So you are designing your own chicken coop and keep coming across adding ventilation. But, what does that even mean? Ventilation is probably one of the most crucial elements of your coop. Without proper ventilation, your chicken’s health could be at stake. So today, we are going to talk about everything you need to know about chicken coop ventilation. And we will give you our 11 best types of chicken coop ventilation for every climate and coop style.
Chicken Coop Ventilation vs Draft
Before we go much further, it is crucial to define what we mean by ventilation. Chicken coop ventilation is intentional points where air can enter the coop and circulate back out. A draft is unprotected holes in the floors or walls of your coop. Vents serve a purpose and can be adjusted for different seasons. Drafts can not be controlled and will let too much cold air in. Drafts could also let pests into your coop. A coop should be well ventilated but have no drafts.
Why Do I Need Ventilation?
The 11 best types of chicken coop ventilation serve a variety of purposes. For instance, if you live in cold weathered climates, aeration is a must. Well placed ventilation reduces the amount of moisture in the air during the winter. Chickens fare well during winter months, but the humidity could cause painful frostbite. Without ventilation, moisture will quickly build up and could also cause respiratory illnesses.
In hot summer months, ventilation provides a cool breeze inside the coop. A coop without ventilation might as well be an oven. Strategically placed vents will keep your coop at a tolerable level. And finally, vents also allow harmful ammonia to escape. Ammonia is a natural by-product of feces decomposing, and we all know chickens poop a lot. Vents will help with the smell and keep the air clean.
How Much Ventilation Is Needed?
The amount of ventilation needed depends on how large of a coop you have. A general rule to follow is for every 10 sqft of floor space you have; you need 1 sqft of ventilation. But if you live in hotter than average areas, more ventilation is always welcome. Some people even choose to make one whole side of the coop a screen for ventilation in the South.
Where Should Ventilation Be Placed?
Chicken coop ventilation can be placed in several areas depending on your climate. Chicken coop ventilation winter months should be up high. Ideally, you want the vents to be above the head so that you don’t let in a direct stream of cold air. And for hot weather, you want ventilation lower to the floor and even at roosting and nesting height.
But most of us don’t live in climates where it’s only hot or cold. So what should we do? The most straightforward answer is closing vents that are lower. Add enough ventilation high up for winter and lower for summer. A few windows can also work great for summer months because they can be closed off. Installing as much ventilation as you can in various places gives you the ability to control your coops temperature better.
11 Best Types Of Chicken Coop Ventilation
Now that you know everything about vents, you can see our recommendations. These vents are fantastic for any chicken coop design, and you can customize a pre-fabricated coop with these vents to fit your needs.
Holes With Hardware Cloth
One of the cheapest types of ventilation are holes drilled into the side of the coop. These holes are usually placed along the top of the coop and covered from the inside with hardware cloth. These vents are significant for people who live in mild climates and can be installed into any coop. The only downside is that they can’t be closed, so drilling them too low is not an option.
Every chicken coop should have a few windows with a hardware cloth screen. Windows are fantastic for letting in light, allowing you to see in, and as ventilation. You could even add windows on opposite walls to create a cross-ventilation chicken coop. Cross-ventilation is excellent for hot and humid summers. It allows for a breeze to come right through your coop and wick away moisture. It also can cool your chickens and get rid of smells.
You can get small windows at any hardware store in a variety of sizes. And if you are looking for recycled materials, you can often find them for free.
Screen doors can give your chickens many of the same benefits as a window. They allow for lots of sunlight and air to get into your coop, and they are inexpensive. Screens doors are available at any home improvement warehouse, and you can also salvage them for free. If you choose to use a screen door, don’t forget to add another solid door for protection as well. Some people even decide to replace the flimsy screen with hardware cloth to be sure that their chickens are kept safe.
Another option for a cross-ventilation chicken coop is to have removable siding. These coops can be a little more challenging to build, but they are beneficial for hot weather. If you make two sides of the coop removable, then your coop can have hardware cloth sides. This method allows for the maximum amount of ventilation. But when you put the sides back on for winter, make sure no drafts are coming in.
Accord Sideway/Ceiling Register
Many people like the clean look of these Accord Sideway/Ceiling Register vents. They are perfect for ceiling ventilation or lower to the floor. And since these vents close, they allow you to adjust ventilation according to season. When installing these, you want to make sure they are screwed into place well from the outside. If not screwed in tight, raccoons could quickly get into your coop at night.
Magnetic Vent Cover
And if you are worried about your metal vents letting in a draft, these magnetic vent covers are perfect. These covers go right over any metal vent to keep as much air from getting through as possible. That makes them great to winter-proof any vents that you have lower to the ground.
Ekena Millwork Gable Vents
This stylish ventilation will make the outside of your coop cohesive and beautiful. The Ekena Millwork Gable vent could be attached to your homemade coop or even a shed convert. If you decide to use these vents, the only modification needed would be hardware cloth on the inside. Snakes and pests can easily crawl through the opening in this vent. The outside of your coop will look lovely while the inside stays cool and moisture-free.
Air Vent Aluminum Turbine
Chicken coop roof ventilation is also crucial. It helps trapped ammonia and moisture escape and allows for heat to escape in the summer. Having a turbine-like, this one from Air Vent is just what you need. They are easy to install and don’t need regular maintenance throughout the year. You leave this vent open all year and don’t have to worry about closing it off.
iLiving – 10″ Wall Mounted Exhaust Fan
For those of you who have larger flocks, this exhaust fan from iLiving will change your life. Chicken coop ventilation fans cool the coops faster and help to get rid of the chicken smell. More chickens doesn’t have to mean more smells. Fans like these will keep your coop smelling clean and improve the health of your flock. Ammonia build-up could cause respiratory distress, and once one chicken is sick, they all get sick. These iLiving vents will keep your chickens healthy and refreshed.
Rocky Mountain Goods Floor Register
In warmer climates, you might be looking for a vent to keep at the roost level. For this, we recommend the Rocky Mountain Goods Floor Register. These thin vents can provide your flock with a cool breeze throughout the night where they need it most. And since they close, you can block them off for winter. Don’t forget to buy your magnetic covers as well to prevent drafts!
Adjustable AIR Supply Diffuser
And finally, we have the Adjustable Air Supply Diffuser. We love how large these vents are for the summer months. Putting a few of these in your coop will pull a lot of air through your coop. And since this vent can shut, it will keep your chickens warm during the winter. And to put the cherry on top, this vent is the exact right amount for 10 sqft of coop space. So it is easy to measure how much you will need.
Get Your Vent On
Now that you know the 11 best types of chicken coop ventilation, which will you choose? There are so many great options, and they all serve a slightly different purpose. No matter what climate you live in, there is the perfect vent for you. You won’t ever have to worry about your chickens getting too cold or too hot. With a few tweaks, any of these vents could serve your purposes.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!