1. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2010
    New Brunswick
    We have a chicken coop that is 6 x12. It is 7 feet in the front and 6 feet in the back. The front faces south- west. There is a window on the north end and a door in the other end. On the front there is a window centered on one half and a door on the other half. The reason for the 2 doors is because I sometimes divide it into two 6x6 pens. I breed conservation style, and the birds are confined to the building at 3.5 Square feet per bird ( SS Hamburgs). There are dropping boards under the roosts, so they have the whole floor space.

    The ceiling and walls are plywood on the outside, R 12 insulation, Vapour barrier, and Chipboard on the inside. The building is currently on 6" off the ground, but I am going to bring it up another 6" so that the cats have access underneath and can get any rats that come by.

    I am just now working on the inside insulation part so I have never had it this tight before. When I had leghorns the combs froze like crazy so I have changed my flock to hamburgs (rose Combs) and hope that will help in the cold weather, but I have no idea really what to do for ventilation. Right now they seem fine with the front windo open about 6 inches year round.


    I might just answer a few questions before you need to ask: They don't go outside because we are over run with Raccoons and there are also coyotes, foxes, mink and black bears.

    I live in New Brunswick, Canada, where in the winter it often reachs -30 C. I am currently considering building an old fashioned "Scatching shed" On eht south east end that is about the same size as the building closed in on three sides and the roof, closed in two feet high on the front and wire above that, where they can have more room, but I haven't got to it yet. While I plan to have 18 females and 2 males in the pen, I currently only have 2 trio' so space has not become a problem yet.


    Back to the issue at hand, I would like to install a fan in the building( because of the stocking rate) but how? Where? what Size? and how would I control it? Ps I am an electrician so I can figure the controls out it I know what I want it to do? Is there a better way to ventilate it?


    Looking for any and all opinions, thanks


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:It is not that hard to build a pretty predatorproof run, even for just part of the day.... plenty of people have those predators and are still quite able to let the chickens out into a well built area.

    It's your choice of course, it's a free country, but wow, only having 3.5 sq ft apiece TOTAL is pretty, well.... I dunno what to even say.

    When I had leghorns the combs froze like crazy so I have changed my flock to hamburgs (rose Combs) and hope that will help in the cold weather, but I have no idea really what to do for ventilation. Right now they seem fine with the front windo open about 6 inches year round.

    One thing that would help (a bit) would be to build vents high up on the S and/or E walls for wintertime. (That is assuming your windows are 'normal' windows that open in roughly the middle of the walls). Venting the high-up air gets rid of more humidity with less draft.

    Basically though you have one helluva lot of chickens in there and are GOING to have big humidity problems unless you were to totally rebuild the coop in a radically different way. (One option might be to add a long 'front' part to it, with roof and two walls and a mesh front, so that it becomes a slightly funky version of an old-timey fresh-air type coop. It would also give your chickens a whole lot more room. But that would not be cheap, unfortunately.)

    I am currently considering building an old fashioned "Scatching shed" On eht south east end that is about the same size as the building closed in on three sides and the roof, closed in two feet high on the front and wire above that, where they can have more room, but I haven't got to it yet.

    Yeah, like that. That would help. B/c then you could ventilate a lot more freely into THAT, without getting actual wind into the coop; plus the greatly expanded space (unless you just filled it with more chickens, which I would urge you to resist doing)

    Back to the issue at hand, I would like to install a fan in the building( because of the stocking rate) but how? Where? what Size? and how would I control it? Ps I am an electrician so I can figure the controls out it I know what I want it to do? Is there a better way to ventilate it?

    Your problem is basically too many chickens in too little space, quite honestly. Do you realize how differently they behave in larger space allotments? They really, really do.

    But, as you say "back to the issue at hand" and you did ask about FANS not stocking densities... here is the thing. Coops (and Canadian winters) are real hard on fans. Household type fans tend to croak pretty soon, sometimes becoming a fire hazard in the process. Furthermore, a fan creates BREEZE which is precisely what you do NOT want in the wintertime. So for a variety of reasons I do not see a fan as being your solution.

