Advice for newbie on cold and closing the door...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dayna Hudgin, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Dayna Hudgin

    Dayna Hudgin New Egg

    Apr 22, 2016
    I have three hens (of unknown breeds) that I free range all day, they go into the coop (and fully enclosed run) at night. Normally, I leave the inner coop door open, and obviously, close the run door at night. The coop is only 3x2.5, with attached nesting box-3x1.5') This is my first winter, and I don't know if I should close the coop door, due to the cold. I am afraid they are too exposed to cold air if I leave the slider open. I closed it last night, there wasn't any condensation on the exterior window this morning, and the girls had actually pushed the slider open and let themselves into the run by morning. That is the perfect solution, IMHO, but I don't know if that was a freak "accident" or if they will do that each morning. (I live in TN, so our nights are only down in the mid 20-30's) I appreciate thoughts on whether to close, cover, etc. I also wondered about hanging wide plastic strips over the opening? Thanks in advance![​IMG]
  2. I lock mine into the Coop every night......Put a hook on the pop door.....Let them out in the mornings.....

  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Ventilation is very important, and 'cold' in Tennessee is normal days here in Michigan during the winter. If your run is predator proof, it's probably fine to leave the door open. I don't see any upper ventilation in your coop picture? More photos, and/or more upper vents. Mary
    1 person likes this.
  4. newhenintown

    newhenintown Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 22, 2016
    Hayden, Al
    This is my first winter with chickens also and I live in Alabama so our winters are pretty close to yours. I've been shutting my coop door every night after everyone's settled in because my chickens are only 3 months old. But this morning I did find that apparently some of them got out into the run themselves this morning. I don't worry with it too much because I know if they're cold they'll go in the coop. But I did turn the heat lamp on for them on our coldest night so far (28°) cause they are so young but should I do that or will they be fine?
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Your cold winter nights are a balmy short sleeved winter day for me where I live. At that temp, my birds would be out soaking up the sun, and having a dust bath. The bigger issue, especially with those smaller coops is too much moisture. Chickens put out an incredible amount of moisture in their respiration, not to mention their poop. DH, according to a often cited space recommendation on this site, and many county agricultural extension agencies, your coop is barely big enough for 2 hens. Crowding creates issues with moisture, puts them at more risk of disease, and issues with aggression.
    1 person likes this.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    If you're confident your run is predator proof, I'd leave that door open all the time and let them chose to go out as they will.

    My main coop is a large greenhouse. There is no door between the coop and the run, just openings on the wall. The temp in the coop is the same as outside, no matter how many birds are in there. They all do just fine. You don't need to close them up to keep them warm, you need to let them have fresh air to keep them dry and healthy. Cold and dry is fine, even down to zero degrees. Cold and damp is a recipe for sick chickens.
  7. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The directional situation of the coop is an important factor in whether to close the pop door or not. If it faces north, the direction of most cold air currents and weather in winter, then you will either need to slide the door closed or re-situate the coop so the door faces south.

    If the door faces opposite of where the worst cold weather comes from, it's fine to leave the door open as long as predators can't get in.

    I do hang plastic flaps over my pop holes. It cuts down on cold drafts and flies going in in summer. Chickens learn very quickly how to navigate them.
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Do not worry about warm, do worry about dry. That is a small coop, do not close it up, or they will be damp.

    Mrs K

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