4 seasons conditions?


6 Years
Apr 15, 2017
Western New York
My Coop
My Coop
I live in western New York, where the summers can be in the mid 90's and very humid, and winters can be windy and cold, with wind chills down to -15 on the coldest days. For others living in a similar climate, did you insulate your coop or use a heater during frigid days? Did your chickens still want to go outside during winter? What type of water system do you use when temps are below freezing? And do you use a fan in the coop during hot, humid nights? In case you can't tell, I'm a newbie Thanks!
I'm in Maine, so similar climate... about 2 weeks a summer reach the 90s and humid and winters are very cold and snowy. My coop came with the house and is not insulated. If I were starting from scratch, I would probably insulate, but I have to say that I have not had any problems without insulation. I do not use a heat lamp, because I am petrified of a fire. I think the key to winter survival is 1) make sure you have good ventilation (moisture is not your friend in the cold) 2) make sure that ventilation is not where it will cause a draft on the birds, so having it at the roof level is better than on the ground 3) make sure your birds are healthy going into winter (de-worm if necessary).

I use a heated waterer in the winter. Make sure you have electricity safely going to your coop if possible... makes life so much easier.

My birds still like going out in the winter. I shovel the run out for them. Only on the super cold (single digits and below) days do I tend not to open the coop door for them. On those really cold days I also bring them warm treats.

In the summer I do not have a fan, although that wouldn't be a bad idea! I think they have a harder time with the heat than the cold. Make sure they have plenty of water in summer and access to shade.
Thanks for the helpful info! We do have electricity in the coop, so I could plug in a heated waterer. We added some ventilation on each of the 4 walls, but after further research I see we will need to add more. I read about heaters (not heat lamps though) that are supposed to be safe to use in coops and barns, that will automatically turn off if knocked over, but not sure if that's the way to go.

I can't believe they don't mind the snow! My flock of 6 is about 7 weeks old and will hopefully be going out next week- if we can finish the coop and run that fast. I can't wait to see them enjoying the outdoors!
PS- what do you use to deworm them? Do you treat them all every year?
Interesting about the heater! I honestly haven't found that I have needed additional heat, but if it truly is safe it might be nice to have. The one thing to keep in mind if using a heater is what to do if you lose electricity and the birds are dependent on the heat. If you have a generator it's no problem, obviously!

I have to treat my birds 2x/year (fall and spring) for worms, because they always get them. (I learned the hard way and lost three birds before I figured out what I was doing wrong!) However, some people never have a problem with worms... all depends on your environment. The easiest way to check is to just take a fecal sample to a vet. They'll tell you exactly what your hen has and what medication will fix it. (My girls get roundworms and I treat with Valbazen.) Evidence of worms is if the chickens start losing weight, act sluggish, have dirty behinds, lose color in their combs, etc.
We are fortunate to have an avian vet nearby, so I can have a fecal sample checked.
Good point about the generator, at least we have some time to decide what to do before the snow flies.
I'm in Massachusetts and I can say definitively that there are 4 things that I would never do without and that let me get through all the 4 seasons.

#1. A covered run. Keeps out the rain and snow and provides shade in the heat of summer.
#2. Plenty of ventilation options. Vents at the eaves, three windows (one low, one mid and one high) on different walls allow me to regulate temp and air flow through the coop.
#3. A nipple waterer (with heater) that eliminates lugging a bucket through the snow and prevents dirty water and limits evaporation in summer so the birds always have access to clean water.
#4. Clear tarps to wrap the run in winter so the birds have space and year round access to the outside with litter to scratch through for mental and physical health.

With these things I don't need insulation, fans, or heaters and my birds do great in all seasons.
I never thought of tarps around the run in winter- it's a good idea and easy enough to do. I haven't seen a nipple waterer with a heating option at my local TSS, will have to search for this online.
Great synopsis @TalkALittle !!
Heated nipple waterer also prevents evaporation and raised humidity in coop in winter.

Don't think you'll find a commercial heater nipple waterer.
This what I made, it works fantastic..makes winter chickeneering SO much easier!

Most my birds don't like the snow much, very few will walk on it if it's even 1/8" deep.
I shovel part of run(no solid roof) and throw some straw down if it gets slippery.
I do have a space under the coop that stays snow free with some wind blocking.
Wow I'm impressed with that waterer! I'm glad it has step by step directions along with pictures. Very cool, thanks for passing that along, think it's a great idea.

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