window advice needed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gadus, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chirping

    Jul 28, 2015
    I'm having difficulties with window design and would like some help from other builders out there.

    Coop is 55 ft2 and based on what I've read, it seems like I would need about 6 ft2 of ventilation if not more.

    I live in a cold place (Maine) and am most concerned about all the time they're going to be inside for those long winters.

    I am tentatively planning to vent the gable ends and put four small windows on the two short sides. I will staple hardware cloth (outside, under the sheathing) and mosquito netting (inside) but am thinking about also using some plexiglass on the four small openings. Square footage of the above should be between 8-10 ft2.

    My idea was that rather than make them capable of opening and closing (two of them are inside the run, a bit of a frig), I would simply fit the inside of the openings with a insulated panel that could be applied when it got really cold; of course that would be the end of the light (and ventilation) from those windows. The gable end vents I plan on just leaving alone, with hardware cloth and mosquito netting so there will always be some light and some ventilation.

    At any rate I am only going to worry about getting them good ventilation right now and will worry more about the cold later.

    Any and all advice appreciated and taken to heart.

  2. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    Before you go any further, read this entire thread from beginning to end (the end shows a 6 x 10 coop (60 SF) under construction).

    You may find you don't need to re-invent the wheel regarding windows, design, etc. It has already been done for you.

    A coop of this type will work for you, even in your harsh winter. You do not need to close up windows, vents, etc. You want light and fresh air in winter and lots of both.
  3. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    It sounds like you have the coop already built and from what you've said I take it that your coop is rectangular. What are the dimensions? Is this a walk-in coop or an elevated coop?

    Being rectangular I would put the roost poles against one of the short walls and a large expanse of open screen at the other end. Maybe rig the gable vent at the roost end so that you can adjust it a bit...a simple piece of plywood hanging in front of (or partially in front of) the gable vent would work. But, I would have it where I can completely seal off the roost end of the coop...removable eave/gable-vent covers would be good so that you could open it back up in the summer. Create more or less a pocket of wind/draft-protected area in the roost area. Chickens can survive nicely if protected from wind and wetness. The large expanse of open screen at the opposite end should be enough for air exchanges to remove the moisture inside. The big thing about chickens and coops in freezing temperatures is that the chickens can handle the cold...well below zero...IF they can stay dry and out of the wind and drafts. Closing up a coop in freezing conditions traps moisture-laden air (from poop and breathing) inside the coop and promotes severe frostbite. If the chickens are healthy and can stay dry then they will survive quiet nicely.

    As Howard E alluded to, the PT Woods open air poultry houses are good designs, but there are other open air designs that work well, too. It sounds like the wrong thing to do, but giving the chickens ventilation in freezing temperatures is the right thing to do...just don't have a draft blowing on the chickens. That protected pillow of air should do the trick.

    The freezing weather goal,...a nice, draftless area for the chickens to roost but enough ventilation so that moisture doesn't build up. Btw, this also means that you want access to the roost area to clean poop out regularly...maybe a roost board would work here?

    As for warm/hot weather ventilation...the more the better!!!

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  4. gadus

    gadus Chirping

    Jul 28, 2015
    Virginia is not Maine by a long shot (sensational coop though) but I realize this design has cold weather applicability...I wish I had the patience and the wherewithal to illustrate and publish my design (prior to finishing) but I will describe the ventilation scheme as I've figured it thus far.

    My 8' X 8' coop is also 8' tall; with an 8/12 gable roof, there will be ample storage above the ceiling (just collar ties at present). It is over-built because I overbuild things...On the two sides not enclosed within the run there are the entrance door and on the other side, a poop chute about 22.5" wide, flush with the floor (shovel it right out into a wheelbarrow or trash bin below), and a nestbox measuring about 5' long; the nest box is an outside box and the boxes are 16" on the tall (coop) side; the door on the nestboxes will open from the back to facilitate easy scraping out of manure and bed changing.

    The two other sides will have a continuous shed roof for weather days, with the low side being 5' high, 6' from the coop and the high side about 3 feet below the eave. The run will extend beyond this roof but will only be about 4' at the absolute perimeter.

    On the southeast side, the only opening will be a gable end vent just under the ridge; on the northeast side, under the (shed) roof, will be the hens' entrance to the coop and above that, a ventilation opening 18" X 32".

    There will also be a louver below the ridge on the opposite gable end. All ventilation will be simple hardware cloth. mosquito net and a slight "brow" above the opening to shed precip.

    My windows I've decided to build as fixed windows only and as such will be plexiglass flush with the siding, above the shed roof, two on each wall facing the coop.

    Kind of making this up as I go, which drives my father crazy but it's the way I roll.

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