Cold Weather Coops

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by redbuffalo, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. redbuffalo

    redbuffalo Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 22, 2009
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    I am planing on building a coop in Honeoye Falls NY. What aspects in coop design are important for cold weather coops?
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It's always been my impression that NY has similar weather to the coast side of the PNW. If that is the case, I don't think you really need to worry to much about "cold" weather coop designs like someone in the midwest where you can have -30 to -50 wind chill and weeks on end below zero.

    An enclosed place to sleep that isn't drafty but well ventilated so humidity doesn't get trapped would be just fine. If humidity can't build up in the coop, and you can keep wind off of them, you probably don't even need to insulate. Winters here are usually in the 30's at night, and our "freak" snow week with temps in the single digits in the night was just fine for my flock, as most still slept in their runs!
  3. bowhunter

    bowhunter Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2009
    Gillies Corners, ON
    You'll need decent insulation but don't forget to provide adequate ventilation too.

    We just successfully over-wintered our layer flock for the first time.

    We were quite proud to say the least but the project required a lot of work, especially with frozen water jugs during the cold snaps of Jan/Feb!

    We had to thaw and fill waterer every single day when the temp dropped below -20C for any period of time.

    Now that the warmth of spring is here it is quite rewarding seeing our entire flock out of the coop again in the sunshine...

    I say go for it. Start now so you have lots of time to work at it...

    Good luck![​IMG]
  4. happyhensny

    happyhensny Brown Barns Farm

    This was our first winter with chickens. I am near Albany, in the Helderbergs. It got very cold here, - 0 many days, loads of snow. Our coop is insulated, with a metal roof and it has a 2 1/2" foam insulation panel for the ceiling. No one died. No drafts but there is ventilation. Window is not weather stripped and around the edges of the panel of insulation there is a small crack. We even have a chicken that has a bad leg, we were "sure" Wanda wouldn't make it though the winter but she did and she is a lovely hen. The run is a dog run with a metal roof on it that I threw a tarp over to keep the snow and wind out. They went outside on the COLDEST days. Again, no wind blowing through and no deep snow. Yup, they're spoiled and we love them! [​IMG]
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

  6. max13077

    max13077 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I live just a hop, skip, and a jump across a few lakes from you. The big thing where I live isn't the cold itself, but the wind. I live up on a hill top and there's about three days a year when the wind isn't blowing at all. The rest of the time it can be from 5-50+. So I made sure my coop was well put together. There wasn't any place that the board left a gap or anything like that. Also I used some of that expanding foam along the seams before I put the outer trim on.

    That said, you don't want a super airtight coop either. So I installed a couple of small, close-able vents. It's easy to regulate with them. Obviously in the summer, the windows are open 99% of the time and airflow isn't an issue. However when it's 15 degrees and the winds blasting at 40, windows aren't an option. So I just open the vents a little and it does good. Incidentally, they aren't anywhere around where the birds will get a direct draft from them.

    I didn't insulate, but it would probably be an idea if you had something other than heavy variety's. Mine are BO's, SLW's, Brahmas, etc. I just hung a heat lamp above the roost. 99% of the time when I went to water and feed in the mornings, they were all on the other end of the roost!!! So I guess they really didn't need it!
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I lived in Brockport (just W of Rochester) before I moved up here, although I did not have chickens at the time.

    I'd suggest insulating -- you don't *have* to but it will make everybody's life easier and more pleasant. Make sure you have a sufficiency of individually closeable vents up high on at least several of the walls, ideally protected by roof overhangs, so you can keep ventilation open in the winter... humid coop air is much more of a frostbite hazard than colder but *dry* air. Don't use weeny small little vents, make something of good size, like 6-12" high and running most or all the length of the wall. Weatherstripped flaps or sliders can close 'em down when you don't want a particular vent open. (Additional ventilation, in the form of large predator-screened windows or parts of the wall where a plywood panel for winter lifts out to reveal a screened area for summer airflow, would also be desirable).

    You might think about ways to make at least part of the run more appealing for wintertime use, with windbreaks, partial wrapping in heavy plastic, a roof (engineered well for snow load!), that sort of thing. Again, it is not absolutely essential but makes everyone's life easier and more pleasant.

    Electricity, so you can run a heated waterer or waterer base, would be real nice, although you can get by without it if you have to.

    Good luck, have fun,


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