Getting Ready for Winter in Central PA

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by meows2002, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. meows2002

    meows2002 New Egg

    Jul 31, 2011
    Any tips or advice?
    Here are some questions I have:
    May I use the warming lamp and bulb I bought when they were peeps to warm them in the coupe this winter?
    I will be going away for 2 weeks this winter. Is there a block or something i can use to feed them while I am away just in case people can't get to my house?
    I have no idea what to do for water. Since currently i have a gravity fed waterer and its always dirty that I must scrub and clean it everyday. I can tell you my helpers will not do that in the winter for me.

    Thanks. I have been looking on line, but everything swears it works, which confuses me so I was hoping to learn from others what really worked.

    thanks Lisa
  2. Carlislemom

    Carlislemom Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 10, 2011
    I am also a first time chicken owner in Central PA. Here's what I plan on doing:

    My chicken coop is in a corner of my barn. I will by layering straw on the floor. Currently have 1 bale. Plan on adding 1 towards the end of October. Then I'll have have 3 more to slowly add over the winter months. A shop light is on a timer for about 2 hours before the sun rises. I'll feed every morning (will keep the food in the outside run). Water will most likely also be outside (want that straw to stay dry) and will get replaced every morning and every day after school. They will get the chance to free range after school. I am thinking about putting some time of plastic or other outdoor covering on the bottom part of the run. The run goes from the ground to the overhang of the barn (ceiling of first floor).

    We still need to winterize the stall door. I think it will let to much air in.

    Any other suggestions from anyone????
  3. <3 N.C Chicken Chick <3

    <3 N.C Chicken Chick <3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2011
    Jacksonville N.C
  4. ams4776

    ams4776 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Im in western pa and my first winter. I do plan on covering most of the run with plastic to keep snow out. Also checking the water at least 3 times a day because of freezing. Going to use the layer method for the coop so the hay gives extra warmth. But ill be watching this for any other ideas.
  5. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    I'm in South Central but our winter set up is pretty easy. We cover 2 sides and the top of the run in heavy plastic to keep the snow out. This lets them go outside and not be stuck in the coop all winter. We also went to Walmart and just bought a heated dog bowl. We plug it in and it works great all winter long. We also just lay some hay down over the pine bedding. I also add scratch to their diet to keep them fat. This winter I am going to try out Black Oil Sunflower seeds too.

    If you did your research and got cold-hardy breeds they could be fine with just water. They are bred to be fine in temperatures that are below freezing. Just remember that they wear a down coat 24/7.
  6. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    In southern central pa here I just confine them to their coops, closing all the windows and ventholes and they are fine. I just fill the trough part of their waterer up, and it is even simpler if it is a plastic tub or dish - just knock the ice out. It usually takes a few hours for the water to freeze inside the coop during the day with the chickens all shut in even on the coldest days.

    I've kept my chickens through many winters and the two biggest concerns are making sure their bedding stays dry and applying vaseline as need on their combs if they start to get frostbitten (it really works [​IMG] )
  7. <3 N.C Chicken Chick <3

    <3 N.C Chicken Chick <3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2011
    Jacksonville N.C
    I'am in North Carolina near the beach. Some winters you can wear shorts and not ever snow, last winter it snowed like 3-4 times, one winter I wore shorts the day before it snowed. Its going to be an COLD winter here this year because I'am already wearing Pants, poor chickens I made them coats today
  8. DanyyChicken

    DanyyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Southern NH
    Those of you talking about refilling water everyday....what are the logistics of your set up. My birds are in a converted coop with an attached run. It is my first year as well. My main worries are how to get the water into the waterer and cleaning the bowls and such. Right now it is easy. I use the hose on the back side of the house (bout 20 ft away) but we typically drain that and turn of the water for the course of the winter. So I'm dreading the whole water issue. I do not have electricity in coop to run a water warmer and don't want to run an extension cord out there. I'm thinking I'll get about three different waterers and rotate them from basement to coop and back to let them thaw. I will not bring them into my living area of the home so I will have to lug warm water down basement stairs and out to refill or clean any thing. Yuck! I sure it will get tiring very quickly and I will be looking forward to spring more impatiently than usual.
    Has anyone ever use a solar sipper for chickens like they use for wildbirds? Is that an option or does it not work?
  9. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2011
    Well, from someone who deals with -20 to -30 in winter this is what I do...

    five gallon bucket, with nipples (we have 26 birds, 1 bucket w/ five nipples in it), and put a bird bath de-icer in it. Made a dunce cap looking thing out of metal fabric and covered it with cellophane to keep junk out of the water. I have a good size feeder that lasts them about 4 or 5 days (got that one that big cause I'm just lazy). I built an insulated storage box with a 130 gal spray tank in it that we have a stock heater in to fill the bucket via submersible pump. That way when I am away for my two or three week shifts, my wife only has to flip a switch to fill up water, and I can fill the tank when I get home.

    Heat lamps are really not necessary. We don't use one.

    Our chickens free range, so they have to be let out every day. Thank God for good neighbors!!

    I have pics of everything, and I am going to put them on the BYC home page thingy, at least I think I am. They are currently in a post called winter water if you would like to see how we handled our situation. May not work for ya, but it might give you some ideas on what to do.

    A 55 gallon drum with a stock tank heater in it will last about month (2 gallons per day used). Assuming about 15 to 25 birds. With a little submersible pump and a lid, you can store the hose, pump and everything in the barrel and only have to haul hose once in a while. Or run the hose up out of the bucket to a high point, and down into the bucket so it drains and just leave it in place. It may cost a bit of money, but there are few things in my book worse than slogging buckets in a snow storm with a boot full of water. I suppose my wife slogging buckets with a boot full of water would be worse...

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