Originally Posted by shodack
Hi fellow NYers!
This will be my first winter with chickens, so I'm starting to think about keeping them happy and healthy over a CNY winter... I'd like to knit them all little hats and sweaters, frankly!
I'm planning to use heated dishes to keep their water and fermented food thawed, but am wondering if I should keep them right in the coop (I use pine shavings in there). Seems dangerous. The coop is on stilts, so my husband and I were discussing putting up three "walls" and keeping the food and water dishes under the coop to avoid having heating elements in bedding. Thoughts?
Also, do you open the coop and let your girls out every single day? Even below zero degrees?
Do you open the coop to collect eggs every day when it's bitterly cold, or avoid opening it up on the coldest days?
Dare I comment? I don't like to keep water in the coops. Three of my coops have covered runs with cords for heated waterers.
I do use heated nipple waterers but they need protection from cold wind. Otherwise I use black rubber tubs even in the covered runs. If placed on a cement block they tend to freeze more quickly.
As you can see I used black rubber tubs on the ground even in winter. I fill them with hot water in the am and check them in the afternoon to break ice or add more hot water.
I've found they are less apt to freeze quickly directly on the ground.
I do have two heated dog water bowls but have yet to use them. You will get lots of ideas on heated waterers.
I don't recommend waterers in the coop since the chickens drip water from their waddles, bang the hanging waterers or knock them over.
Of course I also don't like them shut up in the coop. Especially if there is insufficient lighting.
As always no one system works for everyone, so see what others do and choose the system that works for you.
I wish you well,
Edited by rancher hicks - 10/11/15 at 8:12am