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Close Coop Door in Winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AnnieSantiago, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. AnnieSantiago

    AnnieSantiago Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 13, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    I have a question about wintering my hens.

    I live in Portland, Oregon.
    Our average temperatures between December through February are 36 to 45 degrees F.
    We do often get one good snowstorm, but the snow rarely lasts more than 3 days.

    Above are two photos.
    Photo 1 is of the tiny henhouse I started with.
    Photo 2 is of the small run I built around the tiny henhouse.
    If you look, you can see it inside photo #2.
    I have since built an 8 x 8 COVERED run attached to the smaller run, so my girls have plenty of space.
    The covered run wire is buried and there is concrete around it so a predator would REALLY have to want to get in.

    I have covered the sides of the SMALL run with heavy plastic shower curtains to block the wind and rain.
    The large run has no plastic, but it's pretty much right up against the walls of my house.

    Here is my dilemma.
    I want to go to the California desert from December 1 through March 1.
    My son and single male roommates "say" they will take care of the hens while I'm gone.
    But right now it's 8 am here and nobody in the house is awake.
    It's been light for over an hour.
    They also often get home long after dark.

    I don't want to spend the cash for an automatic door.
    I've spent enough on these girls!

    My fear is the hens will either
    a) not get let out early enough in the morning or
    b) not get their henhouse door fastened at night.

    The girls put themselves to bed, but I usually go out and close the door to the tiny henhouse.


    I have 3 hens and they generally huddle together on the roost at night.

    Do you think it's a major issue if the coop door stays open all night?
    My concern is the cold.
    Will it be too cold in there for them if their wee door isn't closed?

    Opinions?
    Suggestions?
     
  2. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    I would close the door if there is otherwise plenty of ventilation. Particularly if it would help prevent cross drafts blowing across the roosting area. But honestly, I doubt it's much of an issue in balmy Portland. And if you are gone for some period of time, I would firmly prop it open instead of depending on someone else to open and close it on schedule. Assuming, of course, that your run is as raccoon-proof as it looks.
     
  3. AnnieSantiago

    AnnieSantiago Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 13, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    As far as I know (and I admit to not knowing a lot) it is fairly raccoon proof. The wire is buried and bent forward and we've poured concrete around the base.
    I imagine if they REALLY want in, they'll get in, but we've never seen them up that close to the house.

    The roost they sit on is out of any drafts.
     
  4. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    Omak, Washington
    My Coop
    Where is their feed and water located..... Do you feed and water daily or do you have a couple weeks of feed and several days of water in the coop/run...
     
  5. AnnieSantiago

    AnnieSantiago Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 13, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    Well, their food and water HAS been in the small run and I made a couple of those pvc pipe feeders.
    But I'm thinking while I'm gone, I'll just have the boys feed them each day because I'm afraid the feed being out might attract the raccoons.

    My waterer lasts about 4 days - and will also be in the small run.
     
  6. Temp

    Temp Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2014
    It is already going below freezing here at night and I have yet to close my continuous 6" wide air vent that runs the entire length of my 9' long coop. They eat a little more and fluff up their feathers some but the don't look cold to me. I am sure I will close it down some when the real winter weather comes but for now I will leave it open to toughen them up a little. If the chicken eatin critters can't get in they will be fine.
     
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Those temps are no big deal...as long as the bigger, covered run you mentioned is predator proof, they should be fine temperature wise with the small pen and pop door left open.

    My concern would be food and water. I know you don't want to attract raccoons, but I would make sure food is available free choice through a largish gravity feed, and that multiple waterers are available, just in case. And I'd make it a point to call daily to check that they have food/water. There's nothing worse than contained animals NOT having access to food/water due to negligence. I'd rather see an animal killed by a predator than going hungry/thirsty...
     
  8. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    Omak, Washington
    My Coop
    I finally came up with a design that works.... 45 on top to allow access to the outside of the run..... On the bottom, the first elbow is a 45 closely coupled to a 90 degree elbow, then a short piece of pipe cut at a 45 for a rain shield.... that combination allows for feed to easily fill the 90 elbow... I would recommend 3" minimum pipe.... also an extension could be added to the outside with another 45 and more pipe...



    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I did something similar for grit, egg shells and oyster shells....

    [​IMG]

    With water, feed and condiments for at least 3 days, you would enjoy your vacation a little more....
    Also, you can drop in an aquarium heater into the water system.... 25 watts should do nicely....
     

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