Getting nervous about winter...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by allig8r, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. allig8r

    allig8r Chillin' With My Peeps

    The coop we have is a Henspa . It has the roosts and nesting boxes upstairs--which has wire flooring for droppings. There's a tarp that covers that floor so I can put pine shavings in for the winter and try to insulate a bit. Also going to put the brooder light back in for the nights. According to my USDA Hardiness zone (7 bordering on 6), the average low temp can be from -10 to 10 in the winter.

    So the floor of the "upstairs" of the coop has an opening with a ladder that goes "downstairs"--to food and water, and the opening to the run. Can you say "draft"...? [​IMG]

    But then I spoke to a woman here who raised chickens and let them go wherever they wanted in the winter--snow and all. Mine are 16 weeks now. We won't get real cold weather until December or January (some Decembers I barely break out a coat). So they'll be full-grown. But should I worry about locking them up in the coop? I can't find anything that talks about this!?!?! I mean the water bucket is heated--so no worries there. And the food bin holds 50 lbs worth... so no worries there, either.

    I'm worried they're going to be too cold. Am I worrying too much? (I'm in Central NJ--not near the beach--if that helps)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  2. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know if this helps or not....here is what my tractor looks like: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=3724
    This
    past spring...it was pretty cold...we kept the tractor in one place with a tarp over it...if it was sunny and in the 30's we'd maybe open the front up through the day. If it was going to get around 20 degrees we'd clip the heatlamp on the roost pointed down to the ground as they were little and not going up yet. This winter, I plan to to the same thing only will put the heat lamp in one nest box on the end on really cold nights. I have breeds that do pretty well in the winter...just need to make sure their combs don't get frostbit! I plan to let them free range to for a bit each day as I do now depending on the weather.
     
  3. PeiTheCelt

    PeiTheCelt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central NY
    Okay, I grew up in Red Bank (so central Jersey closer to the shore) and I cannot remember a single really truly brutal NJ winter (okay this is in comparison to where I am now, I complained a lot back then lol) .. You might get some ugly Nor'Easters ('96 comes to mind) but... They're short bursts, and probably just keeping them in the coop for those days is the best bet.

    Cover up any windows you might have (doesn't look like it has a lot of windows in there), and get a brooding light if you want (I've seen some really good arguments for not having one in the coop here, actually.. Not sure what I'm doing myself on that front yet). Make sure a portion of their run is covered (so it's a little drier and less snowy, and they'll probably be fine. [​IMG]

    (Caveat: I am in no way shape or form a knowledgeable chicken person, I am very very much a newbie and everything stated above is based on a long-standing knowledge of central NJ weather and obsessively refreshing on this site (seriously, if my employer had ANY idea lol).)
     
  4. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wanted to add...I looked at the henspa (been a while since I'd looked at them) If yours looks like the one in the link....I wouldn't be too worried. Just make sure they have lots of dry bedding...ventilation...but no drafts. My point was comparison...we get some pretty cold winters in IL...and this spring we even had some nights that went under 20 degrees....but the way we handled it worked great...so if it works with something this open...yours should be great!
     
  5. w8tn4fresheggs

    w8tn4fresheggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 24, 2007
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    Hi, I have a Henspa too. This will be my first winter in Nebraska with it. I too am concerned, but they should be okay.

    I am planning on putting straw bales on the backside(north side) when it really turns cold. I am still moving it around as long as I can. I actually have put a green tarp over the run area to give them more shade and protection from the rain this summer. If you look at mypage, you can see it.

    Last week I figured out a good way to cover at least part of the opening to the run. My tarp fits over the top and the front. Two inches overhang on the side. I took the tarp and tucked it between the Henspa and run. I hooked the eyelets or holes and slipped them through the lock and then connected to the run. Now the opening is at least partially covered and they don't mind going under it to get in. Then depending on if I want sun or shade in the run, I roll the tarp with a PVC pipe the length of the run (we had it laying around) and it pretty much stays put.

    Also last week, I put the tarp in with some pine bedding and DE. What I have found though is that it is dark underneath and I have found eggs when I moved the Henspa.:eek: Penny just started laying and hopefully she isn't starting a bad habit. I will put fake eggs in the nest boxes and hopefully she gets it.

