Originally Posted by ChickenCanoe
Ventilation is always more important than warmth. Even more important than food and water.
It hit -20 here a couple years ago with big open windows on East and West walls with no birds lost.
We have much higher humidity year round than you.
I usually have more birds in buildings than you.
I use one of those remote thermometers in the farthest coop that often serves as a brooder house.
IMHO, your biggest issue is to keep the water in liquid form.
Wide roosts so they can cover their toes.
Cover snow with straw so they don't have to stand on the snow.
Our absolute humidity in winter here is VERY low, generally 10-20%. Cracked hands and feet and bloody noses result, but it keeps life interesting.
I've yet to decide on water in the coop. Their light is timed to come on before dawn since our days are so short, so I know they need water. So far it hasn't even come close to skimming over with ice, so okay for now. We have a heated waterer for outside the coop.
We used 2x4's on their sides (wide side for the birds to stand on) for the roosts.
And yes, I bought two bales of straw for the hens (and 2 for the dogs!) and will flake it out over the snow.
I was pleased on Tuesday to go home and see that we'd planned well so far. One long side faces east and the north end is the garage wall. We have a nice overhang on the roof for shade in summer and the way the snow came in, we had the who underside of the coop dry for them as well as out at least 4 feet from the coop wall that the snow hadn't gotten because of the overhang. They seem happy as can be!
Edited by cricketmt - 11/5/15 at 8:33am
ETA: I do plan to shovel snow for them as necessary too...and they have other stuff in the run for them to hang out on/under/in. We have a couple of pallets in various configurations, as well as some stumps and logs.