Cold weather concerns

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Clay In Iowa, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2008
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    I've been busy designing my coop and have hit a bit of a road block. I live out in the middle of a corn field in Iowa where the winds are very strong. I'll most certainly be insulating my coop and am considering a heat lamp for those exceptionally cold nights. My biggest concern in this: How do I keep the eggs from freezing? I leave for work very early in the morning. I won't have time to gather eggs till about 3 each afternoon. My wife doesn't go to work till later in the day but has to get the boys ready before she leaves.

    What to do on those really cold days when the eggs WILL sit in the coop for several hours? It's not uncommon for the highs to be in the single digits several days in a row with night time lows well below zero. Wind chills in my area can hit -50 or colder several times each winter.

    What do you northerners do to keep eggs from freezing?

    Heated nest boxes?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Clay - I'm in Nebraska but we've never gotten THAT cold, the coldest last year was minus 26 I think.

    I haven't had to worry - last year I had two frozen eggs that we left out in the coop overnight on accident. Other than that no worries, eggs don't freeze as fast as water does.
     
  3. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Wildsky,

    It's usually not the temps that get us it's the wind chills. Last year we had 9 days in a row where the temp was never above 10 degrees and night time lows well below zero. What made it really tough was the three days of winds at 30mph gusting to 50. The wind chills were in the minus 40 to minus 60 range. Man I hated leaving the house that week. Especially to plow our 1,000 foot drive way.

    It's not all the time but we have our bad weeks every winter. To make it worse we live on top of a hill, literally in the middle of a corn field. I can see for 6 -10 miles in all directions. So when it blows we really take the brunt of it. We have a wind break started but it'll be a few years before it's affective.

    I'm just concerned about those really cold days.
     
  4. EmptyNest

    EmptyNest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad you asked that question - I was worried about eggs freezing as well. As for last winter - uggggghhhh [​IMG] I was w/o electricity for 5 days - I never would have made it as a pioneer woman.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    You're unlikely to have much of a problem with it. The eggs will be inside, so windchill is completely irrelevant. Also the coop is likely to be warmer (on the coldest nights, *significantly* warmer) than the outdoor air. The eggs will be nestled half-into a nice insulating layer of shavings or whatever you're using as bedding in your nest boxes. The eggs start off at about 100 F (hen temperature) and cool down gradually over time. If you collect eggs at 3 or 4 pm, chances are that most will not have been sitting there for more than a few hours. And finally, eggs freeze at, I forget, somewhere well down into the 20s F, significantly lower than the freezing point of 'mere' water.

    You may get a couple frozen eggs here and there but I would bet money, or chickenfeed, that it will not be a major problem for you.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    We're getting that wind today! Its horrible outside.

    Funny, our house is also kinda on a hill top - not very much higher than the little town, but we too can see for miles - we have a wind break - thank goodness, on three sides of our property. (some days I wonder if it makes a difference [​IMG] )

    I hope todays' storm doesn't come your way.

    (wind is 41mph now, with gusts to 56)
     
  7. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not too bad here today. Winds 25 gusts to 40.

    The wind chill is unfortunately a factor. As an example I live in USDA zone 5 But Because of our hill top exposure we have to select plants that can survive USDA zone 3 or colder. The wind just drives the cold into the ground and anything else.

    I'll be insulating the coop like a huge cooler with no drafts but there's' just so much I can do to keep the cold out it the winds are howling all night.
     
  8. jubylives

    jubylives Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Were aren't supposed to get what you guys and the Dakotas are getting but we will eventually get ours. It will be a high of 38 tomorrow though.

    -20 is cold but -20 with 20mph winds is down right crazy cold. Makes even the inside seem colder. Hopefully with the insulation and the chickens body heat it will keep the eggs from freezing. I use heat lamps to keep the coop at or around freezing +/- some. Maybe on the really bad nights have it on.

    jeremy
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:No, I'm sorry, but wind chill is NOT a factor unless the object in question is standing out there IN the wind. Your eggs won't be [​IMG] they will be tucked nice and safe into your coop.

    No wind = no wind chill = only air temperature matters.

    (Actually even out *in* the wind, you cannot cool a dry object any colder than air temperature, so even with your egg outdoors it isn't going to get any colder than what the THERMOMETER (not the wind chill) says -- although it will reach that temp. faster than if it were inside at the same air temperature).

    Pat (who btw lives in a windy cold exposed location, and thus I do know how unpleasantly windchill can affect animals and plants and stuff)
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  10. ChickenTender63

    ChickenTender63 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Boy, I sure loved Iowa, but I don't miss the crazy winters. When I moved there in October 1995, we had one week of nice weather, then the next week it dumped a foot of snow on us. I think it was December or January and the temps were -64 degrees with the wind chill factored in. I don't care who you are, thats cold!

    Anyhows, I think if you just insulate well and have a light that you can turn on to make sure the chickens don't freeze during the really bad stuff, you will fare pretty well. Worse case you do lose a few eggs to freezing, but I think I would rather do that than spend a lot of money trying to really make it a nice warm eviroment for them that will ultimately cause chickens more harm than good.

    How many chickens do you have and are you relying on these eggs for income?

    I was set-up about the same way. Top of a hill overlooking miles upon miles of corn fields right along I-80, 10 miles west of Iowa City at the Oxford exit (280 I think)

    I wish you well, and if you see my heart up there some where, would you please mail it back to me. I loved that country more than anyplace I have ever lived.

    Good luck!


    [​IMG]
     

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