Winter Ventilation

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Briyon, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Richmond, VT
    I recently finished my coop and had a question about ventilation. I live in northern Vermont where we get some pretty cold days and nights. My coop is fully insulated (insulated walls, ceilings, front door, thermal windows and I built the nest box using 2" styrofoam insulation). I have a window on the front (north) wall and on the back (south) wall. When I built the coop I assumed that leaving these windows open in the summer and cracked in the winter would be adequate for ventilation. I also built the front door as a Dutch door so that in the summer I can open the top half for additional ventilation After reading couple posts and an article on one persons page it seems that it would have been better to include some vents up near the heighth of the ceiling. Should I add vents or is cracking the windows enough ventilation? Or given the position of the windows will that be too drafty for the chickens?

    The insulation is paying off...it was 27 degrees this morning and the coop (with the windows cracked last night) was still 47 degrees. [​IMG]


    I hope to be posting some pictures soon. As you will see I used a lot of the great ideas that are posted on this site.

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  2. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    Are they double-hung windows, that you could crack open from the top rather than the bottom?

    The main idea with the ventillation up high is that there's airflow to remove moisture without putting the birds in the path of cold drafts.
     
  3. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd still put some vents up high, like in the gables, if it's possible. I guess it sort of depends on where your windows are... if they are around chicken height, then it will likely make too much draft. I have double hung windows, and I open them from the top, but only in the summer. By this time of the year, they are closed up tight.

    I'm making a guess here, but with a 20 degree temperature difference overnight, I'm guessing that you have more than 10 birds? The more chickens living in the coop, the warmer it will be, but also the more humid, making ventilation all that much more important. I think that Pat recommends 1 sq/ft per chicken.... I'd say that's probably pretty accurate as long as some of the vents are closeable for when it gets REALLY cold outside.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    As you can probably guess, my opinion is that you would be a lot better off adding some winter-type vents high atop the walls, preferably tucked under the roof overhang. First, because the way most windows open, they are dumping the cold air a lot closer to the chickens and tend to make things drafty; but more importantly, because you get more 'bang for your buck' so to speak if you are venting the *warmest* (which rises, therefore *highest*) air, because that will be carrying the lion's share of the humidity, and dumping humidity is the main motivation behind wintertime ventilation.

    You can *try* it the way it is now, but personally I find it much more pleasant to do outdoor carpentry projects in decent fall weather and at the leisure of my schedule, rather than have to be out there in a January snowstorm doing emergency modifications b/c the chickens are getting frostbit.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DFW
    you get more 'bang for your buck' so to speak if you are venting the *warmest* (which rises, therefore *highest*) air

    Excellent point to consider for vent placement.​
     
  7. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Richmond, VT
    I have a 6 x 6 coop with 10 birds. 5 Buff Orpingtons and 5 Araucanas. I know it is probably 1 more than I should be housing for the sq footage but I had to buy my chicks in minimums of 5 per breed. I have a 6 x 12 outside covered run as well. I am using the roost design that I saw in a thread in which you use plastic trays (like drawers) under the roosts. I also use stall dry in the trays. This roost design eliminates most poop on the floor. Most of their poop ends up in the trays. But I know that just the chickens living and breathing causes humidity.

    I am sure I should add some vents at the peaks.

    Brian
     
  8. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You won't regret those extra vents, Brian. I was skeptical, and my DH was pretty upset with me when I insisted that we saw into his new, beautiful coop, but it WAS worth it. Do the work now, before the big weather hits.
     

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