Ventilation??

Oct 22, 2020
7
7
9
My wife and I are pretty new chicken owners. We inherited a coop from the previous owners of the house we just moved into. It's an old ice fishing house, about 8' by 12'. We have 9 chickens living in it currently, 3 golden comets and 6 silkies. We're worried about ventilation, the coop is insulated with 4 windows, I have 2 4" dryer exhaust pipes up near the ceiling on one end, another 4" dryer exhaust "intake" near the floor on the other end, and one more dryer exhaust in the middle of the ceiling going up and out to a 5" covered vent cap. The coop is not really warm, only about 2-3 degrees warmer than outside which worries us as were in Minnesota and it's starting to get cold. Last night the coop was at 29 degrees all night. Humidity was also at about 50%. Do I need more/less ventilation? And is the temp ok or should I try to heat the coop for sub freezing days? (Out vet said not to let it get below freezing).
20201213_075828.jpg

Intake inside
20201213_075742.jpg

Intake outside
20201213_075821.jpg

Dryer vents inside
20201213_075711.jpg

Dryer vents outside
20201213_075815.jpg

Ceiling vent
 

DobieLover

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You need to secure those dryer vents. I would cut them flush with the sheathing and then securely attach 1/2" hardware cloth over the openings. Right now just about any small critter such as a mink could easily get into the coop.
What was the humidity outside the coop when you got the 50% reading inside the coop? You want dry, not warm. But based on the size of the building I would say you need an awful lot more ventilation.
Do those windows open from the inside or the outside? I would securely attach 1/2" hardware cloth to the non-working side of the windows. That way you can crack all the windows open one or two inches at the top if they are double hung.
I would also consider eventually removing the ceiling from that structure. Then you can remove any solid soffit panels on the front and back walls under the rafter tails. Then you can staple hardware cloth up to that area and open up an awful lot more ventilation that can stay open year round.
My coop is very well ventilated, unheated, and uninsulated. The lowest temperature my flock has gone through is -23°F. They were fine. However, I do not have Silkies. Your Silkies may need an area that you put them in with perhaps a radiant heat panel if it gets much below -10F? I'm not sure as I don't have fragile breeds.

I would invest in a heated waterer though. They're quite easy to make by using either a utility bucket with a loose fitting lid or something similar. This is what I use.
15627200947473552472016001932353.png

It has a thermostatically controlled bird bath de-icer in it for the winter. Installing the horizontal nipples is quite simple.
 
Last edited:
Oct 22, 2020
7
7
9
You need to secure those dryer vents. I would cut them flush with the sheathing and then securely attach 1/2" hardware cloth over the openings. Right now just about any small critter such as a mink could easily get into the coop.
What was the humidity outside the coop when you got the 50% reading inside the coop? You want dry, not warm. But based on the size of the building I would say you need an awful lot more ventilation.
Do those windows open from the inside or the outside? I would securely attach 1/2" hardware cloth to the non-working side of the windows. That way you can crack all the windows open one or two inches at the top if they are double hung.
I would also consider eventually removing the ceiling from that structure. Then you can remove any solid soffit panels on the front and back walls under the rafter tails. Then you can staple hardware cloth up to that area and open up an awful lot more ventilation that can stay open year round.
My coop is very well ventilated, unheated, and uninsulated. The lowest temperature my flock has gone through is -23°F. They were fine. However, I do not have Silkies. Your Silkies may need an area that you put them in with perhaps a radiant heat panel if it gets much below -10F? I'm not sure as I don't have fragile breeds.

I would invest in a heated waterer though. They're quite easy to make by using either a utility bucket with a loose fitting lid or something similar. This is what I use.
View attachment 2447736
It has a thermostatically controlled bird bath de-icer in it for the winter. Installing the horizontal nipples is quite simple.
Awesome, thank you so much. Outside humidity was around 75-80%. There is a cosy coop heating panel in there near the floor where the silkies bundle up at night,with another one that I have to install. All the windows only open at the bottom but are all screened.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
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How big are the windows? You are leaving them open, right??? While your inside humidity relative to outside sounds good, unless those windows are quite large, you may still be slightly short of ventilation - in which case I'd remove the two boards that look like a repair in the back wall, about the height of the existing windows, cover with hardware cloth, and secure with screws and washers. If my guess at dimensions are right, that will give you about 8 more sq ft of ventilation right there and is protected from winds as well.
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
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Jul 26, 2016
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You're in a drier climate than me.
20201213_094117.jpg

I think you'll be fine. But you can open a window if needed, right?
Since I've had chickens it been as cold as -15 F here without frostbite.
20200511_093718_resized.jpg

This hen has been through 4 winters in below zero Fahrenheit weather including the minus 15 F.
All vents and windows are on the wall opposite the roosts.
20190527_051800.jpg
20181104_151017_kindlephoto-24365180.jpg

The window on the right side is open this much all winter. The heated waterer is on the left side near the people door.
20201212_133040_resized.jpg

I don't heat the coop. The heated base comes on at 35 F and uses 125 watts. GC
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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Awesome, thank you so much. Outside humidity was around 75-80%. There is a cosy coop heating panel in there near the floor where the silkies bundle up at night,with another one that I have to install. All the windows only open at the bottom but are all screened.
They need to be screened with 1/2" hardware cloth. Something that cannot be easily torn and prevents entry by small predators.
 

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