Are my chickens going to freeze...or am I an obsessive new mother?

Young Sauterelle

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 7, 2010
19
0
22
Bull City, North Cackalacky
Hi, all,
I introduced myself in the new members' section, but what I really need right now is some advice or reassurance.

So, we just moved into our first house, which happened to come with a chicken coop and run, and couldn't wait to get a pair of hens as we've always wanted to keep chickens. However, I want to make sure I'm doing ok by these birds, so I want some advice about whether this coop situation is going to be acceptable for cold nights or whether I should build something else. Let me describe the situation a little better:

So, in addition to a run as well as property to range during the day, the coops consist of a larger structure which is really a roof hanging off of the side of the garage with chicken wire forming the other three walls; inside this fairly open structure is a "large box" (5 feet by 4 by 4) which is on stilts, accessible to the chooks by a ramp. This contains laying boxes / straw on the bottom with roosts above this. This structure has solid floor and 2 side walls, although the roof and front are chicken wire. I imagined the girls would sleep inside on the roosts, and I felt ok since this is NC (rarely gets below 32F and there are walls to keep out a draft and keep in heat. However, last night and tonight, the ladies insist upon putting themselves to bed on the roof of this structure, which makes them a lot more exposed, although there still is a roof (just many feet above.) Will they be too cold if it frosts? Should I lock them inside the smaller coop at night? Should I change the roof of the smaller coop to something solid to discourage them from sleeping up there? Or am I just a nervous nelly and the chickens know what's best?

Thanks!

YS
 

CATRAY44

Lard Cookin Chicken Woman
11 Years
Jun 4, 2008
1,405
2
186
Hillsdale County, Michigan
I also would lock them up, against predators, at night. My chickens do just fine in a coop insulated with straw bales surrounding the coop and run, with tarps for windbreaks on the N and W sides of the run. Our temps get down to -25 in winter. Mine do absolutely fine, even the Seramas. Those down feathers do the job! Yours should be just fine!
 

Young Sauterelle

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 7, 2010
19
0
22
Bull City, North Cackalacky
Thanks for your replies. I will lock them in at night tomorrow and see if I can sleep better knowing they are warm (or if I will sleep worse knowing they are hacked off at being put inside there.) I never thought having chickens would cause such worry, as I have owned dogs, cats, horses, and even ducks without these concerns. As it is now, they are fairly safe from predators (or at least they aren't much less safe than being locked in) as the larger structure surrounding the coop is built like a bunker.

YS
 

KKatknap

Songster
10 Years
Nov 15, 2009
811
7
136
Albany, OR
I don't want to add to your worries, but raccoons can get through chicken wire. You might want to add some electric fencing around your coop at some point. That will keep stray dogs, raccoons, and other nasties away. Another option is to run some horse fencing (or no-climb field fencing) around the enclosure to reinforce the chicken wire. I am still fond of hot wire, though.

PS
welcome-byc.gif
 

Young Sauterelle

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 7, 2010
19
0
22
Bull City, North Cackalacky
Thanks for the reply. Even before reading it, the worrying mother in me caused me to go out to shovel them in the coop and lock the doors. Aside from a clucking reproach from Aunt Bee, all is well. I imagine I will be forgiven when I set let them out tomorrow bright and early. I also forgot to mention that the entire thing is enclosed in a lot with 6' chain link where the old owner's let their dog run. This is where I'll let them range once the new grass gets a better footing. Still doesn't mean that a crafty raccoon couldn't work his way in, I guess. I will investigate hot wire options.

YS
 
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