Two factors you need to consider when building your chicken coop are whether it has sufficient ventilation and can stay cool in intense heat. If yours doesn’t fulfill these criteria, it might be time to install a fan.
Although fans aren’t required in every chicken coop, depending on its build and location, they are highly recommended to aid with temperature regulation and air ventilation. This can be for the sake of your animal’s health as well as your own, since humid or hot living conditions can cause diseases and other health hazards.
In this article, we’ll expand on why it is probably for the best that you have at least one or two fans in your chicken coop (or more for large flocks). As you read, you’ll also learn important chicken coop tips, such as the optimal location for their installation and alternative methods for keeping your chickens cool.
Reasons Why You Should Have Fans in Your Chicken Coops
When building your own chicken coop, you might be so focused on important factors such as coop size, location, and the materials you intend to use that you forget to consider features like fans.
Alternatively, you might have constructed your coop with several windows and openings that you think installing a fan is unnecessary. Here are some reasons why we think you should reconsider and have appropriately-sized fans in your chicken’s living space.
The top, overarching reasons why fans should be a staple feature in any chicken coop include:
- Temperature regulation
- Disease prevention
- Egg quality and production
As you can see, having a fan isn’t just about keeping your chickens cool on a sweltering summer’s day. There are other benefits to having this equipment installed that might even directly affect your livelihood if these chickens are a source of revenue.
This is probably the most obvious reason why farmers and chicken owners install fans because it’s the same reason why humans like to have them around their homes.
While chickens are hardy animals that can endure harsh temperatures, from slightly below freezing to nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit, ideally they prefer slightly warm but not overly hot temperatures ranging from 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. (source)
If your chicken coop is anywhere between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit even up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, they’re likely comfortable. (source)
However, once temperatures start to rise over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, your chickens might start experiencing signs of heat stress. Temperatures of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit will easily cause severe heat stress, which can take a significant toll on your chicken’s mental and physical health.
In fact, it is not uncommon for larger or older chickens to succumb to the strain that severe heat stress causes their bodies. In comparison, younger chickens will likely experience symptoms such as lethargy and immobility.
Installing a fan in your chicken’s coop will not only help reduce the living space’s overall temperature, making it a safe haven from the harsh outdoor temperatures and sun exposure, but it could potentially save their lives.
We have an article with more info about Chicken Coop Ventilation Here.
Heat stress isn’t the only health-related concern that can arise from not equipping your chicken coop with a fan. Another significant reason you’ll want these is because they can improve air ventilation and circulation in your chicken coop, reducing the presence of diseases that can affect both you and your chickens.
Dust particles, mold/fungi, and ammonia-induced fecal fumes can cause an array of afflictions, including:
- Ammonia sickness
- Farmer’s lung
- Occupational asthma
- Acute bronchitis
- Avian influenza
- Newcastle disease
Opening windows and running fans will not only keep your chicken coop well-ventilated, but it can also help keep it dry, especially in warm temperatures and high humidity.
These precautions alone can significantly reduce the likelihood of you or your chickens contracting the diseases listed above (and others) that can range from mild to chronic to life-threatening afflictions.
Egg Quality and Production
The final reason you should have fans in your chicken coop is one that many casual chicken owners might not even realize.
Studies have shown that chickens exposed to high temperatures and experiencing varying degrees of heat stress lay fewer eggs and have lowered egg hatching rates. (source) The few eggs that are laid typically exhibit:
- Reduced size
- Thin shells
- Poor internal egg quality
While heat is just one of many factors that could cause egg quality and production results as those listed above, the pursuit of a healthy egg production rate and the highest quality eggs possible is worth the extra precaution of installing a fan. (source)
Where Should You Install a Chicken Coop Fan?
Installing one or multiple fans in your chicken coop can do wonders for your flock’s health, quality of life, and egg production/quality. However, you want to make sure you’re placing these fans in the ideal location, both for maximum results as well as for your flock’s safety.
Chicken coop fans should be installed on the side of the coop to help draw out hot air. Additionally, since hot air rises, the most effective location for temperature regulation is just below the coop’s roof.
Make sure any fan you install is chicken-proofed by either installing high enough that your chickens can’t possibly reach and/or providing durable fan covers that will prevent accidental injury.
Operating these fans at lower speeds when temperatures aren’t extreme is also a great way to keep air circulating without posing a risk to your chickens’ safety.
Of course, your fans can’t do it all. When installing fans in your chicken coop, you’ll also want to make sure alternative air circulation methods and temperature control are present in the design, such as wide overhangs and eaves.
Another helpful design tip is to install multiple windows that run east to west, ensuring direct sunlight never shines into the coop, further contributing to the temperature. If you have a fully-enclosed chicken coop, installing an evaporative cooler or foggers are fantastic alternatives.
There’s no doubt that our chickens deserve the highest quality of life we can give them, and installing a few fans in their coop is one of the easiest and affordable ways to do this.
Pairing these with other cooling methods, like windows and shades, can help keep them comfortable in extreme heat and improve air quality to promote a sanitary, mold and disease-free coop.