when to "batten down the hatches"

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jjakaus, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. jjakaus

    jjakaus Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2011
    wyandotte, mi

    I little new to the chicken world, but I LOVE this forum. Of course, because of that, I have all kinds of paranoid questions. I am building my own coop. I just read a great link someone posted about ventilation, and since I haven't gotten too far, I would like to make my back wall wire. It will be approx 7x8. I live in Michigan and it can get pretty cold in the winter. At what approx temp would I want to put something solid over this wall? I think it will be too breezy to keep open all winter.

  2. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Depends on which side that open wall faces. If it faces the north or northwest and the wind... course in Michigan that may be different... GO BUCKS.... just sayin.....

    Anyhow, somewhere in the 20's and you should tarp it up. Ventilation is great, drafts or direct cold wet air, deadly.

    My 2 cents, and I am a Buckeye [​IMG]
  3. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I have an open wall on my coop year round. Houses like mine were used up into Canada, with the open front. You would want the open end facing away from your prevailing winds. Usually facing to the south, in this hemisphere. You would also want a deep house, I mean you don't want the chickens in the middle of winter roosting 2' away from the open front. My coop is 16', back were the roosts are, and I don't care from which direction or how hard the wind is blowing, you don't feel any breezes back by the roosts. I would recommend the book 'Open air poultry houses' The author goes into great detail about open air coop design, and how it works for the chickens.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don’t see anything I disagree with in either of the other two posts. Chickens can handle cold really well with wind protection. Heat is usually the danger.

    You are looking at two different seasons. In summer, you want as much ventilation as you can get, while in winter you need good ventilation but not have a breeze blowing directly on them. Those open air coops can work but prevailing wind can be an issue. Here in my valley, south is a dangerous direction. East is my safest. It can vary for each of us.

    What I suggest you consider is to leave the top open around your coop, especially under the overhang to reduce wind blowing rain in. On the sides with rafters, I just took the plywood up to the bottom of the rafters and covered that opening with hardware cloth. On the other two walls, I left an area at the top open and covered that with hardware cloth. That stays open year round and is above the roosts so a cross breeze goes over their heads instead of blowing directly on them.

    In the summer, I have a window at or just below roost level I open. I also have a vent at ground level that I open so they get really good ventilation. Both the window and the vent are covered with hardware cloth to protect against predators.

    There are a whole lot of different ways to do it. I’m not saying my way is any better than any other, just giving you another option.
  5. cecosugi

    cecosugi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2012
    KC MO
    Our coop (which is empty now, but I'm being patient) is on the South side of our barn, actually shares the roof and 3 sides of the barn, with the South-facing wall open. Well, it's wired, but open air. It's about 8' by 20' or so, insulated on the North and East walls, as well as the roof. That open South-facing wall is never covered, and we're in Missouri, so we get plenty cold, and plenty hot. One thing about our coop is that we have a door from the barn to the coop, which we can open to allow a cross-breeze in the summer. That has been wonderful.

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