Question sufficient ventilation v2

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mucm
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sufficient ventilation v2

Post by mucm » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:57 am

I have a question similar to this post Sufficient ventilation? but on a smaller scale. I've just about finished a small rolling coop on bicycle wheels. It is light construction (1x2s and 1/4" plywood), external dimensions 36"x48", internally 33"x45", and quite tight fitting construction so fairly air tight aside from doors (currently just a small chicken door at one end, and cleanout door on one full side -- one of the 36" sides).

It is also quite tall, the vertical space is allotted as roughly bottom 12" for deep bedding (can accumulate up to 12"), and still have next 12" space for them to walk/scratch on that (plus nest box doorways are in this 12"), then roosts with 12" space for them to sit there, plus 12" of head space above that because I've read it isn't ideal for their heads to be right at the top if that's where the vents are. Its both too hot when its hot in there, and too cold if the vents are right there.

I have the roost bars packed in fairly dense (8" spacing), which is 4 bars of 4' long, so 16 linear feet of roost bar, so I'm figuring if they're snuggling, could fit maybe 16+ hens in the future.

I'm considering just drilling many small holes, both right at the eaves for exhaust, as well as right at the floor for inlet air. The inlet air will be somewhat obstructed by the bedding but I think that's good too for aerating the bedding so it can compost in place. I like the small hole idea because then I skip the hardware cloth cover. I feel like many small holes will be good for air exchange without being drafty.

Other option would be just a maybe 3" hole saw hole at top and bottom (opposite corners).

What would you more experienced folks think of this? What would be total "square footage" of vents needed? either based on coop size 3'x4' coop, or 16 birds.

Cheers and thanks.

Martin
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Happy
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Re: sufficient ventilation v2

Post by Happy » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:22 pm

Ok so I'm no expert on a coop of that size but I'm thinking the small holes you're talking about are not going to be sufficient. The bigger concern is the number of birds you plan on housing. Will they have a covered attached run? Because that is A LOT of birds for that space. To be honest I think you're asking for trouble - both behavioral and health issues - with that many birds in that small of a space. Just my opinion.
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mucm
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Re: sufficient ventilation v2

Post by mucm » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:17 pm

Thanks for the insight. I haven't figured if I'll cover the run but yes lots of outdoor/free-range/pastured time (within electric poultry netting). But okay lets say 8 or 10 birds. So would you feel like 2 vent holes of 3" diameter is about right (in opposite high-low corners)?
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ross
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Re: sufficient ventilation v2

Post by ross » Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:59 pm

8/16 soffit vent take screen off back . One 12” off bottom & another as close to top of pen screen off or as pic . Ones 1/2 way up are windows
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JimW
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Re: sufficient ventilation v2

Post by JimW » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:37 pm

Ross's ideal sounds good.

For your size of coop 12 square feet, I would think even 8 birds is a lot, unless they are out all day every day and just sleeping in the coop. Even so you will need quite a bit of ventilation in that size of coop, as in the winter in such a confined space the birds at night will produce a lot of moisture and your risk of frostbite will be high. Cold temperatures are less of a worry, as is high humidity in the winter.

I am currently building new breeder pens for my chickens. Each pen will have a 4 ft x 4 ft x 3 ft tall coop on one end, which is raised 30" off the ground. The 4x4 coop with have a 4 ft x 8 ft, two level attached covered run that the birds can access 24/7. Their water will be kept in the attached run, so it does not increase humidity in the coop section.

The minimum recommended coop area for large fowl chickens is 4 square feet. In my setups I will be keeping 1 rooster and 4 hens, the coop is only 16 sq. feet so a little small technically for 5 birds but when you factor in the run that they can access 24/7, it works out to be approximately 96 square feet for 5 birds.

Since I am worried about heat in the summer and high humidity in the winter I am adding a lot of ventilation. In the 4x4 coop on the end that opens into the cover run, with be a 14"x14" door that is open all the time, plus two 4"x6" vents at the floor level for incoming fresh air. For warm humid air to escape I am installing a ridge vent at the peak of the gable roof along the full 4 foot length plus a rectangular vent on each of the gable ends.

Best of luck.

JimW
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Re: sufficient ventilation v2

Post by WLLady » Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:07 pm

If you can get the birds out every day, all day into a nice large run, you will likely be okay with 4-6 birds in that space if they are in there only at night. The moisture will be an issue, especially in the winter. I'm not sure i would over winter in that, since 6 birds will likely not keep any warmth in there, and the moisture will coat everything and you'll have frostbite issues. BUT, i know someone with 5 hens in a standard large breed dog house, with access to 2 acres outside free run, and in the winter the birds come back to me for housing with a coop full of other hens-they got the birds from me, and don't have any other birds, and i do a standard 2 week quarantine when they come back just in case. I have 16 birds in a 12x10 with access to outside (2 acres or more if they go into the field) and about 30 feet of roost space with 9 nesting boxes arranged vertically on one wall. That coop is 10 feet to the peak, and leaky as all get out so the wind doesn't blow in, but the moisture can get out. And even if i open the doors in the winter quite often they'll all stay in quite happily. For ventilation if you have a chicken door for them to go in and out that can provide the air in (but also in for predators at night!), and you'll need likely about 4x3 inch diameter holes drilled up along the roofline on the opposite side to the chicken door for out air-minimum with screening (because weasels can climb....and will fit....). if it's protected by a louver or grill like in rosses photo to stop the wind from blowing in directly that would be better....you can also use one of those at ground/litter level for in air....just as long as direct wind doesn't rip through the coop. the goal is venting but not windy
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mucm
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Re: sufficient ventilation v2

Post by mucm » Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:41 am

Thank you so much @ross, @JimW, and @WLLady . Yes Jim I was planning that they be out all day every day and only sleeping inside. Thank you I will adjust my vent sizes larger (and hen numbers smaller) based on all of your advice.
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mucm
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Re: sufficient ventilation v2

Post by mucm » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:59 pm

I ended up using the whole space above the cleanout door (irregular because of sloped roof), which is the full 3' width of the coop, so probably 3-4 square feet of fully open chicken wire. It is well above their head height and when the automatic door is closed over night, there is no opening at the other end so there should be no cross draft or wind going right through. I will see how it goes for temperature and humidity as the winter starts, and possibly block off more of it.
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