    Your solution, aside from stocking density issues, is more like "have more passive ventilation into a good wind-sheltered area". Also the more you can do to keep the coop clean and dry, the better -- secure waterers so they don't spill, fix any places where there may be leaky roof or windows or such, and seriously consider installing a droppings board or similar arrangement that you clean EVERY MORNING (it takes only seconds... literally). The more moisture and ammonia-producing poo you remove right away from the coop, the less they impact air quality.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2010
    New Brunswick
    I added a couple of pictures to help see the window placement and things like that. I know that most backyard flocks arent housed that closely, but it is still alot more room than commercial flocks. What kind of stocking rate dco you use? thanks for the advice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  4. MeowCluckBark

    MeowCluckBark Chicken Lickin' Good

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Boise, ID
    I can't help a lot with the ventilation issues. I'm being given a coop that doesn't have insulation or soffits like I wanted. I don't want to tear the whole thing apart so I'm just removing the roof, adding a foot with a vent you can buy at Home Depot on either side of the coop, and attaching the roof again. I'm also building it out a bit so I can insulate and add a nicer siding to it since it's older and weathered. I hope that helps you think of ideas for how you might solve the problem. Getting a 2nd coop sounds like a great idea. I live in south western Idaho and we have racoons, deer, foxes, rabbits, cats, dogs, coyotes, etc etc that are in the city all the time. The only ones of course that we worry about are the predators. You can dig down around your run and bury hardware cloth or chicken wire down and out a few inches depending on the size and how much you want to do.

    Also, I've read that putting Vaseline on their combs can help them from getting frost bite as it insulates their own heat.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I dunno bout "a lot" more. It is about twice the space per chicken of typical "free run" commercial chickens, and about three times the space per chicken of the stocking rate of most battery-farm hens... but remember those are selected for docility, DEBEAKED, do not do very well behaviorally or healthwise, and in any case only have to put up with a year or two of it [​IMG]

    What kind of stocking rate dco you use?

    I'm not the person to ask, as my goals are a lot different than yours (it is important for me for my chickens to have natural type behavior and low stress)... I have kept them at 4 sq ft per chicken PLUS ample outdoor run, and at everything up to 15+ sq ft per chicken PLUS ample outdoor run, and seeing how differently they behave with the extra space, am never going back to the higher stocking densities. I do have one pen at the moment that is 12 sq ft per chicken and seldom gets out to their run (b/c it is timeshared with another pen), but everything else is at 15+ sq ft apiece plus run space.

    Like I said, it's a free country, I'm not *criticizing* (exactly), I'm just saying, it does make a big difference to the chickens' lives IME.

    (At this point people tend to say 'yes but I can't afford to build that much bigger of a coop', at which point I respond, 'then don't keep as many chickens if that's all the space you have' [​IMG])

    Good luck,

    Pat​
     
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Here's mt 2 cents.

    The fan makes great sense; we use one in our house; it runs 24/7 since 1994! THis is what it is designed to do. It draws air OUT of the house, air leaks in around the windows and doors. THere fore no drafts. THis was designed through the local electric company.

    I am concerned that your birds will not be "happy" in the crowded coop. I have ONE SS hamburg and he zips here and there, a bundle of energy he is. He is noticably smaller than the other 2 month old RIR's and SLW's, so the amount of space needed per bird could be smaller than the usually quoted 4 ft sq. IMO the personality/temperment/
    behavior of the SS hamburg needs more room and I have read somewhere that they really like to free range, not even a run for them is best.

    WOuld that other breed the CH_____ developed in CAN be useful to you? Very cold hardy, good egg layer. Should be bigger eggs than the SSH. SSH are supposed to be small-med eggs and lots of them.

    My girls go out in a run; I tend to be home most of the time so its not a covered run and the space is generous. Used a 100 foot roll, put in a square, around some very old oaks and black birches, so there's plenty of leaves to scratch thru and misc sticks to create "atmosphere". Hoping to keep them busy and hopefully not notice the open top! I seem to think SSH are flyiers; don't know where I read that; maybe it's their sleeker size that make flight easier. Mine was a MM mystery chick. Would never have picked him for my flock. We enjoy "whitey" , he's just not a laying hen! LOL

    I hope you can find something among these ideas that will help you!
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:When you use a fan drawing out of a coop, you need to remember that all that dust is getting forced thru your fan, which unless it is a barn or workshop type fan (which few people use b/c of cost and sizing) will greatly shorten the lifespan of the fan.

