Ventilation?

5

535616

Guest
Good day ALL.....This is my first day. My husband is building an addition onto his car barn(was my horse barn) and I'm claiming 8'x10'! It will have 2 windows, a man door, a chick door, insulation and ventilation. My question is....I've read u shld have 1' per 10 sq ft. So 8' of ventilation? Also what about an exhaust fan? Something i can turn on in the summer or whenever to blow out the fumes? My plan is to eventually have 10 australorps. They will have an outside run. Oh btw, I am a recently retired R.N. I have 5 dogs, 5 cats and a killer Caique. My husband found your BYC site. I want to get away from factory farming eggs. I like to cook up eggs for the dogs as well as myself. Nice to meet all of you.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium member
Jul 23, 2018
12,313
91,312
1,442
Apalachin, NY
My Coop
My Coop
Hello and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
That is excellent that you are already building your coop BEFORE you get the chicks.
Just put in lots of ventilation that will be over the chickens heads when they roost as well as windows at roost level to allow cool evening breezes to blow across them during the warm months.
Line the openings with well secured 1/2" hardware cloth to prevent predator infiltration.
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium member
Jan 30, 2015
45,586
124,369
1,647
Hello and welcome to BYC - thanks for joining us. Hopefully the coop build experts will be along to help soon.

This is a useful link of BYC guides to take a look at announcements-feedback-issues-guides.3 I’d suggest including your location using the guide in the link. You can use this link to contact members in your area - Find your State's thread.

Best wishes

Pork Pie
 
5

535616

Guest
Hello and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
That is excellent that you are already building your coop BEFORE you get the chicks.
Just put in lots of ventilation that will be over the chickens heads when they roost as well as windows at roost level to allow cool evening breezes to blow across them during the warm months.
Line the openings with well secured 1/2" hardware cloth to prevent predator infiltration.
Yes! I was planning on the hardware cloth. We also have Least weasils in the are along with racoons, possums, coyotes. Thxs
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
10 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,164
12,240
707
Southeast Louisiana
:frow Welcome to the forum, glad you joined. :frow

I'm not a huge fan of magic numbers for this or much of anything else to do with chickens. Some people would have you think that you need the same thing whether you are on the equator or arctic circle. Different types of ventilation have different efficiencies. Taller coops are generally more efficient at moving air than short ones. There are a lot of variables. General guidelines give you a starting point but are not a law of nature.

Your climate isn't that bad for chickens. From your historical records you can have some pretty hot days so heat may occasionally be an issue but not often. I'd expect your nights when they are in the coop to cool down nicely. Your winters can get pretty darn cold.

Chickens can typically handle cold better than heat, something to do with those down coats they wear, but they do need some help. Mainly keep them out of direct wind and give them decent ventilation so the moisture doesn't get too high. Wind chill is real but with chickens there is another factor. Their down coats keep them warm by trapping tiny pockets of air. Those air pockets gives down its insulating effect. If a breeze strong enough to ruffle their feathers hits them that can release those insulating air pockets.

Another danger to chickens is frostbite. Anytime the temperature is below freezing frostbite is possible, usually on their combs or wattles. But moisture is a big factor. If the air is moist frostbite is more likely. Moisture can come from their breath, their poop, waterers, or other possible sources. You need enough air movement to remove that moisture without creating breezes strong enough to ruffle their feathers.

A much smaller risk is that when their poop breaks down, composts, rots, whatever you want to call it, it produces ammonia. Ammonia can damage a chickens respiratory system, yours too for that matter. But ammonia is lighter than air. As long as you have even small openings up high that ammonia will escape. But if your coop gets a strong ammonia smell you might want another high opening. To complicate this, if your coop is wet you can get a strong ammonia smell even with good ventilation. You want to avoid a wet coop.

I've seen chickens sleep in trees when the temperature never got above 0 F (-17 C) for several days running. People I trust on here say they'e seen chickens spend the winter sleeping in trees in Northern Michigan or in Nova Scotia. Who knows how cold that got. But those chickens were not sleeping on a bare tree limb overhanging a bluff, crowing defiantly into the teeth of a blizzard. They were in sheltered spots out of direct wind but with great ventilation. One problem we can create with out coops, especially those little bitty elevated ones, is that we can build wind tunnels that focus breezes on the birds and they have no place to go to get out of it. Yours should be big enough that you can avoid that.

