Can I leave the pop door open during the winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Shasty57, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Shasty57

    Shasty57 Out Of The Brooder

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    Can I leave the pop door open during the winter? I have a double walled chicken house (6 x 8 ft) with a pop door to allow my ladies and gentleman access to their enclosed chick run (10 x10 ft heavy duty dog covered dog kennel). They also have a 50 x 50 ft chicken yard to play in during the day. My question is, can I leave the pop door open this winter or do I need to build a wind block or something around it on the outside. I have screened windows which I have left open all summer until it got down to 30 degrees at night. (28 last night!) I have 11 young hens 19 to 28 weeks and one 20 week old rooster. When people talk about ventilation, how much are they talking about? I also have 2 small barn windows that I could open. I am just not sure about these things so please give me some help. I also bought a heating pad for under my waterer. Can I leave it outside all winter? As you can see, lol, I have lots of questions! Thanks in advance for your help. :)
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: 1 SQ FT per bird is a good estimate
    I'd leave the door open all the time as long as there's not a blizzard going on
     
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    If predators are not an issue I can not see the harm in trying leaving the pop door open.

    You will soon learn after one or two storms whether a wind break is necessary.

    I think you may run into problems with your heating pad outside especially if it protected by a GFCI plug.

    Ventilation varies from one coop to another and from one day to the next. You will just have to monitor you coop and make adjustments accordingly.


    When I was going through a cold snap last winter -40º I kept all my ventilation windows closed until the temperature began to hit near 0º or 32º(depending on what scale).

    My Coop is a salvaged 4x8 metal shed here are a few insighs and a quick look at my set up.
    My floor are planks with a layer of tin for rodent proofing. On top of the tin I have a piece of vinyl flooring cut one foot longer than the length and width of my coop (roughly). Six inches squares are cut out of the 4 corners of the vinyl flooring. This allows the friction fitted flooring to travel up the walls six inches around the perimeter of my 4x8 salvaged metal coop. Shovel out the heavy stuff into a wheel barrow. Pop out the vinyl flooring hose it off pop it back in.
    Easy Peasy!

    I have been around the sun 63 times.

    It is not my first "Rodeo!"

    Nobody "I know" heats a chicken coop.

    Healthy "cold hearty" chickens die from heat not cold.

    I live in Canada last year was subject to -40º (C or F take your pick) no light or heat in coop NO PROBLEMS. You have to feed heavier during cold snaps with extra corn I find.

    Chickens have been raised on this continent for over a hundred years without heat.

    If you feel you must supply heat to your chickens I suggest keeping your chickens in the house that way you can huddle with your birds when the hydro goes out.

    Chickens will die from cold if not given the chance to acclimatize. Hydro is more apt to go out in an ice storm or blizzard when subject to below 0º temperatures in my opinion.

    How would you supply heat then to your un-acclimatized birds ???

    Diary of last winter cold snap check out the link:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/738994/chickens-arctic-conditions-prolonged-period

    Watering
    For along time I used heater tape around a bucket with chicken watering nipples. It worked excellent. However me being me I neglected to change the water as often as I should.

    Last year I switched to white rubber contains the wife found somewhere. The freeze solid every night but the ice just pops out of them in the morning and I replenish them with fresh warm water. They have black ones at the feed store that are similar but large than mine.

    The chickens congregate around them like people having their morning coffee. The only draw back is my yard is pepper with small ice bergs the size of the buckets.

    April looks after that however..

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    I have used all types of litter for coops.

    I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

    Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. (I tried wood pellets as a last resort when pine shavings were not available.) They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets .

    Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.


    Works for me in my deep litter method.

    I do add to pellets from time to time.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

    Through the winter months the pellets froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

    POOP BOARDS are the "BEST" addition yet. Handles well over ½ of the poop in my set up keeps ammonia smell in check 3½" below roost excellent for catching eggs laid through the night (roost are in cups for easier removal and cleaning). I recently friction fit a piece of vinyl flooring over my poop board.it makes clean up even easier; Pop out; Scrap; Hose; Pop in.

    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

    Easy peasy!.

    Chicken coop is salvaged 4x8 metal shed.

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    I house an assortment of birds in this baby barn (¼ inch veneer plywood between birds and elements) no heat no light no problems.
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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  4. Shasty57

    Shasty57 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2013
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    Thanks for the advice and sharing your knowledge! Predators are not a problem as I have a 10x10 ft enclosed dog kennel that my pop door opens into. I lock them every night in the chick kennel and they can go in and out of their house. I check daily for any digging and we have boards all around the inside of the kennel also. Eventually I will put the heavy wire in the ground around the kennel but not this year. My water is an electric heat base from the local Bomgaars that my double wall waterer sits on.

    1 SQ FT per bird is a good estimate- I don't understand what you mean?

    Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!
     
  5. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:
    If you have a window that is 2ft x 2ft that will provide 4sq ft of ventilation so if that was your only vents then it would be enough for 4 birds to be comfortable and vented well enough. Of course there are other factors that come into play as well. I have poop boards so every couple days I'm cleaning them and removing a lot of moist materiel from the coop so this probably reduces the vent requirements a little. My deep litter is bone dry, maybe too dry as I"ve heard it will just break down into dust if it's too dry.

    I also have a secure run area so I have been leaving the door open 24/7 so they can come and go as they please. I am thinking I will close for really nasty weather this winter but most times it will remain open. Since I do leave the door open all the time I have no water in the coop, which again reduces the venting needs somewhat. If I do close it for storms then I'll add a waterer to the coop for the duration of the door being closed.

    I think something on the outside of run would be better to stop diggers than the boards you have on the inside. I have an apron of chainlink fencing that is secured to the kennel panels at their bottom edge. If something starts to dig it will hit the fencing right away and have to stop digging. If my wire was on the inside of the run then I assume that a digger would just keep digging till they reach freedom on the inside. Think of digging a burrow, an animal will not dig into a rock for a burrow. But if they started digging a burrow and hit a rock they will probably just dig deeper or to the side of the rock since they have already dug into the ground.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  6. Shhirl

    Shhirl Out Of The Brooder

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    OK, I'm confused. I just got 10 chickens last week. I live in northeast Wisconsin, where it's still really cold. How does one go about leaving a pop door open so the girls can go outside yet avoid drafts in the coop?
     
  7. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You only need to avoid drafts when they are sleeping, leave the door open during the day so they can come and go as they please, with the snow you might want to consider putting a roof on the kennel to keep the snow out and wrap the sides of the kennel with tarps or something to keep the snow and wind out,I use clear shower curtains lets the sunshine in and acts like a greenhouse.
     
  8. Shhirl

    Shhirl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2012
    Neenah, WI
    Great!. Thank you so much. That really clears the draft issue up for me.
     

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