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  1. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    We remodled an old ice shed for our chicken coop, however I'm finding the shavings are getting damp and I AM getting frost sometimes. I want to add some vents, but I'm not sure what to do as the walls are about 8 inches thick.

    Is there any kind of pipe vent I could use that would let air circulate without letting things like mice, or other animals in?

    Note: I already have a resident deer mouse, she lives in the big concrete bunker and can't get into the main building. Actually, to be honest I have no idea how she even got in the bunker LOL.

  2. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I think 4 inch pvc pipe should work fine for you. If you want to avoid most of the leak issues with cutting a hole thru the roof, you may be about to take it out thru one of those 8 inch walls. Don't know, just thinking.

    Around here, the building code requires only 1/4 inch hardware cloth for vents. Seems kind of open to me for keeping things like yellow jacket wasps and such out of the attic. But, that size screen in your pvc pipe should certainly keep mice out of your coop.

    Best of luck,

  3. antlers

    antlers Songster

    Jun 20, 2008
    East Cent Minnesota
    Same boat here. Lookign for something like a 2 or 3 inch exhaust fan that I could stick in a PCV pipe. Can't find anything like that. 4 inch would be too big I think for 8 hens in a 8x12 coop.
  4. As far as fans go try to find an old computer and remove the fan from it...should fit in the pipe but not sure of the amount of air draw they are also called muffin fans.
  5. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Without knowing the size of your coop or how much moisture is getting in there is no way to tell if a 4 inch PVC pipe would work for you or not. You need enough air-flow to let moist air escape and fresh air enter. To me, this indicates at least two openings.

    How big should they be? Again, no way to tell. Most coops require more than the chicken-keeper suspects. Trial and error may be your only way of telling. I assume you have an opening door or window? Try cracking those open a bit to tell. In fact, with walls that thick, I'd look at using the door or windows as a vent location.

    I'd avoid unnecessary fan-driven ventilation and provide adequate natural air-flow if at all possible.

  6. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:My coop is 13x17 feet. I want to avoid the fan-driven ventilation for sure. The dust from the shavings will clog up the fan and burn out the motor.

    I have 4 openable windows, the front door, and the pop door. But with the cold temperatures we've been getting, I don't want to open all the windows and leave the coop freezing.
  7. How high is the ceiling? With only 15 hens you probably have enough air space and it's certainly been cold enough to warrant caution. Any pics? Maybe we can be of more help if you give us a look. An old ice house is probably beautifully constructed, too.


  8. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:I'm going to guess the ceiling is about 6.5 - 7ft high. It'd be beautiful constructed if it had been taken care of over the last 5 or so years, it has an attic but it is going to be filled with blown in insulation in the spring. It also has a large bunker at one end, that would have had the meats, etc. in it with ice. The building is wood, aside from the concrete.

    The bunker is getting filled in with cement in the spring as its damp, and we have a resident mouse in it. I'm thinking PVC vents sound like a good idea so far, close to the ceiling.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    First, I forget, the insides of your walls are insulated, right, not bare stone or cinderblock or concrete? If bare stone or cinderblock or etc, then your best bang-for-your-buck will be to cover it over with plywood, with or without additional insulation behind it. To prevent condensation. Stone/block/etc walls are notorious condensation factories during warm snaps. If there is no exposed stone/block/etc in the inside, then ignore me here [​IMG]

    Do the gable ends of the building have any vent openings built into them, even if they are into the attic rather than into the coop space. If so, use those openings -- connect with coop ceilings using ductwork, which ought to be insulated (condensation, again).

    Otherwise, if the walls are wood, you just have to cut vents in them. I would NOT advocate pvc pipe or anything like that, b/c you just don't get very much airflow. It takes, uh, I can't find my calculator but something on the order of 10-12 4" circles to give you just ONE square foot of ventilation... and you will prolly need more than that [​IMG] Nicely made vents will not spoil the building's look, and besides, if animals are being kept there, function is more important than pretty *anyhow*.

    If the walls are all stone or cinderblock or whatnot, and you can't or don't wanna go putting holes in them, you might have to use the windows. Which is not ideal at all. The best compromise would be to remove the windows and replace with shorter ones with a transom-style vent above them in the original window opening. If you don't want to do that you could construct a plexiglass-and-wood-frame baffle that fits on the inside of the windows, like a6" deep box that is open only at the top, so that when the window is cracked open the air actually enters the coop near the ceiling, you know? This would be a pain, but you NEED ventilation.

    I forget whether you have droppings boards cleaned every morning -- if not, doing that will considerably reduce the moisture load while you work on ventilation.

    (e.t.a. - with respect to fans, they make agricultural fans designed for heavy-dust environments. However they are expensive and, more to the point, dunno whether you could actually obtain one that would adjust small enough for such a small building. But if you could, I suppose it is a theoretical option)

    Good luck,

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  10. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:Walls are wood, foundation is conrete/stone mix.

    There is no gable vents, but I can install at least one (it's a small attic). The attic is getting blown in come spring, I just didn't have time before the girls were too big to live in the house LOL.

    The attic is closed, it's like a house... an attic with a small hatch entry, the building has a drop ceiling that is wood.

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