What is "good coop ventilation" for the winter months mean?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bbecca, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. bbecca

    bbecca Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2016
    I am new to this and my chickens are 3 months old. I have two screened windows in my coop on opposite sides, so I was getting good cross ventilation thru The coop. But it's rainy season now and it was coming into the coop so I had to board them up. Now my only opening is when I lift the little door every morning for them to go into the run. Is that enough ventilation thru the winter? I also do the DLM and I'm finding the smell has been really bad. Any suggestions?
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I would not imagine that a pop door is sufficient ventilation and the lack of ventilation could be exacerbating the odour from the litter.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Could you tell us how many chickens you have, how much room you have in and out of the coop, height of your coop, a photo of the coop inside and out would really help, do you use a droppings board, and your general area so we can figure out your climate (especially temperatures)? A little detail could go a long way to getting an answer that helps you in your unique situation.

    If the smell is really bad that means it’s almost certainly wet. That wet could come from the rain getting in somehow, through windows, a leaky roof, or maybe running in from the bottom at ground level. If the poop is allowed to build up it can get thick enough to hold moisture on its own without any outside moisture coming in. Is your waterer leaking? You need to determine why it’s wet so you can fix that problem.

    We really need to know your temperatures before we can give a good response. What is your warmest in the summer and coldest in the winter? Not what is normal, what are your records? How bad can it get?

    If your temperatures get just a bit below freezing you are in danger of frostbite if the coop holds in moisture. If you have really good ventilation the chickens can normally handle temperatures way below zero Fahrenheit. You do need to keep them out of direct breezes in cold weather, but in summer a direct breeze is a good thing. If we had an idea of what your coop looked like we might be able to offer suggestions on how to achieve this. One normal way is to have openings above their heads so any breeze passes over them when they are on the roost but not all coops can accommodate that.
  4. Not2worried

    Not2worried New Egg

    Oct 24, 2016
    Kinda wonder this too. I planning a Wichita style coop and wonder how far to go with ventilation. Could get as low as -20f, though very rare to see that. Looking at Australorp. I feel Ridgerunner cleared it up for me.
    Would like to see Bbecca design.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  5. You should have vents as high up as possible...Your coop should remain dry..Chicken poop causes moisture and ammonia to build up..It rises...Where your roosts are should be out of any drafts to keep the birds warm...The pop door is not enough...

  6. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I really like the "fresh air poultry houses" AKA Woods design coops. They are a tight building with the front wall mostly open and covered in wire.

    I know someone up here that loves hers. She keeps it wide open until the temps hit -20F then she blocks most of the opening with a sheet of plywood, leaving a six inch tall by the entire width of the coop opening.

    My coops are all pretty drafty, with bunches of wired ipenings as well. They work well because I work hard to make sure the perching zone is draft free by using a poop tray under the perch, and some kind of solid non-drafty something behind the perch.

    You can look at my coop pages for pictures.

    A good rule of thumb is there should be enough ventilation that it smells the same inside the coop or outside the coop.
  7. goalaimethic

    goalaimethic Just Hatched

    Aug 19, 2016
    I always considered a hardware cloth window along the top as good ventilation. Any opening to allow moisture to evaporate out of the coop would do. It should have an awning or something to keep out the rain/snow. If the inside stays dry then the chickens won't be prone to drafts as easily. It's the moisture that really messes up chicken feathers when they're puffy and warm and to add to that it causes mildew. I can't imagine how awful a wet musty coop floor would do to a hen's respiratory system [​IMG]
  8. bbecca

    bbecca Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2016
    Thank you everyone for your responses! I am going to take pictures tomorrow and post them along with more information
  9. sawilliams

    sawilliams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2015
    Nor Cal
    Dry and little to no odor... don't worry this was one of my biggest questions too, but it gets so hot here in the summer we did anot open design with 4 walls that 3 are hard wire for the upper 2-3 ft (my coop is 7ft tall). However, ours is to open, and with so of our interior remodels, I'm having to raise the sides to reduce airflow and prevent draft.

    I think the best (or most straight foward) answer to this question I ever found was that at least 2" height space around the roof line should be always open. Not to say you need to cut the walls all the way around your coop, but make vent panels all the way around along the roof line. If you have 1 or 2 sides that gets hit harder by wind or rain then keep most of the vents to the other sides. If you have a pitched roof consider one of those spinning roof vents (or 2) near the peak.

    If you can smell poop before getting to the coop or have to air it out before you can go in there is not enough ventilation for the chickens...
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    Rule of thumb for ventilation is it needs as a minimum 1 SF of vent space for each 10 SF of floor space. Mine is a Woods coop which sets the standard for ventilation, and even buttoned up with all windows closed, it has about double that. With all windows open, more like 3X to 4X times that. In some ways you can think of a Woods house more like a covered run with three sides enclosed. And that works in even the coldest climates. In the wide open configuration, it also works equally well in warm conditions. In my case, from extremes of 100F down to -5F or so.

    It is possible to do that without drafts in a Woods house as the basic design is a rectangle in a proportion of about 1.6 depth to width, with one narrow side open to the south. Roosts are found at the far back as far from the window screens as you can get. So even when the wind is up, the air in the back is nearly dead calm. Doesn't seem possible, but that is the way it works. But flip the orientation to vents and screens on the wide side and things change regarding drafts. You still need the same amount, but you need to need to employ different types of baffles to limit drafts. Nest boxes and droppings boards beneath roosts. That type of thing.

    I'm using deep or built up litter over a dirt floor and there is no smell of ammonia or other. But my birds spend most of the day outside and I'm at less than half of it's capacity, so the birds have 8 or 9 SF each, plus wide open ventilation so that would be most of the reason why.

    BTW, there are three gas products that foul (fowl?) the air inside poorly vented houses. They are water vapor (moisture), ammonia and CO2. All three are emitted by the birds themselves and need to be vented to the outside. Most people do not vent enough out of the mistaken belief it will be warmer for the birds if they don't. That actually works against them. Tight, closed up houses experience a buildup of moisture (most of which comes from the birds breathing), leading to damp......meaning cold and miserable.......conditions. Dry is warm and well ventilated is dry. As for cold conditions, the birds have feathers and can stand a lot.......if you give them a chance to.
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