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new here :) hi and winter questions??

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
hi everyone,
new chicken mom here, I've had 3 Rhode Island reds for about 6 months now, starting small.. I've been warned that my addiction will grow.. i had read SO much conflicting info about what is best going into winter that I am TOTALLY confused! I am in Chicago, hoping to hear from somewhere near me, with similar weather, thoughts on freezing water, to heat or not to heat? what type of bedding do you use in your coops? do you give them access to the run everyday in the cold temps? down to what temp?? HELP?? obviously this is my first winter.. I'm a mess.... go easy on me ūüėĀ
post #2 of 5

:welcome

 

Don't worry, you'll do fine! Here's a link to take you to your state thread so you can talk to 'local' members:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/37/illinois

 

Thanks for joining us!

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Check out all 11 new mini contests!

BYC Mini Contests - Win a 2017 Calendar!!

Deadlines for all is Dec. 11, 2016

You can't win if you don't play!

 

8th Annual BYC New Year Day Hatch-Along - Hosted by Ronott1

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post #3 of 5

Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)

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I set fire to the rain! Watch it pour as I, touched your face. Well it burn while I cried, because I heard it screaming out your name. And I threw us into flames. I knew that was the last time, the last time...I set fire to the rain! -Adele

 

Look at my flock page! http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bantamfan4lifes-flock

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post #4 of 5

:welcome

 

 I added my thoughts to your questions below:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by chickenlady73 View Post

hi everyone,
new chicken mom here, I've had 3 Rhode Island reds for about 6 months now, starting small.. I've been warned that my addiction will grow.. i had read SO much conflicting info about what is best going into winter that I am TOTALLY confused! I am in Chicago, hoping to hear from somewhere near me, with similar weather, I am along Lake Michigan about 3 hours northeast of you.
thoughts on freezing water - If you have electricity where you keep your chicken you can set up a system to keep the water from freezing.  There are dog dishes, stock tank and fish pond options for avoiding freezing water.  Just use the search bar to look up "water freezing" or keep water from freezing" to see some of the options out there.  Your other option is to transport fresh water several times.  This is actually what I have to do since I do not have electricity in my coop
to heat or not to heat? Chickens are actually quite cold hardy, especially if you have breeds that are made to be cold hardy.  In addition, chickens also tolerate excessive cold much better than they do excessive heat.  Plus, if you heat a coop, it generally means you have to block all vents to keep the heat in.  Ventilation is very important so for that reason alone, I would never heat a coop.  You may want to read up on winter ventilation to help you decide for yourself.
what type of bedding do you use in your coops? Currently I have a dirt floor coop (mostly sand) and use the deep litter method.  Our primary bedding on the floor of the coop is wood chips.  This time of year it gets totally cleaned out, more wood chips are added and leaves are also added.  During the winter I will stir it up and periodically add wood shavings.  I also use wood shavings for the nesting boxes
do you give them access to the run everyday in the cold temps? My chickens free-range so I open up the door every day for them.  It is up to them if they go out or not.  If they do not go out, at least their coop is big enough that they each have about 10 square feet of space.  Most of our weather comes from the west and their coop door is on the east so the coop tends to block the worst of the weather for them
down to what temp?? HELP?? obviously this is my first winter.. I'm a mess.... go easy on me ūüėĀ

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. 

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Sassafras Grove Farm

sassafrasgrovefarm@outlook.com     sassafrasgrovefarm.weebly.com (not yet published)

 

Black Double Laced, Blue Double Laced and Splash Barnevelders

Silver Double Laced Bantam Barnevelders

Silver, Charcoal, and Birchen Iowa Blues

Swedish Flower Hens

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post #5 of 5

Trailrider gave you very good advice.   You have to remember chickens are wearing down jackets.   A flock of them in a coop give off a lot of heat, which is why you need adequate  ventilation near the top of your ceiling.    It's also good to use  2 x 4's  as roosting posts.  Have the 4" side up.  Chickens are not gripping birds like  robins or sparrows.  They prefer to have their feet spread flat on a roost and lay down over them to keep them warm. Some people like to nail towels to the roost posts, to help keep their feet warm.

 

You will have to provide fresh drinking water - which means either a heated water bowl, or frequent trips to break the ice for them.  Otherwise they can do well on their own.

 

You may also want to join the Illinois thread and get advice from folks who have gotten their chickens through winter many times before.   Welcome to Backyard chickens.

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