    Even WITH a fan designed for high dust environment, it won't work well (if at all) at -30 F especially not if the o.p. ever turns it off;

    and more to the point, properly designed passive ventilation LIKEWISE gives you "no drafts". Only, for free and safe [​IMG]

    Fans are great for air exchange in commercial huge chicken barns and in houses. Small backyard coops are DIFFERENT.

    WOuld that other breed the CH_____ developed in CAN be useful to you? Very cold hardy, good egg layer. Should be bigger eggs than the SSH. SSH are supposed to be small-med eggs and lots of them.

    Chantecler. They are good if you want dual-purpose i.e. some meat on them, but they are less economical layers than the small breeds (leghorns, good laying strain of hamburgs, etc) b/c they eat so much more feed. Also I don't know what size eggs hamburgs lay, but my chanteclers only lay sorta medium eggs, same size as my campine which is in many ways similar to hamburgs, so I dunno if you'd really get any bigger eggs. I do like them though, I have had buff chanteclers and currently have some partridge chanteclers that I am quite fond of and intend to keep going with, so I am not knocking them, and it is a good suggestion if you did want a larger bodied type bird.

    JMHO,

    Pat​
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  8. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2010
    New Brunswick
    I selected Hamburgs, because I am a white egg kind of guy. It is a bonus that they are smaller and eat less. I am now looking into ideas for building a run that will keep them protected. However, I think that it would be cheaper to build a piece on the building that they could use all year round, than to by welded wire, and stuff to make a run that they can only use for a few months!
     
  9. Hhoky

    Hhoky Out Of The Brooder

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    Throwing an idea out here, one I'm kinda toying with here in Az, for cooling. How bout for venting, use a kinda of Stove fan. The kind that sucks the icky smoke from over top the stove. (considered a bathroom fart fan for your purpose, but wasn't sure if it would be too powerful.) Put up in the side vents, you could wire it to a car battery with a timer, have it run maybe 30 min 3 x times a day? Maybe 3? And, if you can afford it, get a slow trickle solar battery charger, that way the battery is charging all day long. Idk, like I said I'm still kicking it around, trying to figure out how to install one for cooling in my mini barn, mostly for the bunnies in summer, but the hens seem to like the slow setting when I put a house fan out there during the hottest part of the day. The hens have full access to the yard all day long (including my kitchen when they come in the doggy door LoL) and usual find a shady spot I keep kinda damp under a big bush we have. Its the only shade in the yard atm..silly desert wasteland backyard. Anyway, in theory it should work. Hope this might help stimulate an idea.
     
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Quote:I dunno bout "a lot" more. It is about twice the space per chicken of typical "free run" commercial chickens, and about three times the space per chicken of the stocking rate of most battery-farm hens... but remember those are selected for docility, DEBEAKED, do not do very well behaviorally or healthwise, and in any case only have to put up with a year or two of it [​IMG]

    What kind of stocking rate dco you use?

    I'm not the person to ask, as my goals are a lot different than yours (it is important for me for my chickens to have natural type behavior and low stress)... I have kept them at 4 sq ft per chicken PLUS ample outdoor run, and at everything up to 15+ sq ft per chicken PLUS ample outdoor run, and seeing how differently they behave with the extra space, am never going back to the higher stocking densities. I do have one pen at the moment that is 12 sq ft per chicken and seldom gets out to their run (b/c it is timeshared with another pen), but everything else is at 15+ sq ft apiece plus run space.

    Like I said, it's a free country, I'm not *criticizing* (exactly), I'm just saying, it does make a big difference to the chickens' lives IME.

    (At this point people tend to say 'yes but I can't afford to build that much bigger of a coop', at which point I respond, 'then don't keep as many chickens if that's all the space you have' [​IMG])

    Good luck,

    Pat​

    Moral support. Good advice here.
     

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