Ventilation

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kathyb2, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Kathyb2

    Kathyb2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 3, 2009
    I am in south GA. I have two hoop coops. I am building my first coop that is not a hoop coop. My skills are limited. If I have two doors and one large window covered with hardware cloth, will that be enough ventilation? The coop is 4 x8 raised 30 inches. It is 52" high. The doors with be boarded when it gets cold. Probably leave the window open for most of the year.
     
  2. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, you're in south Georgia. Ventilation should take place above the chickens' heads. The problem with elevated, short interior space coops is getting the ventilation above the chickens' heads, but yet getting the roost bars higher than next boxes. I like the design where the roost is at one end of the coop and the opposite end is basically wide-open. Other ventilation could be worked in for summer....removable panels over screened windows on other sides....extended overhangs to keep windblown rain from entering....etc.,.

    You live in a very humid area and the primary goal of ventilation is to rid the coop of moisture and ammonia-laden air. Your chickens will do quiet well in your climate as long as they are not confined in a moist environment and have excess to plenty of fresh air. As long as they can be our of the wind during cold weather they will be fine...they can handle temperatures well below freezing as long as they are protected from the wind and they are dry.

    Standard statements regarding ventilation often cite one square feet of *permanent* open ventilation per large fowl chicken. In permanent, it is meant to be ventilation that is never closed or that can't be closed. Basically a 4x8 coop can handle at a maximum eight chickens...four or five being better. But, for designing, eight chickens would require eight square feet of *permanent* ventilation...nothing that you'll put a board or anything over unless you're experiencing some heavy rain or wind storms (tropical storm or hurricane-type weather).

    Wind and moisture...those are your chickens' enemies...not cold weather.

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  3. Kathyb2

    Kathyb2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Should be ok, the 52" is coop height, that does not include the 30" raise. They have a 40 x 35 run. The nesting boxes are not included in the 4 x 8. There will be 7 chickens in it, but only at night. I have never had to lock my chickens in during the day.

    If I leave one door (the door will be big, basically the size of the width, 4x4) and two high windows hardware cloth, should I also leave a couple of inches between the roof and the wall?
     
  4. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Nice sized run.

    Are the nest boxes attached to the coop (external)? If the boxes are external then if the entrance to them is at floor level then the roost bar needs to be higher than that...if the entrance to the nest boxes are a foot off of the floor then the roost bars need to be higher than that....etc.,.

    The problem with a small coop is trying to vent it and keep the chickens out of drafts. Naturally in the summertime, which will be the hardest on the chickens, drafts and breezes are welcomed. But, wintertime is a bad time for those drafts. In a large coop having venting at the top of the walls in the soffit area is good being as the roosts can be several feet below...there's plenty of head room for the drafts and breezes to pass through. In a small coop that generous head room doesn't exist. Building it where you could open and close the areas at the roof/wall intersection would be great. Maybe even make the gap larger (if you will be boarding it up in the winter) so that in the summer you could open it even more. If you can keep the gap at the top of the wall well above the chickens' heads I think it will be ok to have it there. But.... ;)

    PT Woods promoted "fresh air" coops. He was up north in snow country where it gets/got rather cold (really cold by our standards!). His design was basically for a rectangular coop with one of the narrow ends completely open (wire mesh covered). The rest of the coop was pretty well sealed...no vents at top of walls. His idea was that having such an open expanse of vent promoted air exchange and a removal of moisture/ammonia while at the same time providing fresh air to the chickens. The opposite end, being pretty well sealed, supposedly creates somewhat of a "cushion of air" that prevents drafts and breezes from entering the deep recess of the coop...the recess being where the roost area is. Woods' design incorporates the half-monitor style of coop but I feel that the open-air aspect can be scaled down for a small coop. Here is a link to his old (now public domain) book: Open-Air Poultry Houses For All Climates . You might want to skim through for some of Woods' thoughts on open/fresh air. Read towards the end about Stoddards coops and roosts for hot southern areas. Not that these are absolute gotta-do's but gives some food for thought.

    I'm curious about something. Having a couple of hoop-houses why are you now building a small elevated coop?

