Coop is dark add a little light?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cowgirlchicken, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. cowgirlchicken

    cowgirlchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2014
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    My winter coop will be dark I live in michigan and I'm not worried about putting extra light in for them to have eggs. I'm wondering if I need light because once the coop is closed it will be dark inside.. And should I let them have access to go outside in the winter?? Or keep them cooped up. This is my coop
    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  2. jessicam95

    jessicam95 New Egg

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    Jun 18, 2014
    Tonganoxie, Kansas
    I don't put a light in my coop until after winter starts, I put a heat lamp in over the water so it doesn't freeze. If its a nice winter day I let them out, if its too cold I just keep them in and the heat lamp stays on over the water. I the summer I let them out everyday unless it's storming but I don't have a light on in the summer.
     
  3. WYNot

    WYNot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    By all means, let them out in the winter. Unless they are an exotic breed that specifically can't handle the cold, they should be fine. I'd figure out some way to get some light in there. Hang a light in there and put it on a timer? Or is there any way to replace some of the tarping with a translucent plastic sheeting? That would at least let some light in. Even on the coldest of days last winter, the birds came out of the coop and scratched around the run. Unless there was snow. Our hens will do everything in their power to not set foot in the white stuff. :lol: As long as they have fresh water, food, and a place that is draft/wind free, they are fine. Just ensure there is sufficient ventilation to allow excess moisture and such to escape the coop.

    From one of my other posts...
    If the coop is built well and has proper ventilation without having drafts, they'll be fine. We only have 5 production reds but they were fine last winter here in Ohio and it was a rough one. Gotta admit though, I did put a heat lamp in the coop. I only turned it on a couple of times though when the temps dropped to sub-zero for more than a day or two. HOWEVER, that was for the wife's benefit not the hens'. I grew up raising beef cattle and learned early on that providing them a heated, insulated, shelter just isn't practical nor is it a good animal husbandry practice. It keeps them from adapting to the cold.

    One of the downsides of heat lamp, excessive insulation, etc. is not allowing the chickens to acclimate to the changes in weather. I'm not talking about leaving them out on a frozen tundra with no shelter, etc. Rather just taking measures to ensure they are protected, fed, and watered. Allowing for the chickens themselves to grow accustomed to the changing weather. Just my own opinion/observations from raising livestock nearly all my life. Growing up we raised beef cattle. As long as they had clean food, clean water, some shelter, and clean, dry bedding they were fine. They put on extra fat and fur. Some of them got downright shaggy every winter. I notice the same thing in myself. If I'm out and working a lot, I get used to the cold and am not bothered by it. However if I'm indoors a lot (because of work, etc) and don't have a chance to acclimate, the cold can really bother me till I do acclimate. And for the record, once I am acclimated, I do enjoy tent camping in cold (even sub-zero) weather. big_smile.png

    Our hens didn't mind the cold. They'd be out in the run on the coldest days scratching. What they didn't like was snow. For some reason they would do everything in their power to not walk in snow. They didn't mind walking on the frozen patches of ground/bedding but they did not like the white stuff. On several occasions when I went out in the morning to open their small door to the run they would poke their heads out see the run completely white and go back in the coop. One one or two occasions I broke down and used a broom to sweep off their ramp and a snow shovel to clear an area of the run. Danged spoiled chickens.

    Again, just my own personal opinion/ramblings/observations. I tend to view my chickens as a source of food, income. occasionally entertainment, and an investment. They are spoiled and well taken care of but they are not pets and I have no issue putting one in the freezer/cookpot. Everyone has chickens for a different reason and has their own views on how to manage them.
     
  4. cowgirlchicken

    cowgirlchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2014
    Michigan
    I don't really think I could replace part of the cover with translucent plastic.. And they few range now but when snow hits I will not be out there shoveling all the time the area will be plowed when my dad runs the plow thru so maybe they can handle that?? I'm still lost on what to do. I really don't want to build a run out onto that either
     
  5. jessicam95

    jessicam95 New Egg

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    Jun 18, 2014
    Tonganoxie, Kansas
    I have free range but I lock them up at night. My coop is different than yours, I have mine in a garden shed type building. My dad cut a hole in my coop and made a door that slides up and stays latched up so they go in as they please. I have never shoveled a place for them to walk out of the coop, mine always get around fine on their own.
     
  6. WYNot

    WYNot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2013
    Casstown, OH
    Same here. Our coop is a raised 4x8 coop with a fenced in run attached. They do free range in the evenings, on days when the wife works from home, and on weekends. I started out closing and latching the small coop door every night. Finally started leaving it open and just closing the run door each night. That way I didn't have to get up as early to open the coop. Then I just leave them in the coop/run till late morning then open the run to let them range.

    No idea why they hate the snow.

    cowgirlchicken, are the ends of the coop solid enough that you could cut a square out and add a window? Real or just translucent plastic sheeting or a piece of plexiglass? If not, you might have to just settle for hanging a light or two and put it on a timer. You can still let them free range during the winter and just close them up each night.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would be concerned about the lack of light and ventilation.
    Is that back wall a tarp material too.....what about the front wall and door?
    Can you take a pic from farther back?

    Do they have roosts and nests?
    How many in there?

    They might go out into the snow and they might not, but they should have the option of coming out all day if they want.
    I spread a very thin layer of straw on the snow (and mud when the snow melts) and they're more likely to travel farther.
     
  8. cowgirlchicken

    cowgirlchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2014
    Michigan
    We framed in a wood wall and put a door on it yes they have roosts 7 I have 10 chickens and they actually enjoy roosting between the bales of hay. I put hay bales around the edges and back wall for drafts
     

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