Winter venting in very cold climate question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Newchickey, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. Newchickey

    Newchickey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From bottom to top or vents only across the top?

    I live in North West Nebraska, last night was down to -14, Coop went down to -6 with 81% humidity, frost on only one of three windows and not the one next to their roost. Over the last three weeks have frost bite tips on everyone that has single comb, and I have been salving the combs every night. I need to know how to fix this.

    Vent all the way across the top on North side, South side is 1 foot lower, roost go north to south along west wall. 8"X2 foot vent window with hindge cover above the roost 3 feet, large window across from them not open, door to run can be left opened or closed
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    My suggestion would be to provide some form of heat to the coop. and minimize venting until it gets warmer. I know that heat does cost money. I checked your profile and did not see how many chickens you have. Few chickens, small coop, equals small amount of heat needed. As numbers rise, so do the costs. STAY WARM.
     
  3. Newchickey

    Newchickey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    8x8 coop, 19 chickens. I cant put heat in the coop. We dont heat our own house other than wood. Cant put a fireplace in there. I am of the mind that they dont see cold like we do. Yes I have worried and worried about them, but God gave them what they need, which in reality is not a house! Yet thats what we do is stick them in a house, I dont want all the predators out here to get them, so house it is, but I know there is a balance. I am just trying to figure it out. Some of you say top to bottom, some say vents at the top only. Everyone says vents vents and more vents and if you think you have enough go cut more. You are the first to say cut down on the vents. I just dont want to start cutting more holes in the coop until I know where!
     
  4. coonhoundmama87

    coonhoundmama87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel your pain on the cold, in Wisconsin here. Sometimes I think when it gets that cold there's not much you can do. Last year during a bad stretch one of my roosters with a rose comb got frost bite on the whole thing. He was in a well vented coop too. Good news is they will heal. Adding heat is a huge risk for many reasons. Fire being one but also that they become too used to it. Bulbs burn out, power goes out etc you risk the birds becoming chilled and dying. Hang in there, winter sucks!
     
  5. coonhoundmama87

    coonhoundmama87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Want to add one of my "best" coops has the least amount of vents. Along top of north and south ceiling length of building and one 6x8 on the east high up. Its drafty as all get out but not by the roost and my rabbits are in there. Uninsulated, just painted plywood. Nobody has ever gotten frostbite in there.
     
  6. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have vents in the overhangs of the roof with the front being 2ft taller than the rear. It vents ok but it does vent much better if I open a window. Also as I have delved back into the chicken world the last couple years I am learning a few things that conflict with the advice I have gotten from the internet, one being that ventilation is always more important than heat, I feel that is often times the case however there are many days around here when there's a warmer day in winter where the humidity will rise then drop below freezing at night, in that situation you are essentially venting in damp air not so much eliminating damp air. I think everyone's situation is going to be different.

    I did not insulate and heat my coop but I think I am going to insulate next summer. I probably won't provide any heat unless temps drop down below subzero, I think with the insulation and the chickens own generated heat it will generally keep the coop far warmer even with ventilation. In very cold weather I will use a heat lamp for the over night hours. I do fight with frostbite a little mainly just the roosters and one hen with an unusually large comb but my main concern with the heat is the eggs, when it's super cold I lose the majority of the eggs to freezing also my hens production drops by about 2/3 when it gets really cold and I do prefer to keep production up as much as possible so they hopefully at least pay for their feed.
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    We keep our pop door open at all times. It's right at ground level within a sort of tunnel so there is a windbreak on the top and the sides - the only opening is to the south where they go in from the run, hang a left and go into the coop. When we had our first really cold spell, we closed the pop door and they had to wait for us to come out and open the door to the run. That didn't work very well. I don't know what the humidity went up to after a few days, but it did go up slightly in there. We weren't about to wait and find out if it would go up highter. We opened the pop door back up and got that good air flow going again, and problem solved. I know some don't like openings on the bottom of the coop, but it's working very well for us and I'm a firm believer that as long as it isn't causing a feather ruffling draft we're good. For venitilation, we have the gap between the rafters and the coop wall left open, vents on the west and north wall that we can close very easily, windows on the south, east and west, all of which open or close, and a vent on the west floor directly opposite the pop door which is only open during the summer. We also have an open gable vent high on the east wall, and an old mobile home kitchen exhaust fan mounted on the east above the people door. That fan can be operated with just the cover open or the with the cover open and the fan running, wonderful for summer. Our chickens are doing just fine in the cold weather, with no supplemental heat or insulation.

    All of this sounds like overkill, but except for the rafter areas, every single form of ventilation is adjustable depending on the weather conditions. For example, when the winds are howling out of the north and snow is blowing, the openings on the north side are closed. Despite recommendations to the contrary, I'm very glad that we have some air flow at the bottom of the coop. As a sidenote, just for grins and giggles I plan to use the "Photo Booth" setting on my old iPhone and see if can use the infra-red mode just to see if the air flow is as good as it seems to be. Might not work - not exactly the highest quality camera to try it with, but I'm curious. The run is covered right now in greenhouse plastic and the chickens are always out there during the daytime hours, regardless of the temperatures and precip.

    This is what we're up against here in Northern Wyoming. We didn't get this cold during the last cold snap like our neighbors to the south did, (we only got down to actual air temps of -20 and the wind wasn't too bad) but winter's not over yet and dangerous wind chills like these don't care where in the state they hit.....

    [​IMG]

    There are pictures of our setup on My Coop Page. The link is under my Avatar.
     
  8. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dry is more important than warm.

    Try to find a way to add a lot more draft free ventilation above the roosting area so the moist rising air doesn't settle on the birds.
     
  9. Newchickey

    Newchickey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay I guess what you said hit the nail on the head, as to why I am banging my head on the wall or said nail. How do you have ventilation with out a draft? Isnt air flow from out to in and through a draft? Maybe if I can understand that, then I will know what to do, because at this point I have no clue. They seem to be doing fine. It is getting near zero or subzero every night, humidity is reading between 70 and 80 most the time. The go out in the day as long as I have straw on the snow. They are laying really well. In fact I am shocked at how much I am getting. Frostbite on the tips of most single combs, but I dont have frost on the walls, ceiling, only one window, furthest away from them gets a little sometimes.
     
  10. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    There is a LOT of good information on this site about proper ventilation.

    Start here.
     

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