Chicken run in winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AnimalsComeFirst, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. AnimalsComeFirst

    AnimalsComeFirst Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,885
    74
    173
    Jun 6, 2011
    Hugging a Chicken
    Does a chicken pen/run need to be covered with plastic to protect them from snow? Can they get sick if their pen is too cold?
     
  2. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mine aren't covered...but I am planning to cover the sides with plastic this year to help keep the wind out of the coop.

    In general, as long as they are dry and out of the wind, they'll be fine. It's when they walk around in the wet snow and go into a damp (and/or drafty) coop that they will lose their toes, combs or feet to frostbite. [​IMG]
     
  3. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    Our coop has a little covered porch area. The rest of the run is open. No way could we build a roof to protect it all from snow, as we get tonnes. The chickens are confined to the porch area during winter.
     
  4. lichick28

    lichick28 Chillin' With My Peeps

    536
    1
    131
    Dec 31, 2008
    LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
    I cover the top and one sides of the run with 3mm of clear plastic that is sold by the yard in walmart & fabric stores. I leave one side open for ventilation. Its a little pricey but I like the totally clear and not the milky kind that you get from home depot or lowes
     
  5. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    8,697
    230
    316
    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    My run does have a roof, but I like to put tarps around it for winter, because it keeps the wind and snow from blowing in. If your chickens have big combs, it's a good idea to put a coating of vasceline on them to keep them from getting frostbite.

    Also, another thing that helps is making your roosts from a 2x4, broad side up. That way, when they roost, they sit on their feed, warming their toes.

    Hope these tips help!
    Sharon
     
  6. AnimalsComeFirst

    AnimalsComeFirst Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,885
    74
    173
    Jun 6, 2011
    Hugging a Chicken
    We have a coop that is NOT attached to a run, we have to let them out manually and then herd them into a low-to-the-ground pen. We have a dog crate with no door, so it is drafty, but we fill it with shavings. The dog crate is attached to the pen so that they can go in for shelter if we aren't home and it rains. Its temporary, we are trying to buy a new set-up, but its very expensive.

    I'll probably try to cover some of the pen with tarps for a little protection.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    If trodding in the wet and snow and then returning to the coop causes frostbit toes and other body parts, how then do you explain free range chickens and their lack thereof?

    Chicken's feet are well protected against cold and wet, as are their combs and wattles~they are built for outdoor living. As long as they have a dry place to sleep at night that isn't too windy, they do not normally have frost bite merely from cold and wet weather outside the coop.

    Deep litter is a nice way to keep chicken feet dry and providing deep sand in an enclosed run can help the moisture be wicked away to the bottom of the sand. I believe the rain and snow are a good way to cleanse exposed runs if one has a sand base...sort of lets the foul of the run sink into and be filtered by the sand and soil. If my birds were contained to a run, I'd provide good wind blockage but I'd leave that snow right where it belongs.
     
  8. AnimalsComeFirst

    AnimalsComeFirst Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,885
    74
    173
    Jun 6, 2011
    Hugging a Chicken
    The first 3 pictures of are my chickens pen/run. I let them freerange by leaving the door open for them.
    As you can see, the dog crate has wire on the side, which is why I have it covered with a tarp.
    The run is covered with a net to protect against predators. I use clips to hold it up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Off topic, this is my coop, as you can see, there are a lot of cracks and hole. I stuffed the hole in the back with bubblewrap to get rid of big drafts. Will they be okay in the winter, or will those drafts from the cracks be too cold for them?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  9. AnimalsComeFirst

    AnimalsComeFirst Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,885
    74
    173
    Jun 6, 2011
    Hugging a Chicken
    Any advice?
     
  10. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

    481
    13
    121
    Sep 27, 2011
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    My friends up here who have birds say they don't go out much when the snow gets deep. Here it gets deep (if you're only as tall as a chicken) for 6 months out of the year, so I'm going to build a roof over part of the run, so they have someplace to move around easily outside of the coop. They'll also have room to move out into the snow if they really want to. I'll find out whether they're wimpy chickens or brave snow loving chickens!

    Don't use plastic to protect from snow, it will sag and tear and overload far too easily. You don't want a plastic tarp loaded with snow crashing down on your chickens.

    Or just go out with a shovel when it snows, and shovel the run when you shovel the driveway?

    Although with your set up it looks like you could maybe through a tarp over the tree, and the tree could provide some run room, if that wouldn't hurt the tree. You'd have to move the feed and water to the sheltered area. Or set the kennel up on a couple feet of blocks inside the enclosure so they've got dry ground underneath it as well. Then build a little ramp if they need it.

    You could get real creative here!

    There's got to be building projects going on around town where you could get permission to salvage some building supplies and make yourself a nice chicken sized pole shed, too.

    Disclaimer....some of these ideas might be really bad, I'm only on my first cup of coffee....
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by