"Eglu" & the winter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PrehistoricChicken, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. PrehistoricChicken

    PrehistoricChicken Hatching

    Sep 25, 2008
    For the "Eglu" chicken coop...

    Do you need to have a heater in the winter?

    And do the chickens come out in the winter, in the snow? I don't really understand, don't they get cold?
    I live in Minnesota, and it gets pretty darn cold. I don't have chickens yet, but we're thinking about getting them soon, but since winter is pretty soon, should I just wait till spring?
  2. picklespickles

    picklespickles Songster

    Oct 27, 2007

    some people like them and if you do, well go for it. they are very cute.

    for me, for the price of one of those, i could build something a lot bigger.

    my chickens come out in the snow, but i think our snow is not like minnesota snow.
  3. We had initially considered an Eglu, and my worry was more that it could be buried in deep snow over being too cold. IF you choose heavy breeds with lots of feathering they can do pretty well in even very cold weather.

    So in the end we built this:


    We got our chicks in June 18th because we wanted them to be fully grown as we head into winter. I also didn't want to brood them in the house; so we waited until the weather warmed up enough at night so we could keep them in the garage until they were old enough to move to thier coop at about 4 weeks.

    As for heating and insulating coops - lots of people on BYC do that, so you'll hear lots of opinions pro and con. We didn’t bother with either - folks in my state sure didn't do it 100 years ago, and that was good enough for me.

  4. angels4

    angels4 Songster

    I have an Eglu, but this is the first winter I've had it. I live in New England and it gets plenty cold here too. I have read on the Omlet forum of folks who live in Northern England and Scottland who have winters similar to ours here and thier girls are just fine. The Eglu is double insulated like an Igloo dog house. I have friends who have wooden coops and have used a "snugglesafe" to help with the cold, but I've been told it messes with the ladies so I am not planning on using anything. I understand the girls carry thier own duvet and sometimes in early fall mornings the inside of the Eglu has been very warm and toasty at least 10 degress warmer than the outside temp. I feel as long as they are protected from moisture and drafts all will be well. Maybe I'm naive.
    I'm not sure about the girls stepping out in the snow so that is why I'm planning a covered walk in run.
  5. PrehistoricChicken

    PrehistoricChicken Hatching

    Sep 25, 2008
    Quote:That's gorgeous...
    I don't have ANY building experience, and Eglu's are super expensive, so I just want to be able to buy a nice wooden coop, that's cheaper than the Eglu, they look too modern to me, but I don't know...
  6. esjro

    esjro Songster

    Aug 22, 2008
    Stockton, NJ
    I looked at the Eglu too, but didn't go with it because of the price and because it can only house a couple of chickens. I ended up buying a Chick N Barn from CritterCages.com and modifying it. If you look here there are some photos of a modified Chick N Barn by another BYC member:

    Like those folks we predator proofed the Barn (by adding hardware cloth over the openings and latches to all doors), added insulation (foam layers behind sheets of plywood so the hens won't peck at the shiny material) and once it stops raining we will water proof it. We also raised the coop on stilts - basically just 4x4s with cement blocks as bases for the legs.

    At some point I'd like to get or build a nicer coop, but like you I don't have the expertise to build a nice coop and my husband doesn't have the time. [​IMG] The Chick N Barn itself is very fast to put together, and it took my husband and I about a day to make all the modifications.
  7. Quote:That's gorgeous...
    I don't have ANY building experience, and Eglu's are super expensive, so I just want to be able to buy a nice wooden coop, that's cheaper than the Eglu, they look too modern to me, but I don't know...

    Oh hey - I'm not gonna knock the Eglu or anyone who wants one! [​IMG] I think they're really REALLY beautiful. A truly great modern design, although I think the run might be a tad small for more than 2 heavy breed birds.

    The coop we built is the well known Playhouse Coop - we spent about $500 on it but we live in the pricey Northeast anyway (very near Boston - what can I say? [​IMG] ) and I think if you hired someone you could get one built for about the same price as an Eglu (you might need to paint it yourself, but anyone can paint.)

    The Playhouse Coop is not that hard to build - I think a bunch of kids from your local votech school could do it easily, and they would be way less expensive than hiring a carpenter or contractor.

  8. LindaN

    LindaN Songster

    Jul 28, 2007
    I have an Eglu here in Chicago. Actually, I now have 2 Eglus housing a total of 7 hens and pullets.

    My 3 hens lived through a particularly bitter and snowy winter last year in their Eglu with no problems. I kept a thermometer inside the Eglu henhouse and the lowest the temperature ever dropped was 20 F, and this was measured on mornings where it was -8 F (not counting the windchill). The hens were fine and continued the lay the entire time. They did come out of the run and walk through the snow, too.

    I made few minor modifictions for the winter:

    * I covered the run with clear plastic. This made the run into a sort of mini-greenhouse which warmed up very well in the sun. It also provided protection from the snow. Snow tended to just melt off the top of the run on a sunny day. Passive solar power worked in my favor here!

    * I emptied the water container every night and brought it out with fresh water in the morning so I didn't have to deal with a frozen water container in the AM. I also added a bird-bath type immersion heater to the water container so they had access to water during the day.

    * I added lots of dried leaves collected during the fall inside the coop so they could snuggle down into them. They seemed to like having the leaves as additional insulation inside and it made the coop smell so nice every time I changed the leaves out!

    * I didn't wash out the coop during the winter, nor did I move it. I sort of did a "modified deep litter" method where I pushed all the poopy leaves out of the henhouse door into the run and raked it into the run base. (My Eglus sit on wood chips). This kept the henhouse clean and the run never really got smelly as it was a good mix of wet stuff (chicken poop) and dry stuff (leaves and wood chips), so it sort of composted in place.

    That's pretty much it!

    I will often think about building a chicken coop, but when I really think through the details of how much it would cost me in materials, tool, time and labor, the Eglu didn't seem so expensive to me. Sure, I could have scrounged for cheap or free materials and borrowed or rented tools, but I would have to take a week off of work to build a coop. That would be pretty expensive to me in time!
  9. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    For the cost of the eglu, you could build or have built a much nicer coop with room for them in winter. If your supposed to have 4 sq feet of coop space per bird......the eglu is not really humane for the winter. That forces them out into the weather all day, or to be crammed into a tiny space. I could never do this to an animal [​IMG]
  10. stacym

    stacym Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Kennard, Nebraska
    I'm not sure about the Eglu. My dad reminded me that my poor birds will need to move about when they can't go outside. If there's not enough space it could lead to cannibalism and stressed birds.
    So, this winter we are taking a portion of my garden shed which is 25'x10'x 12' and converting a portion of it for their use. My husband didn't want to do it at first until he found out it would cost a lot less. And that I would finally have to clean and organize all my stuff. [​IMG]

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