    I too have prepared my light, but I really really don't want to use it. I think that it would put all the heat in one space and the rest of the coop would be cold. I have 9 hens, so hopefully they will cuddle up. At this point they even cuddle in the nest box. I know it isn't a good habit. But... come winter, if they need to be in the nest boxes together that is fine with me. I know they will be warmer that way. I just pull the tarp out in the morning and shake the poo off. Usually there isn't much there. I am out there anyway, anxious to check the girls. I will also cover the front of the run with the tarp and the sides(with cardboard) when winter really hits hard.

    Hope this helps.

    Steph
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  6. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Steph...I think you've got the right idea!!
     
  7. allig8r

    allig8r Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, Steph... we are soulmates:

    1) I also have 9 hens in a Henspa made for 8! [​IMG]

    2) We own shelties. My husband saw the picture (which looks exactly like our late "Best Dog") and were in awe. It went like this:

    Me: "THEIR sheltie isn't barking...!"
    Dh: "The picture could've snapped mid-bark. At minimum, it looks like s/he's doing the "pace and pant". "
    Me: "No... there's no path worn around the coop...!?"
    Dh: "It's a NEW coop... the birds haven't even torn up the grass in the RUN yet!"

    Our chicks are 16 wks old and have pooped all over the place--so we're going to clean it out good with a hose this weekend while they free-range... while we have the last of the really hot days.

    I'm not sure I understand, though: does your run wind up being COMPLETELY covered--between the tarp and the cardboard? Are you covering just the run, or the opening to the run as well?

    TIA!!!
     
  8. w8tn4fresheggs

    w8tn4fresheggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 24, 2007
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    allig8r ,

    I just about fell off the couch when you said you had nine hens, like me, and a sheltie, like me.

    I just updated my mypage coop section. Better photo layout.

    Before Egganic made a newly designed coop, the Henspa was stated as holding 10 hens. I think they changed it to have the newer coop design hold more. Even though space wise it is smaller. Go figure. I have 7 standards and 2 banties. So it really works out to be 8 for space. Mine are 24 and 19 weeks. I have two sets.

    I move the coop almost daily, so there is always grass for the girls. I leave them in the coop until around three to be sure they know where to lay eggs. They are let out and spoiled rotten. I move the coop then, because in seconds they have run to their favorite spots in the yard.

    I am still trying to figure out the best spot for the winter. Knowing that it will kill any grass over time. Also because I want to use the straw on the north side to help with the cold wind.

    Regarding the tarp. I bring the tarp in between the coop and run and it goes half way down and then I hook the eyelets to the lock part and connect to the run. It keeps the tarp secure and the opening isn't as open. Which will be good in winter. I can take some photos tomorrow of my new set up. It is time to take more pictures of the girls anyway.

    I haven't put cardboard or whatever I decide to use on the sides as of yet. I plan on having some sort of plan when it really gets cold and windy. The tarp is usually on top of the run like shown in the photos. But it is big enough to cover the front of the run if need be.

    My dog Radar is a great dog. He loves the chickens and herds them when ever he gets the chance. I am trying to train him to bring them back, when they get to close to our road. Meaning he has to bring them towards the house. He seems to get it and of course barks and gets worked up. I praise and praise. A few of the chickens have pecked him when he has gotten to close and he does have respect. A few are still scared of him and he goes and paces around them.

    The other day I was sitting and watching the hens in the coop. Radar was of course out there with me. I let the hens out, but the ones that he herds stayed in the coop. I watched and counted that he went around the coop 19 times before he finally quit. He only barks when he can't take it anymore. What a riot.

    Sure glad to have a Henspa and Sheltie Soul Mate!!

    Steph
     
  9. allig8r

    allig8r Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have TWO shelties and I think we did a HORRIBLE job because we never acclimated them to the chickens--so they're barking AT them and trying to get at them. I'm afraid they might try to eat them. [​IMG] Not taking any chances.

    We move our coop about every 2 weeks--when they've outdone the grass. Actually right now they're on a sandlot and they love to roost on the ground in the sand... not sure what that's about!

    I will check your pictures tomorrow. We're planning on just leaving the coop stay put in the winter. If there's no snow, we'll move it once or twice.

    We have 9 full-size hens. We ordered 8, they sent 9. I tried not to overcrowd!
     
  10. w8tn4fresheggs

    w8tn4fresheggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 24, 2007
    Nebraska
    Took these this morning. First time with photos of them in the run all together. Nice talking with you.

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