Warm air rises if there is cooler air to replace it. That is how you get passive ventilation. Warm air also holds more moisture than cooler air. Your moisture sources will be warmer than the other air if it is below freezing outside so that air should rise. So it is really beneficial to have openings up high so that warmer air can escape. In summer when heat is your enemy it is beneficial to have a low opening on the shady side where the air is cooler than on the sunny side to let in cooler air. A breeze on the birds in summer is a good thing. In winter, no. In winter enough cool air to replace the warmer moister air should come in through your higher openings.

What will your 8' x 10' area look like at the roof line? Will it be single sloped, gabled, or something else. How do you plan on providing ventilation? My preferred method (pure personal preference, you'll see a lot of that on this forum) is to have roof overhang and leave the top of the walls open. Have the coop tall enough that the roosts are lower than those openings. That way any breezes pass over the birds heads so they do not get a direct hit but the turbulence caused by any breeze stirs up the air inside the coop enough to remove that bad air. The overhang protects from rain or snow getting inside but a light dry snow can still blow in. Still it is pretty effective.

Other than leaving part of the wall out and covering it with hardware cloth to keep predators out you may be able to use ridge vents, roof vents, gable vents, or maybe a cupola to improve ventilation. I'd be a bit careful of ridge vents where you are, snow may block it. These have different efficiencies, depending on how they are set up, but generally high is better. I'd be reluctant to use a motor-driven fan because of potential dust getting into the motor. In your climate a fan should not be required anyway.

What is going in your husband's part of that extension and how well is that ventilated or sealed off? That may give you an option. If that is open to the atmosphere enough that it gets good air exchange but blocks wind so you can stand inside in a blizzard and be out of a breeze, you could put an opening on your coop into there to give you more good breeze protected ventilation. My coop is set up similarly. But the down side of that is that chicken make a lot of dust. Some of that is chicken dander, bits of skin and feathers flaking off. Hopefully neither of you are allergic to chicken dander. But their scratching also produces a lot of dust. That comes from a dirt floor if you have one, them shredding bedding, or their poop drying out and being scratched into dust. Your husband may not appreciate a layer of that dust in his portion.

Good luck with it. This sounds like a tremendous way to provide a great coop with plenty of room for your chickens. And once again, :frow
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,395
1,530
276
Kalispell MT
I wonder why you are putting in insulation. People put insulation in a building to help hold in heat. You do not want to keep the warm moist air in the coop. You want it to leave via the upper vents. Insulation is also a wonderful place for mice to spend the winter. They love that warm cozy stuff. I live in northern Montana. I don't have insulation in the coop. It has gotten down to -22F, -30C. At that temperature the chickens are out in the covered and protected from the wind run. With the down blankets chickens wear year round they can deal better with cold than heat.
 
5

535616

Guest
:frow Welcome to the forum, glad you joined. :frow

I'm not a huge fan of magic numbers for this or much of anything else to do with chickens. Some people would have you think that you need the same thing whether you are on the equator or arctic circle. Different types of ventilation have different efficiencies. Taller coops are generally more efficient at moving air than short ones. There are a lot of variables. General guidelines give you a starting point but are not a law of nature.

Your climate isn't that bad for chickens. From your historical records you can have some pretty hot days so heat may occasionally be an issue but not often. I'd expect your nights when they are in the coop to cool down nicely. Your winters can get pretty darn cold.

Chickens can typically handle cold better than heat, something to do with those down coats they wear, but they do need some help. Mainly keep them out of direct wind and give them decent ventilation so the moisture doesn't get too high. Wind chill is real but with chickens there is another factor. Their down coats keep them warm by trapping tiny pockets of air. Those air pockets gives down its insulating effect. If a breeze strong enough to ruffle their feathers hits them that can release those insulating air pockets.

