Can we talk about snow?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by janetcost, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. janetcost

    janetcost Hatching

    Aug 31, 2007
    We have decided to get 2 or 3 chickens is a small, suburban, NJ backyard for a few eggs and fun.

    We are really concerned about what style of coop will fit the bill. We looked at Eglu, but aren't convinced it is a good choice.

    What happens when it snows - it can get deep once or twice a winter. Do we shovel out the run? Do we have to cover everything? Does everyone use electric in their coops?

    Any and all help is appreciated, Janet
  2. Heidi

    Heidi Songster

    Mar 18, 2007
    Northwest Michigan
    Well it will be my first winter as well. The coop is going to be insulated this weekend. I have an electrician coming out next week to run electric out to the coop, but only for a light and a water warmer. I do plan on snow blowing most of their huge yard in the winter so they can get out of the coop. I've read a few threads and they mentioned their chickens go outside all winter if the snow is somewhat cleared. Good luck!
  3. DoctorGoose

    DoctorGoose Songster

    Jul 27, 2007
    We've never really had a problem when it snows--except one of our free-range chickens wouldn't walk on it! [​IMG] She spent a few days underneath a tree in our stallions' pasture because she refused to go back to her coop after it snowed.

    I don't have the Eglu, but if I did, I would just cover it with a tarp when snow or rain was expected. My chickens don't like rain either. [​IMG]

    When it gets bitterly cold here (not often) I just run an extension cord out to the coop and plug in their old heat lamp.
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    We do a combination of shoveling to free them from the coop and snow blowing to give them a cleared area where the snow isn't over their heads. [​IMG]

    I think in snowy areas, some of the Eglu owners are using a piece of carpet or a blanket over the coop portion, to keep the door opener and hatch to the eggs clear of snow or ice. They also have a full cover for the run available. Where I live, it would get buried in the winter, as we not only get snow, but a lot of drifting.

    There are other small coops available that would work for just a small number of chickens. Some have runs available and others need a run built for them. If you want to build one, there are a lot of ideas on this site. People have been really great about taking photos of their building process, to help those with less building experience. They are also really great about answering questions on how to do things.

    For a small coop and run in your situation, I would consider roofing the attached run and save myself the trouble of snow removal. You can get all kinds of different roofing materials that are easy to use.

    We have electricity wired into our coop building, but an extension cord works for a lot of people in the winter. We use a heated base for our metal waterer, but for a couple of chickens, one of those heated dog dishes works for a lot of people.
  5. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    It will be my first winter with our chickens also. Since we have more chickens, we needed a bigger coop than the egulu. Our coop is still not totally complete. [​IMG] My husband ended up insulating it but wasn't planning on it when he started out building it. It made the inside of our coop smaller than the original 10 x 8 design, just something to think about if you decide to build and insulate. He installed wire for electricity, but it's not hooked up yet. We will just run an extension cord for now. We will roof some of the run for shelter. I found this link when I was researching coops and was thinking about doing something like it for the winter. I like the way they partially enclosed some of the run with plastic, so the chickens can get out of their coop for a while. I don't know when or where I found this info, but I liked the winterizing plan, so I printed it out.
    Hope I copied the link right to show it??????????
  6. NJfarmer

    NJfarmer Songster

    Jul 28, 2007
    New Jersey and Maine
    Quote:Where at in NJ are you located?

    My run has a tarp over it to keep snow out and I wrap my run with more tarps to keep the heat in, then I add a heating light. (my run is a chain link dog kennel)
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    When it snows here... all my birds eat the snow a bit, then run to the front porch, and spend the day pooping on the walkways... then at night go back to their coop. [​IMG] You probably want to make a small covered area out the front of their coop they can walk around in. I don't run electricity out to my coop but it's only freezing for a few weeks around here. A heated water bucket would be great, but if you are only having to water 3 birds in one coop... it may just be cheaper to use a plastic bowel to dump out the ice and put more feed in. Most importantly, you want things to be draft free in the winter.
  8. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    37 F here this morning, never to soon to start thinking about winterizing the coop.
    Just remember when insulating that the fiberglass batting type can collect moisture and mildew. the foamboard type needs to be covered or they will literally eat themselves out of house and home.
    Ours also eat the snow, they love to peck it off of our boots. when it getts deeper than a few inches they like us to shovel them out an area. I started putting out sawhorses with plywood on them last winter to creat an awning and cut down on shoveling. this also doubles as a sun reflector that they perch on and soak up the sun.
    A light in the coup set on a timer is a big help, gives them a little extra warmth and helps them lay steady.
    hope some of these ideas help your girls.
  9. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    I'm sooooo glad I don't have to worry about snow or extreme cold!!! Good luck to y'all.
  10. We live outside Boston and have been grappling with the same thoughts. We just bought plans for the Playhouse Coop, and the man who created it lives in Wisconsin - all he does is staple heavy duty plastic around the sides to keep the wind off the birds, and he selects cold hardy breeds. I suspect we'll do the same.

    But - I'm no expert - we're still in the planning stage and our chicken adventure won't start unit next spring due to permitting and planning.


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