!). I'm not crazy about rushing out and closing the coop window every time rain threatens (pretty much every day in the summer), and I don't really want a plastic sheet hanging down from the eaves (trying to make the coop look attractive since it's close to our house). Also, I'm not sure how drafty it would be in the winter (I was planning just to use a hardware cloth screen and close it up with shutters in the winter).

    But I don't know if having a foot of ventilation on the tops of the walls would be enough. I could do the same thing on the front wall, so essentially there would be a 1' gap between the wall cladding and the roof all around the coop. Is that enough ventilation if there's nothing lower? I'm worried about not having enough ventilation in the summer (our summers are super humid here in central Illinois), but I'm also worried about drafts in the winter (I know ventilation is important then too, but it's dryer in the winter than the summer).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    Chaosrules, if you add a window (good idea) just put the hinges on the top and you can have a stick prop it open to allow air flow where you can shut it and leave it open just a little in the winter.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jewelwing

    Jewelwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2013
    East Central Illinois
    Wow, fantastic drawing, Whittni! Thanks for your idea! :)

    I guess my next question is if I do what you suggest, would there be too much draft on the chickens in the winter if the window isn't sealed tight? The bottom of the window would be about 4-1/2' off the floor, and the roost will be about 3' off the floor.

    And also, is it too much to have the 1' open all around the top of the walls? That would be 21 sq ft of ventilation for 9-10 chickens. Of course, I don't think it's too much in the summer - I just wonder about the winter. We get into the single digits routinely (but not below 0 too often).

    Thanks again!
     
  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I live in snow county in CT, and I have two standard 24x36 double hung windows in my coop. One stays open all year long. The other I use to control the amount of air flowing through the coop. In summer it is all the way open, in winter a few inches.The only time its completely closed is if we are getting torrential rain or a blizzard. If you check Craigslist, you can often find free windows from people replacing theirs.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Jewelwing

    Jewelwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2013
    East Central Illinois
    Thanks, Thomas. How big is your coop? How many chickens do you have?

    If the windows are double hung, are they 3 sq feet of ventilation each when they're wide open? I think I need more ventilation than that for as many chickens as I have. I was thinking of just using hardware cloth and covering the window up in the winter with OSB, so that I could have the whole opening for ventilation instead of just half. Maybe I'm worried too much & overthinking this whole thing (as my husband has suggested more than once!).
     
  6. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    The shed is 12x16, and I have 19 hens, 1 rooster, 8 mallard ducks and 5 pekin ducks. When both windows are fully open, I have 6 sq feet of ventilation, But I forgot to mention during the day during spring summer and fall, one of the main doors on the shed is open as well, so this adds another 21 sq feet of ventilation. I added a second screen door behind the right door that still keeps the coop secure but lets in plenty of fresh air (it is a wooden screen door from Home Depot for $20, remove the fabric screen and replace with hardware wire). At night and in the winter, the doors are shut and the windows provide enough ventilation. The goal is to remove moisture from the air (a coop without vents or windows would get very moist from the heat put off by the hens) and keep any smell from building up.
     

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