advice needed for winter run ideas in the snow!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jjakaus, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. jjakaus

    jjakaus Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2011
    wyandotte, mi
    This will be my first winter with my girls! I have 4. They have a coop about 8x2 and constant access to their run. Unfortunately, I live in a city and they cannot free range. Their enclosed run (no roof right now) is about 8x10. They ate all the grass months ago of course and it is dirt. I read another poster mentioned putting pine needles done. the next day my neighbor raked a huge pile into the street and Viola! I have needles!! I am looking for a cheap way to insulate a little and keep the floor from just being a huge ice block. Of course, giving them something to scratch around in is a great bonus. I was thinking about getting some more needles and leaves that are falling and doing several inches in the run, kind of deep litter method with leaves and pine needles.

    Here are my questions/concern. It will probably snow. Am I asking for just a gross, sloppy mess? This is obviously kind of a one time shot, since the leaves and needles will be gone shortly, so I can't really refresh over the winter. Hoping this will make it til Springish. Sand is not financially an option for me. I have pine shavings in the coop itself. So far, the chickens are really enjoying playing in the needles when I throw scratch down in the mornings. I think it keeps them from being too bored! I just don't want to find I have made things really bad for myself and have to be out there in freezing cold temps TRYING to scoop it out!

    Thanks for any advice!!
    Janice[​IMG]
     
  2. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Massachusetts
    Cover the run with clear shower curtains and add all the litter/pine needles put as much as you can in trash bags and maybe store them for later in the winter. Leave some space around the top of the run for air to circulate.
     
  3. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm another shower curtain user. So far, I am TOTALLY impressed with how they are working. Use 5 mm curtain, not 2.5 mm - they are heavier and have metal eyes on them that hold up better if they are threaded to the fence.

    I wouldn't worry about insulation in the run if you cover it with shower curtains. When the sun is out, it will heat up the run like a greenhouse, but hopefully without the humidity. The run will cool down at night, but it doesn't really matter as the chickens won't be out in it then.

    My run is staying warm enough in the sun that my week old chicks are out of the 80* heat-lamp warmed coop and running around without acting chilled at all. Air temp outside today is about 50*, and I would estimate it is close to 75* in the run. Or warmer.

    No, I don't heat my coop in the winter. I have a heat lamp in there right now for the chicks and mama hen, but once they are feathered out, I will wean them off the light. The chicks hatched on the 16th/17th, so they are just over a week old now.

    [​IMG]
    Hard to see in the picture, but the lower 6' of the run is covered with clear shower curtains. The upper 12" is open, including under the eaves.
     
  4. jjakaus

    jjakaus Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2011
    wyandotte, mi
    You cover the top of the run with shower curtains? How does that hold up with several inches of snow? My run is surrounded with privacy fence and the coop is safe from breezes.
     
  5. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Massachusetts
    You will probably have to brush the snow off after a storm, kinda a pain to do but it beats a collapsed run.
     
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: I suspect they mean the sides, since any substantial snowfall would be a disaster if they were used as a roof
     
  7. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, the shower curtains go on the vertical sides of the run. I suppose you could put them on the top of a small/narrow run, as long as you swept off snow as it accumulated.

    If your run is surrounded by privacy fence, then I wouldn't do much of anything to it to winterize it. It sounds like you already have an awesome windbreak in the form of privacy fence. The shower curtain idea is to give those of use with "open" sides made of wire fence a windbreak that doesn't block light.

    I definitely wouldn't put down any hay or straw in your run, as the precipitation and poop over the winter will make it a nasty smelly mess. It will be a nightmare to clean up.
     

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