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My coop/tractor--advice for winter?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

We have 4 chicks and the coop is pictured below (not actual coop, but same design).  I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts as to making it better for the chicks.  Cover the run to keep it dryer? Or, just cover in the rain?  put straw bales around the outside to keep warmer?  just thinking out loud...  (I live in Indiana--we get pretty cold and have had some nasty winters recently)

 

I've posted a bit in another thread, but other than a watering warmer, any other thoughts as to winterizing it?  I know that ventilation and dryness is better than warmth for chickens (thanks to people here!).

 

Thinking that, since the actual coop is pretty small, keeping food, water, and grit/treats, etc. in the run is the way to go all winter, right?  Any thoughts are appreciated!

 

Homesteader Deluxe A

Homesteader Deluxe C

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskeybanjo View Post
 

 I live in Indiana--we get pretty cold and have had some nasty winters recently

 

 Any thoughts are appreciated!

 

 

 

Picture of blustery day outside the loft (baby barn) on December 28th 2012.

 

 

I am subject to -40º weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have 65 trips around the sun and have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

 

Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing or heating your coop to help your birds combat the cold.

 

       Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

 

Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.

This is done by feeding them whole corn if available or cracked corn as an added supplement in a separate feeder.

 

The extra protein is more the adequate to bring them through the                          

                      "COLDEST" winter.

 

Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

 

That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

 

I do not add any extra heat or lighting.

Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

 

Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

 

I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

 

You really do

 

                           "NOT"

 

 

have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

 

                         "MAJOR" problems.

Hope this helps,

Check out this link leads to a Video interview on me and my grand daughter done by a local TV Station on our WHITE HOMING PIGEON loft:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1478351/carrier-pigeons-continue-to-connect-family/

If you are not living for something;

You are dying for nothing.

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Hope this helps,

Check out this link leads to a Video interview on me and my grand daughter done by a local TV Station on our WHITE HOMING PIGEON loft:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1478351/carrier-pigeons-continue-to-connect-family/

If you are not living for something;

You are dying for nothing.

Reply
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the insight and pictures!  Much appreciated (and yes--you get MUCH MUCH colder than we do!!!).  

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Also, this coop is covered on all 4 sides.  I saw a hawk perched on top of it this morning--just like a person watching a lobster tank before choosing their meal.

 

I hung a bunch of CD's around the coop to hopefully deter the hawk.  The run is covered with 2" x 4" galvanized steel--is this good enough to keep hawks out?  

post #5 of 7

With that small of a run, it would be easy enough to cover it to keep mud down. You'd have to have a roof that could handle snow load, though, something to keep in mind. but it would be an easy way to maximize your space for your birds. The coop is way too small to expect them to spend any length of time in there when the weather is bad. You can also wrap the sides in a tarp, at least the two windiest sides, to keep snow from blowing in. You're correct in that dry is much more important than warm.

 

Keeping feed in the run depends on your ability to keep it dry. Wet chicken feed is just plain nasty. I don't know if it would mold in the colder temps, but it's gross smelling. I'd make a deep litter in the run, both to manage mud and give them something to do all winter. A handful of corn or scratch tossed in the litter will provide lots of exercise and entertainment for your birds.

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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post #6 of 7

whiskeybanjo, I am in a similar situation as you.   I built my tractor/coop and it is very similar as yours.

Right now, I have a run built to the side of the coop that is about 8x20.   They love it out there and spend most of the day there until I let them out in our yard.

I live in NW Arkansas and have the same concerns with winter.   We are about 1100 feet above sea level in this part of the state and get the coldest temps in this region.

I took an old tarp, attached furring strips to the top and bottom of it (after cutting it to size) so I can attach it to the sides and end of the tractor.  A few screws and it's on.

I used some of my leftover roofing tin to put on the sides underneath the nesting box.   Basically this will allow me to close off all parts of the coop to the wind and weather.  The feeder and waterer are protected by all of this.
I covered my coop with roofing tin and things have remained fairly dry.   I built some vent covers I have put on to keep the wind from blowing directly in on my hens at night while on the roost.   It still allows air to circulate but has done well to keep wind off them.

I too have learned that keeping things dry is one of the best defenses against sick birds.

I will watch this post closely.

ccat1

Fayetteville, Arkansas
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Fayetteville, Arkansas
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am considering attaching the run/tractor to an abandoned playhouse on my property.  It would provide them a bit more shelter in colder and rainier temps with the ability to go outside if they want.  It's close to the house, and I believe I could simply cut a hole in the run and the playhouse and attach the two.  

 

They've been adapting well to the cooler temps and have done fine in the upper 30s.  They haven't gone into the coop overnight yet (they haven't quite figured it out...), but they are 5 weeks old, so we'll get there.  Today they were left in their brooder box due to extremely high winds (and their lack of using the coop for shelter). 

 

So much to consider (and so much to do).

 

Thanks all!

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