Big storm coming, Help me to see if I'm missing any Winterization steps for the coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by grnidone, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. grnidone

    grnidone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've had some really mild weather here in Kansas, so I haven't had to REALLY winterize until now. We have a big storm coming this evening and tomorrow, and, given this is my first storm with chickens, I need you to tell me if I am missing anything.

    Temperatures aren't that bad here (this storm will bring everything down to teens and twenties), but what DOES get you is the wind. The temp may register 20 degrees, but the windchill can be -30 or -40. The wind normally blows 20 mph here on a normal day. Forecast says winds will be around 40 mph. (Normal for a storm here.)

    My chicken coop is on 2 foot "stilts" and the way the girls get to the outdoors is through a hole in the floor directly under the perch. (The thinking was that they'd poop on the ground.)

    I'm hoping this floor hole will be enough ventilation and not too much. Please advise...

    1. Sealed up drafts.

    1b. Put styrofoam in windows where hens cannot reach to peck.

    2. Put a fleece on the perch so they can warm their feet. Yes. I know this is superfluous. But they are my babies.

    3. Put chicken tractor on the east side of building to block west wind.

    4. Put styrofoam on outside of coop on north side under coop to block wind when they jump out of the coop for a drink or eating something or whatever. This is on the outside of the fence so they can't peck it. So NORTH and WEST sides are blocked from wind.

    5. Waterer plugged into a thermo block that will go on when temp is below freezing to keep water liquid.

    6. Smear chickens exposed skin with vaseline: feet, legs, waddles, combs and earlobes.

    7. Heat lamp plugged into thermo cube and away from feathers. This is not ideal, I know, but my radiant heat thing hasn't come in from Amazon. It will go on only when it is below 32 and turn off at 42.

    8. Remove Rooster collar so there is no exposed skin on his neck. The neighbors can deal for a few days until this storm is over.

    9. NO IDEA if I put a board on the floor to cover entrance/ exit hole during the worst part of storm This would completely close chickens into coop without food or water but would protect them from elements.


    What am I missing?

    Pics of the coop:

    Photo 1: Hole in the bottom of the coop directly below perch where birds can get to outside.

    [​IMG]

    Picture 2: Notice Perch above Hole in floor.
    [​IMG]


    Picture 3: Notice windows on the North side. These are blocked off with styrofoam. The area between the wheels is also blocked off with styrofoam to protect birds from North winds.
    [​IMG]



    This part of the coop will be facing south. The far side of the coop will be protected on the west by a building.
    [​IMG]



    Notice small hole. This is blocked off with styrofoam and duct tape. Large door will obviously be closed and I've blocked drafts since it goes right under the perch. (The wood doesn't quite meet the top so I put styrofoam blocks to prevent draft.)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  2. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens can handle Kansas winters. Adult birds don't need heat. They have down underwear, they'll be fine. They don't need anything on the perch, and many say you don't even need insulation, tho I did insulate mine, more for the hot summers than for winter. I covered foam insulation with cardboard, and they leave it alone. There are many BYC members much further north who can attest to the cold hardiness of chickens.
    Does your door close to prevent predators? That would be my concern.
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Pics of the coop? How well ventilated is the coop? They don't need heat in the coop.
     
  4. grnidone

    grnidone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK...I have updated my post with photos...See first post above. The ventilation is from hole in the floor. Also, the roof can be raised to let air out at the top.


    Quote: We get more wind than you guys do in MO. And, it's not the winter I am concerned about, it's the storm. I know they can handle the winter...but this storm looks to be particularly cold. And I'd rather do too much than too little.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  5. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I've read here, it sounds like you have closed ALL the ventilation, except for the hole/entrance, in the floor. You will need to rethink that. THAT, will not be enough for proper ventilation and fresh air flow. Get rid of that heatlamp. If anything, don't plug that high elec draw heatlamp, into a thermo cube. Doing that, you not only have one high source/risk, of a fire, but TWO, with that foreign engineered thermo cube. Wind chill means nothing to a chicken. Besides, that's just something, that TV weathermen came up with, to make us think it's colder than it is. Don't smear any vaseline on the birds. It's just going to make them a greasy, dirty mess. If its too windy out, the birds will chose to stay in. They don't need to be blocked in, they can figure it out, if its too windy, or not.

    My birds have been through faaaar worse, than what you are describing. And that's with no heat, no insulation (Other than the perfect insulation they, themselves, already come with), and the whole front wall of the coop wide open, (except for some hardware cloth)

    I don't know how big your coop is. But, with the high winds, Worry more about it blowing away, than those average winter temps you have, freezing the chickens.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    So, what I'm seeing is that you rely on windows for ventilation, but you have now closed those up. Also, roosts are right next to the window, which means they are sitting in a draft. No ventilation above roosting level, where it's needed most. Can you raise that roof any to allow for a bit of air flow up high? And I wouldn't close up the windows completely. Leave the few inches up top to let in some air. And lower the roosts a bit, to keep the birds out of any draft. That hole in the floor looks like it's right under the roost, not good. You need ventilation, and the roost needs to be clear of the path of airflow.
     
  7. grnidone

    grnidone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Re ventilation: I can remove some of the styrofoam in the left window (which is the one away from the perch.) That way, the air flow can go into the window and, if cold air, sink down through the floor.
    Or, I can raise the roof with a block about an inch to bring air in through the top.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Do both. Open both windows a bit. The short wall window vents will pull in fresh air, the propping up roof on the tall wall will allow air moisture and ammonia laden air to exhaust. That hole in the floor needs to be closed, and they need to use the pop door instead, at least during winter. And the pop door should be closed at night.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  9. grnidone

    grnidone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The pop doors are always closed at night. I've kept the window next to the perch completely closed up. The other, I removed some styrofoam at the top (like an inch) to let in air. But there is also a cover on the outside so it isn't too drafty. It is a piece of wood to keep the rain out but "vent" to let in air.

    YES. The hole is right under the perch.

    I can cover the hole under the perch with a board and vent the roof. So the vents will be the roof all the way around, the small door next on the run side and the one window. That's got to be enough...right?

    I've got to ask the question: how do you tell if it is a draft and how do you tell if it is ventilation?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Draft = birds are in the path of the airflow. Ventilation = birds are away from the path of the airflow.
     
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