Venting of the coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Willis94, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. Willis94

    Willis94 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2018
    Hamilton Montana
    I'm building a insulated 8x8 coop that will be air tight when I'm done so I know that I need to have ventilation for the girls in the winter but I'm confused about how much they need vs. Drafty. We are only talking winter (-10 @ worst ) in the summer it will be opened up. I am a hvac guy so normaly I have a % for this. I never thought chicken coops would require so much thought! I don't mind natural or forced ventilation ideas.
  2. cholland

    cholland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2017
    You want windows on one side that can be opened for circulation of air, without wind blowing through. I've seen 1sq.ft. Per bird suggested. Seems like a lot depending on coop design.

    Search up Modern Frssh Air Poultry Houses, by Prince T. Woods. It's an older book but discusses quite a lot on fresh air ventilation.

    Several people have built his Woods half monitor coop design, which is essentially a three sided coop. Woods used them with much success in negative temperatures.
    PetesChicks likes this.
  3. jthornton

    jthornton Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2017
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    My Coop
    You do not want an air tight coop, chickens need lots of fresh air so the moisture from breathing and pooping all night can escape otherwise they get frostbite on their combs on cold nights. Chickens don't work like humans...

    Insulation does nothing in a coop except for maybe insulation in the roof if your in a hot place like the southwest.

    Put your location in your profile so you get answers relative to your location.

  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Flock Master

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I agree with JT on this.

    I have temps in the below zero range and tons of up high venting. No frostbite here.
    I have open soffits covered in hardware cloth.
    I put baffles inside so I don't get blowing snow inside.

    My big coop is 8x14 with 12" soffit overhang.
    My small coop is 6x8 with an 8" soffit overhang.

    I would say that insulating a metal roof helps keep moisture down and frost won't form on it.
    I did not insulate my coops. My old coop was insulated and it made a great place for mice to be way to comfy.
  5. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    Phoenix AZ
    My Coop
    I agree with JT and 21 Hens, don't make it air tight.
    Our coop here has an open front except in winter. The walls don't go all the way to the roof which provides vents all the way around, but it's above the chickens heads so they won't be in a draft.
  6. jreardon1918

    jreardon1918 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 13, 2016
    Southeast, MA
    My Coop
    I added a ridge vent to my coop along with gable vents on the east and west sides. Also leave the windows open year round. That gives us about 6 sf of ventialtion in a 4x8 coop and 7 birds. No frostbite, no indication of moisture in the coop. The ridge vent during big snow storms required that I use a roof rake to clear off the snow. There is no insulation in the coop.

    *edited to correct typo
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  7. Willis94

    Willis94 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2018
    Hamilton Montana
    Thanks for the info. I'll try to look that up so busy with all the info on BYC I don't seem to have any time. The 1sq per bird seems pretty popular.
  8. Willis94

    Willis94 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2018
    Hamilton Montana
    Hmmm now you have me going back to my old plan of leaving soffits open. I guess the idea is to keep the ventilation from hitting the girls directly witch if you go up high it would naturally fall to the bottom get warmed, rise, and exit the coop. It will be a pitched roof so it would be easy to do. I can't get away from the idea that it needs insulated (probably my OCD :)) but the mouse thing is a good point. Thanks
    21hens-incharge likes this.
  9. Willis94

    Willis94 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2018
    Hamilton Montana
    There's that 1sq ft per bird again and no insulation. Thanks for the info.
    21hens-incharge likes this.
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    For winter use, an old school solution using modern era materials would be to place a rectangular shaped gable vent (louvered type) near the floor at ground level, and another just like it straight above near the roof. You can remove any screens and cover both vents with hardware cloth or 1/2" x 1" 16 gauge cage wire to keep predators out.

    If this results in too much draft, place a deflector baffle (osb or plywood) about 2 to 4 inches out from the lower vent.

    1 SF of vent space per 10 SF floor area, minimum. More is OK.

    Way more in summer......when you open all vents and windows to get as much air moving as possible. Goal should be same temp inside and out in summer.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by