How To Build A Good Chicken Coop: Part 4

Reader Contribution by Nathan Lott
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Howdy, y’all! Welcome to Part 4 of my “How to Build a Good Chicken Coop” series. If you haven’t already read the previous articles, feel free to check ’em out.

Part 1: Size
Part 2: Location
Part 3: Orientation

Today’s topic is:


Good ventilation in the chicken coop is SUPER important. And yes, I did just spell the word “super” using all capital letters! (I even bolded it to add proper emphasis).

We all know it’s a good idea to have a little airflow moving through the coop during those sweltering summer days, right? Well, it’s easy to overlook just how vital ventilation is during the wintertime as well.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you keep the windows and doors open all year round (assuming your chicken coop is even gonna have windows and doors). You certainly don’t want to expose your birds to those bitter winter winds, because, depending on your climate, that could be downright dangerous.

What I am suggesting is that you provide ample opportunity for clean, fresh air to enter the coop and the moist, muggy air to exit.

It always surprises me how much moisture our chickens put off just by breathing. About a year ago, I wrote an article entitled “Do Chickens Need a Heat Lamp In The Winter?” and in it I explained that moisture in the coop is actually one of the main causes of frostbite in chickens.

Regardless of your climate, if all that warm, moist air doesn’t have somewhere to go, it’s gonna end up causing problems.

I know of some folks who go to extreme lengths to ventilate their chicken coops. I’ve seen chimneys. I’ve seen ceiling fans. I’ve seen all sorts of stuff. But ventilation doesn’t have to be elaborate. Our 32-square-foot chicken coop simply has a single window (40″ x 20″), a single door (6″ x 8″), and a handful of very small vents near the ceiling.

The window stays open most of the year, but I do have a sheet of plexiglass to cover it in the winter. The door is always open (which, admittedly, does leave things exposed to wind gusts from time to time), but it’s small enough (and the coop is roomy enough) that our beloved old chooks can easily take shelter from the wind whenever they feel like it. The top vents are nothing more than 1/4″ gaps between the rafters. They’re so tiny, in fact, that you might mistake them for shoddy craftsmanship. Y’know, almost like some doofus accidentally cut the lumber a little too short … [Ahem] I can neither confirm nor deny such accusations.

Whatever the case may be, it’s worked out extremely well for us. And it’s a good thing, too. Because, like I said before, proper ventilation is SUPER important.

About the Author: Nathan and his family work and play and live on a 1.17 acre microfarm (a.k.a. “The One Acre Lott”), in a frigid Rocky Mountain valley, at the end of a long dirt road. He has been raising chickens for years, grows nearly all of his family’s meat and produce, and loves every minute of it! For more of his exciting adventures, check out his personal website,

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