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  5. Kathyb2

    Kathyb2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the link. My nesting boxes are attached to the coop, just not inside the 4x8 space. The chickens will not be albe to get on top of them. They are at floor level and the roosts will be 18" tall.

    The hoop houses work really well in GA, they just don't look that great. Wish I could find a way to use the hoop houses without the tarps. I recently moved them from the back of my property to the front because of a fox problem.
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I love my hoop run, but my coop isn't inside the run, it's off to one side. I use a clear, reinforced mesh tarp over mine in the winter to keep the chickens dry, both because it acts sort of like a greenhouse and because it's kinda nicer to look at than a tarp looking tarp, if you get my drift. My climate is far, far different from yours, so mainly what I'm addressing here is the appearance, not the functionality. I'll leave that discussion to wiser heads than mine - guess I'm smart enough to know what I don't know! [​IMG]

    Back when we built ours, I was on the town council. We live on an average sized lot in town - 130'150' - and it's a corner lot. Our setup is visible from street and sidewalk on both the east and north sides, so it was important to me that we not be putting up an "eyesore". Nothing like a council member getting complaints about her chicken coop, right? In a town as small as the one we live in (600+ people) folks are always out walking around in the evenings and in the winter they bundle up and take afternoon walks!

    So we bought some white vinyl lattice. At first we just put a little fence around it - full sized on the east side, and little half heights on the north and south. The north side is shielded with a massive lilac hedge, which keeps that side more or less invisible and acts as a perfect sunshade against the west sun. We loved how it looked. Then our first winter came and we knew we'd have to find a way to keep little "pokey outies" from shredding the greenhouse plastic. Our solution was more white vinyl lattice. We draped it over the hoop, and it worked great. It added a bit of an air gap between the run and the plastic tarp, covered the little sharp bits from attaching chicken wire to the top of our run so they wouldn't shred the tarp, and by golly it looked so nice and fit so beautifully that when spring came (late May, if you live in Northern Wyoming!) we took off the plastic but left the lattice. It added dappled shade to the inside of the run, tied it in with the fencing we'd originally put up, and it's more than exceeded our expectations over the years.

    I don't see why the simple addition of a bit of lattice fencing around your hoop coop wouldn't work just as well. It hides the admittedly unsightly aspect of a hoop run (or coop) and lasts forever. And if you also opt to put it over the top it gives you a second place to anchor your covering, going right through the lattice and the fencing on your coop. It's pliable enough to drape nicely over the hoop, which means you don't have to tie it down every half inch - ours is tied into place with zip ties and it's anchored about every foot or two, depending on how many ties we remembered to buy! It takes our snow load beautifully and has withstood our 60+ mph winds just fine. I'm no engineer but seems to me that it helps distribute any weight over the structure as well, sort of stiffening it against collapsing inward. Of course as you can see from the photos it looks great either way.

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    Our hoop run setup before we put the lattice over the top - before we decided to use it over the top of the hoop as well and before we expanded the run by one cattle panel width. Cute, huh? For shelter in summer we just toss rolls of landscape fabric over it (the kind that's brown on one side and black on the other - the black fibery ones don't seem as air permeable) and we can roll each segment up or down like window shades.

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    Adding another width of cattle panel. These pictures show how well the lattice just drapes over the top of the hoop and how smoothly the landscape fabric (summer in this shot) goes over it. It's the same with our clear tarp in winter. In the bottom shot we didn't have the final fencing up in front yet because we were still working.


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    Putting the lattice fence in front of the addition. Easy.

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    From the inside.

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    We just got this snow last week on Oct. 12. I just love how the fencing makes it all look!

    Whatever you decide to do, please know that with a little imagination a hoop run or coop doesn't have to unsightly. My good friend @Beekissed has a hoop coop and with a little paint, scavenging and ingenuity she has a wonderfully functioning and absolutely attractive setup. I can't seem to get to the exact page where she showed her final (or almost final) tweaks, but her thread is "Tweak my Coop - Tweaks on the Cheap" or something like that. It's worth the search, believe me, and she's in a climate a little closer to yours than mine is.

    Good luck!!
     

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