It is very important for a chicken coop to be draft-free, dry, and well ventilated. A draft can be described as a stream of air that flows into an indoor space while ventilation is the introduction of fresh outdoor air into an enclosure to replace the stale air that is expelled from the room. For poultry farmers, a draft is a term that implies the cracks, openings, or crevices that are situated near the bottom of a coop. Conversely, ventilation describes openings, which might be vents or windows, that are located near the top of the coop.
Importance of ventilation
Good ventilation provides an avenue for the expulsion of ammonia fumes that emerge from chicken waste. The ammonia gas is typically lighter than air; therefore, it rises and is released to the atmosphere through the ventilation spaces. If the gas is allowed to accumulate in the chicken coop, it damages the delicate respiratory system of the chicken eventually precipitating blindness and respiratory diseases.
Even though the ammonia fumes are less dense than air under ordinary conditions, the gas becomes heavier than air when the humidity rises or in places which are very humid. This results in the settling of the gas near the floor thus afflicting the chicken. Proper ventilation has the added benefit of expelling excess moisture thus mitigating the risk of ammonia accumulation.
It is necessary to seal any openings close to the roost level in cold seasons to protect your chickens from cold wind flowing into the coop. The small door that allows the poultry to access the coop can be spared since it is a necessity; however, it is recommended to install a draft drape across the pop door to reduce cold drafts on cold days when the birds are forced to stay indoors.