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chicken questions??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sandyj, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. sandyj

    sandyj Songster

    Dec 3, 2008
    St.Paul, Minnesota
    I am planning to get chicks for the 1st time this spring. I live in St. Paul, MN and it can get very cold here for a couple of months in winter.( Like zero with very low windchills of minus 25). I am trying to figure out a good type of chicken coop. I've read so many different things like: you don't need any kind of heat source, you can have open sided coops, the coop should be sealed and not drafty but have good ventilation, etc. How can you have a non-drafty house but have ventilation too??? Dosen't make sense to me. There are so many different thoughts and ideas, I don't know what to do! Also, I can only have 4 chickens in the city limits. Will this be enough to keep each other warm? I want them healthy, happy, comfortable, and would like eggs. What should I do? Any suggestions?
    Another question I have. Has anyone had chickens and a rabbit housed together? I'm thinking, one house, more room for the animals.
    Any thoughts???
    Sandy J.
  2. Teresaann24

    Teresaann24 Songster

    Jul 29, 2008
    Eastern, Kentucky
    I'v never had rabbits but a wild rabbit dug under my coop and into the chicken coop and is still living there with her 3 babies and has yet to bother my chickens. Thats all the info on that i can give..LOL
  3. L*A*G*

    L*A*G* Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    planet chicken
    That is some good ?s. If U can only get 4 chickens all U need is a little wooden box just tall enough 4 the chickens 2 roost. Which is about 4 ft tall; 5 1/2 ft long and a plenty wide. When it gets to cold U will need a heat light 4 shere. Yes, rabbits and chickens get along if the chicks R around them a lot. Mine did. U will need to have a opening in the chicken coop the best way is to leave a open spot at the top corner cover and nail it with chicken wire then cover the wire with clear plastic ( may use trash bags). 4 chickens will be enough to keep warm. U will also need cracked oyster shell 4 their vitamons ect. U will find that @ the feed store.
    ENJOY, Larra:thumbsup
  4. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing

    4 chickies should be able to keep each other warm, especially if you are waiting till spring. It does not get that cold where I live.
  5. skeeter

    skeeter Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    the house YOU live im sure isnt drafty but it still has some ventalation
  6. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I house 9 bantams outside in a 4 ft by 6 ft coop with a heat lamp and we recently insulated the whole coop rather then just the walls like it was last year, their run is attatched to the coop and is just a 6ft wide by 12 ft long dog kennel (the winter run) we cover the run with tarps and put straw down about 4 to 6 inches deep. The run is NOT heated and the coop stays above freezing with the heat lamp in it. The chickens still want to go outside to free range even tho its colder than a well diggers behind. You should be just fine with just a small set up like mine, it was really cheap to build (less than $100) we used an old particle board desk and converted it into nesting boxes for inside the coop. Its amazing what one can build when reusing scraps. The downside to our coop is there are no windows which will change in the spring when we build a new 10 by 12 shed. Being across the street from a lake it makes temps a bit colder than in the city but mine do just fine. Good luck with your chickens [​IMG]
  7. jossanne

    jossanne Songster

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    We only have one rabbit, a male, and we occasionally put him in the hen house for a run around. Only problem is that he digs, and we don't want him digging too much around the edges from the inside, making it easier for a predator to dig into from the outside.

    We have tried to house a chicken in the rabbit hutch. It worked okay, except the poor chicken was totally harassed. The rabbit had a crush on her...
  8. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess 10 Years

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    I have 4 LARGE orpingtons in a small 4x8 fenced run with a little hutch that is 3 wide x 4 long x 3 tall and they are very happy. The little hutch is just large enough for them to go in and roost comfortably and warm, does not use much space and It's all rigged in the form of a "tractor" so it's mobile. This would be perfect for your birds.
    This pic was made before it was completely finished obviously but you get the idea. The lift up door on the side allows me to get eggs as well as clean the inside of the coop. Works great! It has another door to enter the wire run if need be. My birds are quite substantial so you should be fine with 4 laying hens in this size coop.
  9. sandyj

    sandyj Songster

    Dec 3, 2008
    St.Paul, Minnesota
    So do you think a heat lamp is enough to keep the chickens warm in below zero weather, plus even lower windchills? What size bulb would I use? I'm soo excited about getting chickens this spring! It seems like a lifetime away. Especially because our winters are so long and cold. We will be getting our chickens from a grade school who hatches them in the spring for their science project. Thanks for some of the answers to my other questions. I have alot to learn!
    Sandy - Minnesota
  10. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Windchill isn't a huge factor so long as there isn't a draft in the coop.

    My birds go out in the frost and snow and freezing rain at ... what are they? Seven weeks? Yes, that's it, they'll be two months on the 15th. Well, the babies are six weeks. The four week olds only tend to go out when it's warmed up and around 40. And the four month old pullets don't care what the weather is like, they want outside.

    Since I have multiple ages I have a brooder area with a light and a kennel heating pad just sitting on the floor for the tinies if they get cold. I still sometimes find older chicks sitting on the kennel pad now and then with the same look people get in a sauna. Oh oooo, oh that's goooooooddddd.

    If I only had older chicks I probably wouldn't have put the kennel pad out there but they love it.

    Air exchange aka ventilation is not the same as drafts. There's a very good thread on ventilation under the coop heading, try a search.

    I insulated the roof, because our heat is generally nastier than our cold. I sealed and insulated the cinderblock foundation because dampness is the enemy and conducts cold.

    Chickens produce a LOT of moisture that needs to get vented or they'll develop lung issues.

    It's actually better if they get used to colder temps with good ventilation than sealing them up tight.

    I have one wall covered with plexi glass for the winter that removes for the summer. Making that south facing side totally open when it would otherwise be wayyyy too hot in there.

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