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Winter in Cattle Panel Hoop House

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Winters here can get below zero, but are generally in the 0-20 degree range.
I have 12 chickens in an 8 x 8 cattle panel hoop house covered with a tarp.
The back is also covered.
If I place straw bales on the outside on 3 sides and half of the front, will this work
over winter? 
We have been moving the coop every few days but will have to stop when the ground freezes.
I also plan on placing a heavy layer of straw on the floor and will keep adding to it over winter.
Advise, suggestions, experience...please.
Thank you,
ChickeryChick

post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickeryChick 

Winters here can get below zero, but are generally in the 0-20 degree range.
I have 12 chickens in an 8 x 8 cattle panel hoop house covered with a tarp.
The back is also covered.
If I place straw bales on the outside on 3 sides and half of the front, will this work
over winter?


You can definitely do it. Two suggestions:

1) make sure your hoop house is VERY STOUTLY BRACED versus snow. I'd suggest two 4x4s coming from a single central point, each at about a 60-70 degree angle towards each curved side of the hoop house, potentially with a length of 2x4 or 2x6 atop each so they don't damage or slip off the part of wire they'r bracing. This will go a long ways towards preventing the run collapsing in the snow, and yes, tarped cattle panel hoops *can* collapse in snow, we had a couple threads about that last winter wink

2) can you knock together some better shelter in there for the birds, perhaps a piece of 3/4" plywood atop three or three-and-a-half walls of straw bales, or some such thing. To create a smaller roosting area where they are firmly out of the weather and where their body heat will stay with them. That would be more useful than putting bales around the outside of the hoop house -- although yo might want to do that *too*, as a better windbreak and to reduce flapping damage to the tarp edges.

You may also find that you need to periodically remove and replace the straw, especially when you get a thaw.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Pat,

Thank you for your advice.
Do you think a "hover" type enclosure made from TekFoil reflective foil insulation would work?  I had intended to make a chick hover earlier in the year with the TekFoil and have the stuff around.  I could suspend it from the roof. But how about when they want to roost?
Or I could actually make a frame and cover with the TekFoil.
I'm thinking the hover idea might be better, but I'm HIGHLY uneducated in poultry matters (but I'm working on that!)

I will brace the cattle panel as you suggest to reinforce against snow load.

ChickeryChick

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