Closing up the coop in the winter???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by boxwoman, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. boxwoman

    boxwoman In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2009
    New Milford
    Should my hens be shut in the coop at night during the winter. Right now I have an opening at the peak of my coop where they roost which is open to the air. Should that be closed up so they have to roost on the pole inside the coop? At what overnight temperature should I use a heat lamp? It's my first New England winter with

  2. I think you will be far happier closing them in at night, for predator protection, to keep the water liquid and to keep snow out of your you have a thermometer in your coop? That would help in determining if you need heat. If you are insulated I doubt you would need it. It's also true that ventilation will continue to be a concern...

    Some thoughts
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    And you definitely don't want them right there with the ventilation (that should be ABOVE them) because they are right in the path of draft...a big no-no for chickens when it's cold.
  4. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    can you lower the roost so they can't sleep up there? I don't close up my ventilation until it drops below 0. But my vents are up over their heads, so the chilly air (particularly cold at night) is not blowing on them.

  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:You have pretty cold-hardy breeds, you may *never* have to use a heat lamp [​IMG] and if you did, it would be unlikely to have to be a HEAT lamp - a lower wattage regular ol' bulb, that they can get under to warm up, would do just fine.

    I'm not entirely sure I'm correctly understanding your coop setup, but you do not want cold air blowing right onto the chickens on the roost, so you may (?) need to close off that opening so they are more sheltered.

    However you will still ABSOLUTELY REQUITE good ventilation, probably including at night too (I say "probably" because if your coop is quite large with just a few chickens in it, you might be able to get away with shutting it tight every night). If you do not have adequate ventilation -- which requires more, larger openings than you probably expect, as chickens put out a really tremendous amount of moisture and air does not flow well through wee leetle hole-saw holes -- then the coop will be very humid inside and your chickens will be apt to suffer frostbite at much milder temperatures than they 'should'. In a humid coop you can give 'em frostbite not much below 32 F; in properly dry, well-ventilated (but draft free) air, most chickens are good well down towards 0 F and often quite a lot lower. So, keep the air as dry as possible; then just pay attention for any signs of them having trouble with the temperature.

    You might want to look at a couple of the pages in my .sig below, as they discuss ventilation and winter temperatures and so forth in more detail.

    Good luck, have fun, welcome to BYC!,

  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    I really think you should get them into the coop. I haven't been in New England for an entire winter, I did spend an entire fall and part of winter in Maine for work... we left a couple days before christmas and yeah, [​IMG] they'll probably be better in the coop.

    They WILL still need good ventilation though!

    LynneP's page is excellent and she's got vast experience in cold weather chicken keeping. Also, Patandchickens' ventilation page is helpful too. //edited to remove some text, Patandchickens handled it! [​IMG]

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  7. Not vast experience, but we started building the coop into our red barn in February 2008, so we experienced the conditions the hens would face. Once it was comfortable for me, I knew it would be glorious for them, and we have only the 12 heat, but insulated well and good ventilation overhead. I must say that winter was a relief, as I got through the first one with the birds. They sing you know, when they are comfortable, and they sang their little hearts out all last year...maybe not so much when the chill factor was at -40C for over 10 days, but the interior of the coop never went below -6C and the electric dog bowl kept the water liquid...


    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009

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