I was very pleased to see that proper breed selection was the first item on the list; it certainly belongs there! Choosing a good breed for your climate, weather, and available habitat should be the first thing any chicken keeper considers--but often isn't.

I would have liked to see more mention, if not discussion, of using greenhouses for winter runs/free-ranging. The whole function of greenhouses is to create a warmer, sheltered microclimate, perfect for helping poultry get out and about during the the harshest frigid coldsnaps. Many agriculturally-inclined people with any amount of land in cold regions already have greenhouse space for winter crops and composting that could be adapted for parttime or shared use by chickens with minimal additional trouble or expense.

I believe Harvey Ussery has written about this some in his book and on his website,
Thanks for the advice and reminders. I've had chickens for a few years, but this was a great reminder and the first full explanation on ventilation that I've read. We live in Maine, so we get some very severe cold.
Unfortunately, my husband refuses to help me catch each of our 2 dozen chickens so we can rub petroleum jelly on their wattles! But I can put the rest of the advice into practice.
Sorry, is this sentence from the 5th paragraph incorrectly worded? "You will not retain much heat by closing off the vents, but you will keep the birds drier, especially if it is a bitterly cold night and you use heat lamps."

We will keep the vent open, thanks for the information!!!
The article misssed an important part. In Winter the girls need daily fun. I suggest Pinterest to find activities to keep the boredom away. Write in the search box :enrichment activities chicken. You are set to find a wide variety of games for your girls.
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We live in West Michigan, so it gets pretty cold. We don't insulate our coops, nor heat them. There are no vents in the enclosed part only a window we keep closed. There ARE small gaps in the slats which probably let air/drafts in. The big door gets opened to feed/water them, and there's a small "ramp" door opposite of that which leads to their fenced in run. Its always open. None of our feathered-in chickens ever died from the cold. We have had silkie bantams, mediteranean breeds, on up to fat ol' Orpingtons. We use deep litter method, and change it 2 or 3 times a year. They love scratching in it. Approx three times a year we sprinkle Trailer Fresh over particularly soiled areas. Do they get mites or lice? Dont know. We dont inspect them. They eat, drink, scratch, lay eggs, and keep their feathers (except when molting), so we're all happy!
Thumbs up!
Also provide wind breaks or hideouts in the run. That Northern wind is wicked. Hail storms come on quick. I always have a couple of “shelter in place” hideouts not just for weather but for predators too since all the bushes are bare and there’s less places to hide.
This article covers the bases plus provides great links for further reading.
great information!
Great article for beginners that have harsh weather. Thanks for writing this :)
Good points but there are so many dynamics involved, like location , micro climates, size ofcoop , number of birds ...

Do and don’t is too black and white for me to agree with .
Good info!
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