Winter ventilation for a small coop...

MarkJP

Songster
Mar 29, 2018
88
170
117
Connecticut
Hello All,

My wife and I are new to raising chickens and this will be ours/theirs first winter. I have a question for the group regarding coop ventilation in the winter. We have a small coop I built from a kit that I purchased from an online site. It is about 3’ wide x 4’ long and 4’ high. The height includes a cupola that runs the length of the coop. It has two 1-1/2” holes at the end of the cupola. They are covered with hardware cloth. There are also two sliding “windows- no glass-just wire mesh) that run the length of the cupola on both sides. I have closed them for the winter, but they can be left open a bit if needed. The coop also has two 3-bay brood boxes on each side that extend beyond the measurements I listed. I have caulked the joints in the coop, but it is not airtight as I can see daylight through a few areas. I’ve been leaving the door open- it is small- overnight and I’m wondering if I should begin closing the birds in at night as it is getting colder. The coop has an attached run of about 6’ in length x 3’ in width. The run continues under the coop as well. I’ve attached a 7’ x 13’ run to the original smaller run. It has a peaked roof across the top and have covered the westerly side of that run with two tarps to break the wind for them. So, do you think that if I close the chickens in at night, will they have enough ventilation? We have 6 chickens- Australorps, Buff Orpingtons and Light Brahmas. Thanks in advance for your suggestions?
 

RoosterML

Make Ameraucanas Great Again
Premium Feather Member
Nov 5, 2018
5,162
40,264
972
Tolland County Connecticut, USA
Hello All,

My wife and I are new to raising chickens and this will be ours/theirs first winter. I have a question for the group regarding coop ventilation in the winter. We have a small coop I built from a kit that I purchased from an online site. It is about 3’ wide x 4’ long and 4’ high. The height includes a cupola that runs the length of the coop. It has two 1-1/2” holes at the end of the cupola. They are covered with hardware cloth. There are also two sliding “windows- no glass-just wire mesh) that run the length of the cupola on both sides. I have closed them for the winter, but they can be left open a bit if needed. The coop also has two 3-bay brood boxes on each side that extend beyond the measurements I listed. I have caulked the joints in the coop, but it is not airtight as I can see daylight through a few areas. I’ve been leaving the door open- it is small- overnight and I’m wondering if I should begin closing the birds in at night as it is getting colder. The coop has an attached run of about 6’ in length x 3’ in width. The run continues under the coop as well. I’ve attached a 7’ x 13’ run to the original smaller run. It has a peaked roof across the top and have covered the westerly side of that run with two tarps to break the wind for them. So, do you think that if I close the chickens in at night, will they have enough ventilation? We have 6 chickens- Australorps, Buff Orpingtons and Light Brahmas. Thanks in advance for your suggestions?
Pictures would go a long way all sides exterior as well as inside.
 

MarkJP

Songster
Mar 29, 2018
88
170
117
Connecticut
Pictures would go a long way all sides exterior as well as inside.
Hi Rooster. I just finished posting pics. Hope this helps!
 

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MarkJP

Songster
Mar 29, 2018
88
170
117
Connecticut
Oh, BTW, the picture of the black and white cat is outside the coop/run area. Just in case you thought it was inside!
 

RoosterML

Make Ameraucanas Great Again
Premium Feather Member
Nov 5, 2018
5,162
40,264
972
Tolland County Connecticut, USA
I like it. You should have some happy chickens with that set up.
With those manual opening vents in the top part that will give you some really nice control over what's going on inside. To me the best thing you could do is get something to monitor the humidity level inside the coop.
You can't go wrong with knowing what the humidity is exactly. Humidity should be as close to outside as possible. I would guess that on really cold windy or stormy days you can close those vents up and let the two little holes do the venting. After that use your judgement and crack those vents open accordingly. Maybe open them up a couple inches on each side. If you have one side with a prevailing wind close that one up and open the other side some more. It's nice to see your coop done with both good looks and function. I am not sure I would leave your pop door open on the bottom during cold windy days with the top vents being open, it seems that it would create a draft thru the coop running from bottom to top directly across the birds. I know you'll obviously have to open the door for them but maybe when the door is open you close the tops vents on cold days to minimize the drafting, and once you close the lower door you can open the top vents alittle. Like I said with your set up you will have some really nice control of how thing are inside. So don't get it wrong and everything will be just fine.:gig
Almost forgot you could always permanently hang a ribbon in the coop and monitor the ribbon for movement. Will be a good indicator of what kind of draft the birds will feel.
And hello from CT also !!
This is Dummy proof so it's perfect for me it tells you if humidity is high or low:
KIMG0150.jpg
 
Last edited:

RoosterML

Make Ameraucanas Great Again
Premium Feather Member
Nov 5, 2018
5,162
40,264
972
Tolland County Connecticut, USA
Everyone has there preferred bedding material for coops. I see you have hay or straw. I think the chickens surely prefer that over the large wood flakes but the biggest problem I had when I first started out with hay was trying to keep it clean. For example in order to clean the poop out of straw I had to discard a large amount of straw. When I switched to the flakes and I picked out the poop it was like you had clumping cat litter, just a small clump removed and things were clean. Again its just what worked well for me.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,183
126,158
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
That's a nice big run, you'll be glad you have that!
Measuring the humidity inside and out is a good idea.

