First winter for new chix farmer

tralfaz

Chirping
Apr 9, 2020
141
117
73
New Jersey
I'm in NNJ and have 6 RI hybrid hens. It's been getting in the 40s at night and they are starting to slow down egg laying. What are things I need to do to prepare for winter. It gets to as low as l -10F on bad winter. I'm going to have covers installed for the screened openings and will need to figure out water as we don't have electricity back there yet. Also any thoughts on feeding techniques?
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
Mar 15, 2010
14,850
29,004
982
On the MN prairie.
Hello from MN where we routinely see sub-zero temps in the winter. My first word of advice: don’t cover your vents. They need that ventilation to help moisture escape the coop (pictures of your setup would be helpful). When acclimated, chickens adapt very well to the cold by growing more feathers. Think about a 40-degree day when the sun is shining and the humidity is pretty low. With proper clothing, it doesn’t feel too bad, does it? Now think about a 40-degree day that’s damp and humid. For me, it feels like that cold and damp just sink into my body and I can’t get warm for anything. Too much moisture in the coop is also far more likely to cause frostbite on combs and wattles. Mrs. K explains this far better than I do. The important thing to remember is that dry chickens are warm chickens.

For water, the black rubber feed pans work well. Fill it in the morning, go out later in the day with more water, flip the feed pan over and break the ice out if it and refill.

I have the feeders right in the coop for my chickens. You can put feed out in the morning for them and then put it away at night to keep the rodents out of it.
 

lifein1840

Songster
Mar 29, 2009
123
161
201
kansas city area
I agree with bobbi-j....they don't need water at night so just change your water out during the day when it freezes. I don't put the water in the coop, no need to add moisture and one of them is sure to tip the water over then you have a big mess! I put ping pong balls in the black rubber pans...as the air moves it makes the balls move in the water and keeps it from freezing as fast. I also keep the feed out during the day and then bring it in the house at night...I don't want to invite mice, rats, raccoons or other predators to supper. I have never had electricity in any of my coops. I use battery powered lanterns in the coop to see if I need to check on something in the dark. One is right by the door as I go in and the other is on the other side of the coop in case I need more light. They work great!
 

tralfaz

Chirping
Apr 9, 2020
141
117
73
New Jersey
I plan to run a cord to the back for water and put in a small aquarium heater I have laying around in a 5G pail with water nipples. Will nipples work and had anyone tried an non-glass heater in a covered pail?
 
Last edited:

tralfaz

Chirping
Apr 9, 2020
141
117
73
New Jersey
Hello from MN where we routinely see sub-zero temps in the winter. My first word of advice: don’t cover your vents. They need that ventilation to help moisture escape the coop (pictures of your setup would be helpful). When acclimated, chickens adapt very well to the cold by growing more feathers. Think about a 40-degree day when the sun is shining and the humidity is pretty low. With proper clothing, it doesn’t feel too bad, does it? Now think about a 40-degree day that’s damp and humid. For me, it feels like that cold and damp just sink into my body and I can’t get warm for anything. Too much moisture in the coop is also far more likely to cause frostbite on combs and wattles. Mrs. K explains this far better than I do. The important thing to remember is that dry chickens are warm chickens.

For water, the black rubber feed pans work well. Fill it in the morning, go out later in the day with more water, flip the feed pan over and break the ice out if it and refill.

I have the feeders right in the coop for my chickens. You can put feed out in the morning for them and then put it away at night to keep the rodents out of it.
Thanks, I forgot to take a picture but I'll remember to leave venting. When there is a lot of snow, do I need to get in there and shovel? Btw, what's too much snow for them....
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
86,009
101,806
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop

tralfaz

Chirping
Apr 9, 2020
141
117
73
New Jersey

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
Mar 15, 2010
14,850
29,004
982
On the MN prairie.
Thanks, I forgot to take a picture but I'll remember to leave venting. When there is a lot of snow, do I need to get in there and shovel? Btw, what's too much snow for them....
They do seem to have an aversion to snow. “How much is too much“ depends on the chickens. My coops are small sheds - 8’x12’ in one, 8’x15 for the other - plenty of room for my chickens to be inside most of the time. They do appreciate it when DH plows the driveway, though, and lets them out on a nice day.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
86,009
101,806
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
When there is a lot of snow, do I need to get in there and shovel? Btw, what's too much snow for them....
I shovel part of run near coop and a path all the way down the center of run, mostly to leave access for me to knock snow off mesh if needed(first year it damnear collapsed)....plus it gives them some walking around room and speeds clearing at snow melt season.
They don't like snow that's very deep, more than an inch most avoid.
I toss down a thin layer of straw or shavings when the snows first come and when it's gets icy.
Yeah, it can be a lot of work, but I'm retired, need the exercise, and with my mobility issues need a smooth path to walk on safely.
We can get a lot of snow here. Nov 2019 we got 24" over a couple days.
 

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