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Do I need a food station/shelter for the winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Luddite, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Luddite

    Luddite Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2015
    South Wales, UK
    I've never kept a flock through the winter. I've noticed that when the weather is bad, my four girls will huddle in the hedge, and winter can get a bit fierce on the mountain (we're 1200ft above sea level) and it's exposed to winds, high at times (enough so I have the coop tied down).

    I'm wondering if I should build a little open food station which would double as a shelter, but I'm curious as to why they won't shelter in the coop? If I put in a shelter, will they try and roost and lay in there?
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Lock em up in the coop for a few days to a week, to 'home' them to the coop.
    I'm assuming they don't roost(sleep) there now?
    Is your coop big enough for 4 hens to be comfortable lounging in there?
     
  3. Luddite

    Luddite Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2015
    South Wales, UK
    They're quite happy to roost and lay there now, they just don't use it as shelter from the weather. It's rated for 6-9 chickens, so there's plenty of room, they all cuddle up together at one end at night.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Where do you keep your food/water now?
    How cold, wet, snowy does it get where you live?

    This: "rated for 6-9 chickens" .....always makes me bit suspect.
    Manufacturers are notorious for 'overrating' the population aspect of their coops.


    Actual dimensions, or pics, usually tells the tale that the space is somewhat lacking in room to move and/or ventilation and that's why the birds don't take shelter and/or lounge/rest there during the day.
     
  5. Luddite

    Luddite Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2015
    South Wales, UK
    So, it's ventilation that is key? I've been shutting down the vents to just a small crack. I also have the facility to open the back right up, but I usually only open this for cleaning.

    Yes, manufacturers 'bird ratings' are usually suspect, hence why there's only 4 birds in there.

    At the moment, the feeder is kept under a large slate that bridges two tree stumps (although they prefer the pellets a bit wet), water is hanging from a hook in the open.

    It's often raining (this is Wales, UK) and snow can be anything from none to six feet deep - we can never tell what kind of winter it will be. Cold again can be very variable but it will rarely drop below -10 centigrade (about 14 F).
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ventilation very important all year, even in winter....I still have all my coop windows wide open...and it frosted last night.
    Open eaves stay open all winter, I can have weeks on end at below freezing...my coop is tall tho so no strong drafts on roost area usually.
     
    1 person likes this.

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