Another danger to chickens is frostbite. Anytime the temperature is below freezing frostbite is possible, usually on their combs or wattles. But moisture is a big factor. If the air is moist frostbite is more likely. Moisture can come from their breath, their poop, waterers, or other possible sources. You need enough air movement to remove that moisture without creating breezes strong enough to ruffle their feathers.

A much smaller risk is that when their poop breaks down, composts, rots, whatever you want to call it, it produces ammonia. Ammonia can damage a chickens respiratory system, yours too for that matter. But ammonia is lighter than air. As long as you have even small openings up high that ammonia will escape. But if your coop gets a strong ammonia smell you might want another high opening. To complicate this, if your coop is wet you can get a strong ammonia smell even with good ventilation. You want to avoid a wet coop.

I've seen chickens sleep in trees when the temperature never got above 0 F (-17 C) for several days running. People I trust on here say they'e seen chickens spend the winter sleeping in trees in Northern Michigan or in Nova Scotia. Who knows how cold that got. But those chickens were not sleeping on a bare tree limb overhanging a bluff, crowing defiantly into the teeth of a blizzard. They were in sheltered spots out of direct wind but with great ventilation. One problem we can create with out coops, especially those little bitty elevated ones, is that we can build wind tunnels that focus breezes on the birds and they have no place to go to get out of it. Yours should be big enough that you can avoid that.

Warm air rises if there is cooler air to replace it. That is how you get passive ventilation. Warm air also holds more moisture than cooler air. Your moisture sources will be warmer than the other air if it is below freezing outside so that air should rise. So it is really beneficial to have openings up high so that warmer air can escape. In summer when heat is your enemy it is beneficial to have a low opening on the shady side where the air is cooler than on the sunny side to let in cooler air. A breeze on the birds in summer is a good thing. In winter, no. In winter enough cool air to replace the warmer moister air should come in through your higher openings.

What will your 8' x 10' area look like at the roof line? Will it be single sloped, gabled, or something else. How do you plan on providing ventilation? My preferred method (pure personal preference, you'll see a lot of that on this forum) is to have roof overhang and leave the top of the walls open. Have the coop tall enough that the roosts are lower than those openings. That way any breezes pass over the birds heads so they do not get a direct hit but the turbulence caused by any breeze stirs up the air inside the coop enough to remove that bad air. The overhang protects from rain or snow getting inside but a light dry snow can still blow in. Still it is pretty effective.

Other than leaving part of the wall out and covering it with hardware cloth to keep predators out you may be able to use ridge vents, roof vents, gable vents, or maybe a cupola to improve ventilation. I'd be a bit careful of ridge vents where you are, snow may block it. These have different efficiencies, depending on how they are set up, but generally high is better. I'd be reluctant to use a motor-driven fan because of potential dust getting into the motor. In your climate a fan should not be required anyway.

What is going in your husband's part of that extension and how well is that ventilated or sealed off? That may give you an option. If that is open to the atmosphere enough that it gets good air exchange but blocks wind so you can stand inside in a blizzard and be out of a breeze, you could put an opening on your coop into there to give you more good breeze protected ventilation. My coop is set up similarly. But the down side of that is that chicken make a lot of dust. Some of that is chicken dander, bits of skin and feathers flaking off. Hopefully neither of you are allergic to chicken dander. But their scratching also produces a lot of dust. That comes from a dirt floor if you have one, them shredding bedding, or their poop drying out and being scratched into dust. Your husband may not appreciate a layer of that dust in his portion.

Good luck with it. This sounds like a tremendous way to provide a great coop with plenty of room for your chickens. And once again, :frow
Hello,
Thxs for the help. I'm not sure that I am replying correctly, here goes. I'm closing in the rt side to look like the left side. It will have electricity and lighting. No choice in the insulation as its my husbands work area. He will build a wall to enclose my coop with a high ceiling and lots of ventilation near the top. So no fan? O.k. As for how warm it wil be in there i hope 0° at the lowest. If i put a roll up door I'll have to forfeit a window of the two that I wanted. I guess if it gets too warm i can crack open a window. Somehow i doubt it. It can drop to -23°C here. Or I can put in a man door and have 2 windows. Idk yet, still in the planning stages.
 

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