It’s important to make sure you can provide some form of ventilation in your chicken coop. As a matter of fact, your chickens health depends on it!
In a “cooped up coop” that doesn’t have any form of ventilation, dangerous gasses like ammonia can accumulate which can ultimately become toxic to your chickens. Chickens also give off a fair amount of moisture which, if left to accumulate, could lead to mold and mildew.
The more time that your girls (and boys) stay indoors, the more important it is that you provide ventilation for the coop.
In this article, we’ll go over what I’ve found to be some of the best ways to add ventilation to a chicken coop.
In addition, you’ll learn why it’s important to add ventilation to a chicken coop and what exactly that ventilation does for the flock.
Why It’s Important To Add Ventilation To Your Chicken Coop
In addition to what I mentioned above, here some more important reasons to add ventilation to a coop.
- Supplies oxygen-rich fresh air
- Removes excess heat and moisture released from breathing
- Removes dangerous gases such as carbon dioxide and ammonia
- Removes dust particles that are suspended in the air
- Dilutes disease causing organisms in the air
How Much Ventilation Does A Chicken Coop Need?
A good rule of thumb to remember when deciding how much ventilation a chicken coop needs is to assume a minimum of 1 square foot of ventilation per chicken inside the coop.
However, if you live in an area that tends to get pretty hot during the summer months, you should plan on providing even more ventilation per chicken.
The Best Way To Add Ventilation To A Chicken Coop
Here are what I’ve found to be the best way to add ventilation to a chicken coop:
- Ventilation Holes
- Multiple Windows
- A Cupola
- Installing Fans
- Wind Turbines
1. Ventilation Holes
One of the best, and easiest ways to add ventilation to your chicken coop is to simply drill ventilation holes near the ceiling. If possible, the experts from Storey’s Guide To Raising Chickens advise drilling the ventilation holes along the ceiling of the south and north walls.
They also advise covering the holes with wire mesh in order to keep wild birds out of the coop, which may be carrying diseases.
2. Install Multiple Windows
If you’re unable to drill ventilation holes in the coop for some reason, another good way to provide ventilation is by installing windows. But don’t install just one. You’ll need more than one.
The reason more than one window is necessary is because you need to allow for cross ventilation. One window does not allow for this.
In my coop, I always make sure to have a two windows opposite each other. I try to install the windows on walls that do not have a door or other entrance. That way you get even more cross ventilation between the windows and the doors.
3. A Chicken House Cupola
The iconic cupola. It’s the thing you see on top of old barns and chicken houses. The ones I imagine almost always have a wind gauge with the outline of a rooster on it. You know the ones.
Well, these things actually serve a purpose. Cupolas work by allowing hot, humid air escape through the top of the roof, because that’s where the hottest air accumulates.
If your coop has access to electricity, installing fans is an excellent way to add ventilation to a chicken coop. There are two different types of fans designed for coops; ceiling mounted fans and wall mounted fans.
Variable ceiling fans are great for keeping the air in the coop moving, but will only be beneficial to the flock if there are other ventilation holes open. A warning about ceiling fans: Only use them if the ceiling of the coop is too high for the chickens to fly into it.
Wall mounted fans on the other hand, are excellent for moving air as long as their is another opening in the coop. Wall mounted fans will push the dirty, stale air out and “suck in” fresh clean air from the ventilation holes in the coop.
If choosing a wall mounted fan, use one that will move at least 5 cubic feet of air per bird. In addition to being great at moving air, wall mounted fans are also great at collecting dust and dirt. So you should know that you’ll be needing to clean the fans quite regularly.
5. Wind Turbine
Wind turbines work very similar to cupolas, in the way that they are installed on top of the roof and move the hot stagnant air that accumulates there.
The main difference with a wind turbine is that when the wind blows, it spins the turbine which in turn will actively draw or pull the hot inside air out.
If you’ve spent any time at all inside a tightly shut chicken coop during the hot summer months, then you know the importance of adding ventilation to the coop. If not, then you’ll find out this summer when you go to clean out the coop!
These methods of adding ventilation to your coop are quite effective and relatively easy to install. But fortunately, the most effective way to add ventilation happens to be the easiest, and that’s to simply drill holes in the top of the coop along the roof line and cover them with screen.
Your chickens will thank you and they’ll be much happier and healthier for you having done it.
More From The Hen’s Loft
- The Best Chicken Coops For Small Flocks and Backyards
- How To Store Chicken Feed (For Long Term and Short Term)
- How to Keep Snakes Out of Chicken Coops (5 Tips!)