Winterizing advice

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by High Prairie, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. High Prairie

    High Prairie Just Hatched

    36
    5
    14
    Jul 6, 2016
    Kansas
    When we bought our farm, it came with this really neat, old coop. I've been here 11 years and finally bought some chickens this Spring. So this is my first winter, and I'm not sure I've got the ventilation right. I'm looking for opinions from anyone who knows more about this than I do. We've already gotten well below 0, and my rooster got frostbite. This is the only picture I have here at work of my coop, but it may be enough to set the scene for you. The front of the coop faces south. As you can see, it's quite open. We have a big low window on each side, a smaller window on each side above the large window, two large swing-out doors in the middle, and then a large rectangle vent window centered above the two doors that isn't visible in this picture. All of these doors and windows are open and covered with hardware cloth. My 9 chickens roost in the front, just inside the left door. So for winter, I have covered the windows on the left side of the coop as well as both the doors. Their roosting corner is therefore draft free. I've left the windows on the right side uncovered, and the vent window above the two covered doors is also uncovered. The only openings I have are on this front, south-facing wall. The east and west walls are wood with tin siding that swing up and can be staked open like wings for warm-weather cross breezes. The north wall is solid wood with tin siding, but it does have a couple of small ventilation notches up by the roof. The whole coop sits up about a foot off the ground and on skids. I assume they moved it around the farm back in the day. It has a wire floor that I have completely covered with deep straw. I've also lined haybales along the outside west and north walls to prevent wind and snow from blowing up under that raised floor. When you stand inside on a very windy day, it doesn't feel drafty at all. I know it'd be ideal to have vents in all walls, but what do you think based on what I have to work with, as is? Is it enough ventilation? I've noticed some frost on the inside roof, which is also tin. So I'm thinking I need more ventilation. But I don't want to mess with the left side where they roost.

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  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You'll need more passive airflow where they roost at night, ideally some fresh intake from the bottom of the coop to move the humidity up and out the top. It sounds like you have plenty of ventilation up top but you may find opening up some at the bottom can move things along. Move one corner of the haybales outside~the corner in which they roost, ideally~ and some of the bedding off the floor wire in that corner, creating blocks to keep the bedding back, and allowing some fresh air in the bottom and I'm betting you'll see some changes in the humidity levels.
     
  3. High Prairie

    High Prairie Just Hatched

    36
    5
    14
    Jul 6, 2016
    Kansas

    Thank you! That makes sense to open some venting beneath them. I will do it and see if that helps!
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016

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