1. Hazeldazel

    Hazeldazel Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2009
    Washington, Connecticut
    I have a secured run attached to my henhouse, so leave the pop door open 24/7. There is also a vent near the ceiling of the henhouse, that can be shut. The henhouse is insulated, and very tight. Now that I have more experience with hens, I'm worried about adequate ventilation during the winter if I shut the vent and pop door, so I leave both open. There don't seem to be active drafts inside the henhouse, and the waterer is on a heating unit with a thermostat. Any input? Also, I'm considering installing further venting this spring after the weather changes. Any suggestions? I should ad there is a 3x4 thermopane window on a crank in the henhouse that I can open as well, but it cranks out from the bottom.
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'd worry a little about draftiness, having in essence both a low and a high vent open during a CT winter (of course I don't know *where* in the state you are). You'd want to satisfy yourself that really doesn't become a problem.

    From the standpoint of just "is there enough ventilation" though, I'd suggest going by what your eyes and nose tell you. When you first peek into the coop in the morning, is there condensation or frost (*some* on the window may be inevitable, but if there is *lots and lots* there, or if it's elsewhere, you've got humidity problems) and does it smell ammonia-y or strong in there? If not, you are probably adequate.

    But of course I will still suggest that, as you're considering adding more ventilation next summer, that would indeed be a good idea [​IMG] Both for summertime cooling AND to give you more amplitude to adjust things in winter. I can't make any sensible specific suggestions without seeing a pic of your coop but if you read my ventilation page (link in .sig below) and exercise some common sense you should do fine as you seem like a sensible person [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. Hazeldazel

    Hazeldazel Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2009
    Washington, Connecticut
    Thank you for you sound advice, and your links. I worry about mud, too, and this past summer, I dug out the soil in my chicken run and replaced it with, first, a layer of sand; and then a layer of pea-sized gravel. You sound like a sensible chicken keeper, so I'll ask you: What do you use for litter? I was frustrated by the amount of dust created by wood shavings, so am using straw. The hens kick the straw out of their nest boxes and I've been advised to use shredded paper in the nests instead. Also, do you have the entrance to your nest boxes partially covered? I hear this works too.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I use shavings indoors -- some brands (or individual lots) are dustier than others so if you have the ability to shop around for a better brand it would be worth trying, although that depends on what your local feedstores carry. I don't think much of my coop dust is from the shavings as they are not particularly dusty when I use them in my horse barn. But it will for sure depend on the brand and may also depend on one's definition of "dusty" (remember that an awful lot of the dust there is created by the chickens themselves)

    If I had a straw chopper then I would certainly consider tryng chopped straw, but whole straw is too annoying to work with for my tastes (it does not turn or clean well, and I use a version of deep litter management so both those things are important to me). I have not tried shredded paper in the coop because I have loathed it too much in past years in horse stalls; but some BYCers use it and like it, so <shrug>.

    Personally I like shavings best for the nestbox, as they are easier for me to spot-clean (just pick out a single lump o' poo) than other materials. I have a tall enough lip on my boxes (probably 6" plus) that I don't have much trouble with them getting kicked out; tho perhaps I just have very unambitious hens too, I dunno.

    Most of my nestboxes are not darkened at all, they are really quite open and airy, and I have had zero problems that way. I also use a couple upended totes with a hole cut in, laid on the floor, which are obviously quite dark inside, and they work fine too. I do not know as it is something to stress over unless you are having problems with floor eggs that cannot easily be corrected by training.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    When planning ventilation openings, especially for winter, I don't put the roosts where they could be in a draft. Basically, if you run a string between any two openings in the coop, don't have that string run through where the chickens will be roosting. That includes the pop hole door, if it's open. Maybe that will help you with placement.

    My coop is quite open in the summer, as we get a lot of heat and humidity at times. It has some big windows on hinges, that open up a large percentage of one wall and a few other, smaller windows, on other walls. I have much less ventilation in the winter, but enough to not have problems.
     

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