advice for the winter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DrCB, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. DrCB

    DrCB Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2015
    I am new to this, so please share with me your advice & opinions on what I am planning.

    I bought a 10x17 portable garage from Harbor Freight (a covering over an assembled frame). The covering is translucent and the front has a zippered opening. What I am considering is to move my coop, and the 8 foot run that connects with it, into this tent. If necessary I can always hang a light inside and/or heat lamp in a safe manner. The front door can be zipped open in the daytime to admit some sunlight and fresh air. The structure has vents to allow the release of foul air. Egg laying boxes will be added, although I haven't figured out their placement yet. The hens could be allowed to go outside the run with the garage zipped shut to ensure their do not escape. (I only have 3 hens)

    Presently my coop & run is on the outside, which I cover with a tarp during rainy weather, but with winter approaching I wonder if the garage would be a better situation for the hens.

    Please send me any comments, suggestions, criticisms, or advice.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. EastmanEggs

    EastmanEggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    What is the cost of the "portable garage" ?

    Consider snow load on fabric/tarp material.

    Consider local building codes.

    Consider potential damage to structure and/or its depreciation.

    Consider UV rot.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
  3. DrCB

    DrCB Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2015
    portable garage - $179.00 (already bought and erected)

    snow - roof sloped sharply to not allow snow buildup/ we do not get much snow - if any

    building codes - do not apply to us

    UV damage, misc. damage - my question is about its use for this winter as a good environment
  4. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    You say no snow, so your winters must not be too harsh. I would leave the front open 24/7.
    If you decide to leave them out of the run, is the "garage" predator proof? Where do they lay now?
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop

    I suppose you could do that, although I don't see the need for it. You said you don't get much snow, which says you are in a milder winter climate. I have mine in an uninsulated and unheated coop, with a plastic covered run and a pop door open 24/7 so they can get out every day and exercise, and have no issues whatsoever. I'm in northern Wyoming.

    I would wonder if, by the end of the season, you would have problems from reducing the air exchange by totally encasing your setup. Photos would sure help us better help you.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Yes, an idea of your climate would really help. What we perceive as cold is really not for chickens. I’d be interested in your worst possible conditions, not normal or average. Normal or average is not when you are going to run into trouble.

    What are you trying to achieve with that garage/tent? We automatically assume you are concerned with cold but you might be after something else.

    I assume it is similar to this one?

    My main concerns are:

    You will have to anchor it down well. It could easily blow away.

    Not sure how well it will stand up to wind. The frame might collapse.

    How well is it vented? I could see it holding moisture which is not what you want. Moisture and cold weather are a dangerous combination for chickens. Chickens can handle cold weather really well, but if moisture is added to the mix and it is below freezing, frostbite becomes a danger. Some reviews mentioned condensation inside.

    Not sure how tough that cover is. It probably will not stop many predators with claws or sharp teeth. The sides do not appear to be anchored down at all. A predator could just push its way under the sides.

    How easily can you get in or out without letting the chickens out? Your convenience is important too.

    If you are after protection from cold, I’m not real impressed with that. But if you are after something else, maybe.
  7. DrCB

    DrCB Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2015
    The link that was posted showing the Harbor Freight portable garage is the exact one! It has now been up through several thunder storms with high winds and is holding strong. I anchored the sides & back with logs and the front is staked down.

    I am able to close the door to the coop to keep out any predators. When they are let out they can at present only enter the run, which is also wired off from predators. I am only considering letting them out into the garage some during the day, but this would not be necessary since they have the 8-ft run.

    The coop & run has been in use since I got the hens as pullets - my original posting was asking about thoughts of moving the entire coop & run into the garage. No, we do not have harsh winters and usually get just a dusting of snow for a day or two - if that much. But in the garage would be great protection from rain & wind. Daily opening the front door would provide fresh air.

    Thanks for helping me think all this through.
    More questions & suggestions?

  8. EastmanEggs

    EastmanEggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    If your goal is to keep the hens out of the wind & weather, use the garage for just that.

    My opinion, since you asked, would be to put the garage over the coop - but do not change anything with the coop.

    If your climate is getting colder, and you're expecting your hens to need weathering over- remember predators are looking for food & shelter too, maybe more adamantly since its cold.

    Don't sacrifice your coops security to a thin walled vinyl "tarp on sticks" even if it gives them more space. Let it serve its purpose- wind and weather, nothing more.

    Also, a few construction blocks or (as you mentioned) heavy logs would be very cheap to weigh it down. $6 for 6 50# bricks is better than a day midwinter trying to rebuild the kite that fkew away.

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