1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

First winter with my girls! Please help!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jnewsom, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. jnewsom

    jnewsom Out Of The Brooder

    25
    2
    26
    Apr 21, 2014
    Hello there I am I first time chicken owner so this will be my first winter with my girls. I have two BR an EE and a sexlink. Theyre coming up on 6 months old now. I have a smaller coop that is elevated off the ground about three feet its blocked from the wind but the walls are just plywood. There's hay for their bedding and two windows that open and close. Im not sure if I need to insulate the walls, if I need a heater, what kind of heater, what kind of insulation, or if i need both. I live in Nampa Idaho and our winters usually arent to bad but they can be unpreditibale as well. How cold is to cold for the girls? I can use all the help I can get on this one so any suggestions would be very helpful! [​IMG]
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,681
    2,616
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Chickens, especially your breeds need no heat. If they did, that would take away any financial incentive to own them.
    Their ancestors, jungle fowl, have a huge range including the Himalayan foothills. Since then they've evolved to survive climates the globe over - with no heat.
    Pine shavings or sand are best for bedding, Straw is acceptable but hay molds too quickly and can be dangerous.
    Whatever you do, make sure the ventilation is very good. They're really outdoor animals that are only provided coops for protection from predators and rain.
     
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    625
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Very cute coop! You don't show what part of the country you live in so it's hard to give you any advice on winter setups. There is an excellent thread on:

    Preparing Your Flock & Coop for Winter
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/920320/preparing-your-flock-coop-for-winter


    Go there and browse all the threads....almost all of it will help you for sure!! [​IMG]
     
  4. jnewsom

    jnewsom Out Of The Brooder

    25
    2
    26
    Apr 21, 2014


    I'm from Idaho just near Boise.I think it's the Northwest region are winters can be pretty mild or very unpredictable. We've had winters that drop below zero as well as winters that just stay around freezing. There's is just so many theories out there I don't know where to start. I've heard both, below freezing it's too cold, and that will be just fine. Also if you make it to warm they won't get their full winter feathers. Ive tryed to pick breeds that are better for the cold but im still just not sure of where to start. We have a good 6 inches of straw in the bottom of the coop but the walls are just plywood. Im just worried about being caught with my pants down. lol I love my girls and just want ta make sure im doing what im supposed to. :)
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,316
    442
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    They will be fine the way you are set up. I would cover part of the run to keep it snow free. Just a piece of plastic or a tarp will work. Might have to replace it because it will shred rubbing against the wire in the wind. Most chickens do not care to leave the coop and wander around in the snow. It will also keep the mud down.
     
  6. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    625
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    We humans always think "dang, it's cold, my chickens must be cold, too!" ... NOT! Chickens are hardy even when temps reach -20 amazingly. I personally am not going to heat my coop...too much risk of fire and they just don't need it.

    [​IMG]
    Heat lamp did this...12 chicks and 8 hens were lost.

    What they DO need is good ventilation and no moisture. I live just across from you in Central Oregon and our dead of winter temps hover around zero to -10 for a period of 3-4 weeks...yikes! But my girls will be just fine I'm sure. Like you, I've got a fairly deep bed of pine wood shavings on the floor of my coop and will add-to as the winter progresses.
     
  7. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

    416
    44
    94
    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    Don't heat, don't insulate. Just keep them dry, ventilated, and out of the wind.
    People in *very* cold climates keep chickens in coops where the entire front side is open, the side away from the prevailing wind.
     
  8. 11mini

    11mini Chillin' With My Peeps

    198
    31
    96
    Aug 17, 2014
    Lake Stevens, WA
    The problem I am having is the rain blowing in sideways and soaking the pine shavings I use in the run. The hen house is dry, but I don't think it's good for them to be constantly in wet shavings?
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Shavings and other bedding doesn't work well in a run just for that reason. Try just using sand. It drains well and keeps birds out of the mud.
     
  10. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    625
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Why don't you just use a tarp tacked up on that wall for temporary shielding from the rain...that should work!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by