I like the cupola, best one I've seen on a pre-fab,
is the whole bottom of it open to the coop?
Would be hard to get a pic, eh?
Thinking about how to dampen that flow by semi blocking on the inside,
maybe furnace filters on inside of sliders or over open bottom of cupola.
Again, hard to get in there to work, how handy and nimble are you?

What are all those power cords going into the nest area?
 

MarkJP

Songster
Mar 29, 2018
88
170
117
Connecticut
That's a nice big run, you'll be glad you have that!
Measuring the humidity inside and out is a good idea.

I like the cupola, best one I've seen on a pre-fab,
is the whole bottom of it open to the coop?
Would be hard to get a pic, eh?
Thinking about how to dampen that flow by semi blocking on the inside,
maybe furnace filters on inside of sliders or over open bottom of cupola.
Again, hard to get in there to work, how handy and nimble are you?

What are all those power cords going into the nest area?
Yes, I have a water heater going. It is attached to an outdoor 3 outlet attachment under the nesting box to keep it dry. The entire hookup goes to a ground fault outlet. I had planned to use a 20 watt bulb for heat and extra light through the winter- actually installed a porcelain fixture as high up as I could go, but decided not to use it, so the cord is just for the water heater. I've blocked the rain/wind from hitting it directly since the directions said to keep it dry. It's working well so far.
As for the cupola, it is totally open to the entire coop, so the vent windows really create a good air flow. No way can I get any filters inside. I can barely make it into the door on the side with the window, and with my arthritis in my back, I just can't twist and bend like I used to. Believe me, getting the light fixture up as high as possible was almost impossible. I'm pretty handy since I did make quite a few modifications to the coop and run, but somethings are just too hard for me to do. I will begin to measure humidity inside/outside the coop. Thanks for your input.
 

MarkJP

Songster
Mar 29, 2018
88
170
117
Connecticut
Everyone has there preferred bedding material for coops. I see you have hay or straw. I think the chickens surely prefer that over the large wood flakes but the biggest problem I had when I first started out with hay was trying to keep it clean. For example in order to clean the poop out of straw I had to discard a large amount of straw. When I switched to the flakes and I picked out the poop it was like you had clumping cat litter, just a small clump removed and things were clean. Again its just what worked well for me.
We use chopped bedding straw. It works pretty good and my wife and I can usually clean out just the offending material. What do you mean by "flakes"? We did start with pine shavings if that's what you meant, but received discouraging advice about using that. From what I've learned, the straw is a better insulator as well and the bottom of the coop has a sliding metal tray that I"m sure will get pretty cold as the weather turns, so we opted for straw.
 

MarkJP

Songster
Mar 29, 2018
88
170
117
Connecticut
I like it. You should have some happy chickens with that set up.
With those manual opening vents in the top part that will give you some really nice control over what's going on inside. To me the best thing you could do is get something to monitor the humidity level inside the coop.
You can't go wrong with knowing what the humidity is exactly. Humidity should be as close to outside as possible. I would guess that on really cold windy or stormy days you can close those vents up and let the two little holes do the venting. After that use your judgement and crack those vents open accordingly. Maybe open them up a couple inches on each side. If you have one side with a prevailing wind close that one up and open the other side some more. It's nice to see your coop done with both good looks and function. I am not sure I would leave your pop door open on the bottom during cold windy days with the top vents being open, it seems that it would create a draft thru the coop running from bottom to top directly across the birds. I know you'll obviously have to open the door for them but maybe when the door is open you close the tops vents on cold days to minimize the drafting, and once you close the lower door you can open the top vents alittle. Like I said with your set up you will have some really nice control of how thing are inside. So don't get it wrong and everything will be just fine.:gig
Almost forgot you could always permanently hang a ribbon in the coop and monitor the ribbon for movement. Will be a good indicator of what kind of draft the birds will feel.
And hello from CT also !!
This is Dummy proof so it's perfect for me it tells you if humidity is high or low:
View attachment 1593742
Thank you for the great advice. I appreciate the time you took to respond to my query. I will definitely begin monitoring the humidity. Where can I find the digital device you showed the pic of?
 

MANNA-PRO

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