What is the difference between "ventilated" versus "drafty"?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Vivienne, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Vivienne

    Vivienne Out Of The Brooder

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    I live in Boulder, CO and have a young flock of Easter Eggers, Silkies, a Buff Orpington, Australorp and Brahma. This is my first post.

    Me and three other neighbors collectively own the flock and contribute to their care and cost. So far it has been wonderful. I'm trying to figure out what to do about the winter, the girls have a great coop and covered run. I read that the coop should be ventilated but not drafty. Can someone please elaborate on this? What exactly does that mean?

    I have a small exhaust fan (solar powered) and there are windows, but one of the members of my co-op thinks we should seal up the coop with caulk and insulation so we can keep them warm when they need it most (the temperature can drop into the single digits on occasion) and crack the windows when it isn't as cold. Is it worth the effort or even a good idea? How cold does it have to be to worry about them being warm enough? I can provide a light for heat. They will be fully grown by the time winter comes.

    I know that chickens suffer from respiratory issues if the air isn't fresh. Does this apply to even very cold days? I see many coops that have huge gaps and open areas in them.

    Thank you,
    Vivienne

    A Boulder, quasi-communal, modern hippie.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Drafty is when you stand in your coop and the wind blows your hair. Ventilated is when you smell fresh air coming through your coop but it doesn't blow your hair. At least that is my definition.

    You live in CO, so you want a hardy flock. I would start out by NOT providing heat in your coop, no insulation or caulking either....all these can contribute to a moist coop as your birds live and breathe there this winter. I would provide some nice, dry deep litter and keep it going all winter. Think wild birds...do they need a heated house? They have the same feathering as does your chickens.

    Have you ever worn a down coat? Your chickens are wearing those in the winter time and they are quite wind proof and warm. Providing heat makes your chooks move from a heated environment out into a cold one on a regular basis...not good for them and keeps them from developing a proper winter wardrobe of thick down under their feathers.

    Keep it simple and watch the flock....any bird that doesn't thrive in your climate should probably be culled, as you will probably not relocate just for a chicken. [​IMG]
     
  3. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Vivienne- that's a good question!
    Interested to hear what other folks think...
     
  4. luvinrunnin

    luvinrunnin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fresh, clean air is one of the most critical elements for healthy chickens. I would not seal the coop up. A long as they are our of the inclement weather and away from drafts they will be fine, especially if there are several chickens. They will huddle together as necessary.
     
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, also in Colorado and while my chickens have yet to experience their first winter, I've been reading up a fair amount on this issue and think I have something worthwhile to share regarding the difference between "ventilated vs drafty". You want to build your coop so that when your chickens are sitting on their roost, cold air isn't blowing across them during the winter. However, you do need a way for the moist, stale air to be replaced with fresh air because the moistness can cause frost-bite and the staleness can contribute to illness. So, many folks make their coops pretty draft free, calking up gaps and around doors and windows at the levels where a cold draft would blow over their chickens when they are roosting or on the floor eating etc. However, they have openings high up in the walls, above roost level where hot, moist air can escape and fresh air can flow in.
     
  6. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That is how my Coop works, (see my BYC page for pics) I have a angled roof with ventilation year round under the eaves on the low and high sides. The windows get closed for the winter and stay open for the summer. The sub-ground level deep litter composting pit helps maintain steady tempertures during the winter. This has been working for a couple decades now.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A draft is an uncontrolled, unwanted infiltration of a chilling breeze, blowing onto the birds.

    Ventilation is the controlled exchange of fresh air intake, at a point where no draft is felt by the birds and the exhaust of unwanted, foul air, usually by having a roof vent at the highest point of the coop, as hot air rises.
     
  8. Vivienne

    Vivienne Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been reading about the deep litter method and am game to try it. The coop I purchased has a big door for me to get in, which I can dam up with a board for the deep litter. However, the little door for the hens to go out is small and flush with the floor. It will quickly get buried or the the litter will fall out their door. Any suggestions?

    Vivienne
     
  9. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Quote:I agree, when a breeze blows through at or below roost level that is a draft.
     
  10. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Quote:Either make the pop door bigger and put a board to keep the litter in, or just close off that door and make a new one that isn't at floor level.
     

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