Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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How do you ventilate a coop without drafts?

Chicken coop ventilationI have to admit that I've been guilty of passing on this bit of chicken-coop-building advice that you see in many books and on many websites:

"Plan your coop in such a way that it's well-ventilated but doesn't create drafts."

One of my friends called me on it, and I realized I didn't really know what I meant any more than the other authors did.

So I started pondering, and here's what I concluded:

  • The ventilation is supposed to keep moisture from buiding up in the coop and to keep smells down.  (With deep bedding, smells should be much less of a problem.)
  • Drafts are breezes at chicken-level, especially where they're roosting at night.

Winter chicken tractorThe solution to providing ventilation without drafts?  Get the air moving up high, but enclose the roosting area so chickens are in a still-air zone at night.

We've had success overwintering chickens in very open tractors here in zone 6 with a simple carpet curtain that encloses 75% of the roosting area.  Meanwhile, the drawing at the top of this post follows the tips in Small-Scale Livestock Farming --- provide ventilate in the peak of the coop and/or windows that open in and down.

One of these days I'll get around to reading Fresh-Air Poultry Houses, which is supposed to be the final word on this topic.  Until then, do you have any extra tips to add for draft-free coop ventilation?

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