getting ready for late fall and winter


BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist
11 Years
Aug 17, 2008
Larry, KS
My Coop
Fantastic question! I am wondering the same thing. How do they do with snow on the ground for long periods?

And what temps can they withstand? Is it important to have heating if temps will drop below 32 F for days at a time, sometimes -10 or so?

What about auxiliary lighting? What number of hours is really right for keeping them producing and not stressing them out? If I'm asking questions I missed answers to somewhere, forgive me, but I've just found bits of anecdotal info on this in scattered forums...


La Banan

11 Years
May 28, 2008
Rhode Island Reds are hardy for winter. Even among the heritage breeds which are all hardier than meat or egg hens RIRs are known for being good in winter. You could up their scratch - the corn raises their inner heat but I would wait til it gets cold. As to extra light for eggs - you could but put it on in the morning so they don't get jolted at night and not be able to find their roosts. Lots of folks don't bother and say they still get good enough results. It's OK if your hens take a wee break anywho... you might get less eggs but your hens will last longer and be happier and you know - happy hens make yummy eggs.
I think most birds don't mind the winter as much as we do.
So there's one opinion now wait for the deluge!

Farmer Kitty

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 18, 2007
I wrap my run with plastic for the winter. It keeps out the snow and nasty winter winds. I have a metal roof over my run but you can put some wire fencing across and then put tarps or plastic over it to keep the snow out too.


11 Years
Jun 7, 2008
Scappoose Oregon
Tsis is what I did for winter prep today. Here in the Pacific NW it's rain, rain, rain, until almost JUNE! So I wanted to give them a dry-ish outside space.

The frame work is bamboo poles held together with zip ties so it can be easily disassembled. The plastic is recycled after many uses so it's not pretty but it works. Neither the chickens nor ducks hesitated to come in out of our steady all day rain.



12 Years
Mar 23, 2007
Central Iowa
Living in Iowa we get harsh winters. All I do is have a heat lamp or two on near the waterers to keep them from freezing and I covered the top 1/4 of the entrance door with burlap and platic. I installed a small door to keep the larger door closed for this winter. I managed to keep the coop above freezing all winter long. I opened the door in the morning and shut it at night and kept it shut when it got below 0 degrees during the day. They knew when to go inside when it got too cold.

As for light, I use timers. I make sure they get 12 hours of light. They managed to get on the schedule and are still on it even through last spring and summer and now.

My concern this year is ventilation as I half 14 now instead of the 8 last winter. I'm working on an idea now for my call duck house also.



11 Years
Jun 13, 2008
We just spent part of the weekend putting plastic around most of the run. We managed to get the babies run and the 'sun room' of the coop done before the deluge hit. It made a big difference keeping things dry. My biggest worry is that the plastic will 'run'. We decided to put packing tape on the plastic and make small holes through the packing tape for thin wire to hold it to the run. That's the only thing we could come up with to keep the holes from running. We''ll see how it works.

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