Advice for chicken coop and cold weather

Drema1991

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2020
20
16
41
Hello this is my first year owning chickens I have 3 red sex links that are about 6 months old give or take and i got 6 road island red that are around 2 months (not sure on their age tho) I'm in Kentucky and its getting really cold out I have 2 different coops the chicken are in I dont let the babies out the coop to roam since it's so cold out the bigger ones are let out thru the day I know chickens dont mind the cold much but I want to make sure I'm doing what I need to be doing so I add extra hay to the coops but they are kinda small and not giving the older chickens much room to move and I cant put their food and water in the box cause of the hay. Is their anything opinion i could do?also is their a water heater thing I could buy to help their water not freeze? With the baby chicken I had them in the coop but brought them back in tonight since it's really cold and I dont think I'm keeping them warm enough I'm doing the same thing with their coop as I'm doing with the older chickens
I know that was alot to read and any advice will be greatly appreciated the wood and black coop is have the 3 older chicken in it and the white one has the babies
Also I know their is article out about this and I've read so many of them and they all say something different
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deidreg

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 6, 2020
732
2,820
256
Connecticut
A few simple answers:
If your chicks are fully feathered, they'll be fine outside.
Check Premier1 website. Plenty of heated waterer options.
The coops you have are very small. There should be at least 4 square feet per bird.

Share pictures! :jumpy
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,660
282,579
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NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
You need to be thinking DRY not warm. Chickens can easily keep themselves warm as long as the air is not moist in the coop and there are no direct drafts blowing their feathers open.

Those tiny prefab coops are way too small to house more than a bird or two. Chickens need a lot of fresh air as well so cooping them up in those coops without fresh air even when the temps are above freezing is not a good solution.

Your 2 month old pullets are fully feathered and will be find outside.

You truly need a larger coop with an awful lot more ventilation for the birds to remain healthy year round. Do you have an old shed or some other structure you could convert into a new coop?
 

Drema1991

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2020
20
16
41
Ty for your response I don't have an old shed but I think I could find one I didn't know those were too small on the box it said one was good for 6 chickens and the other 8 so I will get that fixed. Now that I know the baby chicken will be fine I'll start letting them out. These chicken kinda got dropped on me by people and I really am just winging it and doing alot of reading up on them. They ain't hard to take care of just figuring out what they need is the hard part
 

Drema1991

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2020
20
16
41
A few simple answers:
If your chicks are fully feathered, they'll be fine outside.
Check Premier1 website. Plenty of heated waterer options.
The coops you have are very small. There should be at least 4 square feet per bird.

Share pictures! :jumpy
Thanks for the answers
 

jreardon1918

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
879
1,600
286
Southeast, MA
My Coop
My Coop
For the food and water, you can leave that in the runs. That will give a bit more room in the coops. By any chance do you have access to a large dog kennel? One like this or even better roofed would allow a little more room to spread their wings while considering a larger coop. Depending on the size of the kennel you could place one or both of the existing coops inside.

This suggestion is not ideal, but moves in a better direction.
 

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theoldchick

The Chicken Whisperer
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 11, 2010
32,410
20,677
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The most important thing for my coops is to be predator proof, dry and well ventilated. Get the biggest and the best you can afford. I went into my coop the other night and though it was 19 degrees those gals were warm. They roost on a one by four board and all their feet were warm. Now if I have chicks and the weather is being squirrelly I'll set up a nylon puppy pen in the garage and under that is a blanket covered with a tarp. In the puppy pen will be a thick layer of pine shavings or shredded paper sometimes both. If needed I will use a heat lamp at the appropriate height to keep them warm. Healthy adult chickens can tolerate low temps. Know your flock and respond accordingly. Inspect your birds on a daily basis-I go in the coop at night and gently touch a few of the girls to make sure they are in good body condition, crops are full, and a general inspection to make sure all is doing well.
 

TooCheep

Crowing
Feb 23, 2019
841
5,770
294
Indiana
Ty for your response I don't have an old shed but I think I could find one I didn't know those were too small on the box it said one was good for 6 chickens and the other 8 so I will get that fixed. Now that I know the baby chicken will be fine I'll start letting them out. These chicken kinda got dropped on me by people and I really am just winging it and doing alot of reading up on them. They ain't hard to take care of just figuring out what they need is the hard part
Unfortunately, pre-fab coop makers *always lie* about the capacity for their products. They are using factory farming numbers for capacity, which is nothing like what backyard/humane chicken owners would ever want to use. It is a universal constant.

Typical minimum numbers quoted here (which I use) are 4sqft in the main coop, 10sqft in the run and 1ft roost per full-sized chicken.

As noted above, pay more attention to keeping them dry and avoiding direct drafts (blowing on them) than insulated/warm. Kentucky is far enough south that any standard breed will be fine in the winter under those conditions. You still want *a lot* of ventilation, just not in locations that will blow directly on them. If you see condensation on the walls from their breath overnight, you don't have enough ventilation.

There are a lot of commercial water de-icer solutions available. Virtually all are electrical though, so it is helpful if you have power available to the coop. Make sure it has a built-in thermostat that keeps the water a little above freezing, but doesn't stay on all the time to save energy.

I see you put your location in your original post, but it is generally helpful to put your general location in your account details page. For questions like this, location can make a big difference in the answers.
 

AntiqueB

Crowing
Aug 27, 2020
1,256
4,322
496
Bergen County, NJ
I live in NJ. I have two 4 month old pullets in a prefab. I added two vents near the top on each side of the coop. Thankfully, they can go into the yard during the day so they aren't cooped up on the tiny run. During warm weather, I leave the window open, but close it when it's windy or damp. There are caulkings and sealants all over to keep out big drafts and water from rain or melting snow.
On particularly cold, damp, and windy nights, I add a Cozy Coop heater, which does work to bring the humidity level down. It can be 90% outside, but only 50% inside the coop. With that, it stays dry, and the birds can (and do!) move away from the heater.
I clean poop out every day, and make sure there's a thick layer of pine shavings, along with a sprinkling of PDZ and lime when needed.
My coop is around 29" x 34". I will be adding 2 more birds in spring. Although I expect the humidity dynamics to change, I think it will be doable, but only because they are out of the coop and run from about an hour after sunup until they go to roost at night.
I have an electric dog bowl for water in freezing temps.
 

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Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,281
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Belding, MI
Thank you for taking thoughtful care of birds that "got dumped on" you. :hugs

If you have questions, go ahead and ask! We were all new to chickening at one time, so we all had the "beginner" questions, and someone helped us. There are a lot of very experienced and knowledgeable people here, so someone will probably have an answer.

And, welcome!
 

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