Help first winter with chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kalbert12, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. kalbert12

    kalbert12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
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    I have 3 RIR and buffs orp mix and 2 speckled Sussex mix my RIR are 6-7 months old and the SS are 13 weeks they are not together two different coops because we just got the SS so tonight's temp is going to be 13 degrees windchill below 0 by morning what should I do for my chickens to prepare them for the cold?? Take inside? Leave out side in coop?? We have added extra hay sawdust and have the coop ventilated but it's still really cold.... Id hate for my girls to freeze
    Please help [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. McKinneyMike

    McKinneyMike Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it is not drafty and it is ventilated (i know that makes not sense on the surface) they will be fine. You need air to be able to vent from the coop to stop frost bite from their breathing and pooping causing excessive moisture to hang in the air. They need to be out of breezes though where they are roosting.
     
  3. kalbert12

    kalbert12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Mass
    They are it vents above there head :)
     
  4. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Taylors, SC
    Windchill applies only to exposed skin, of which chickens have none. Chickens, as do all animals, become acclimated to the changes in the climate as the seasons progress. When winter comes, they are all set. Provide them with shelter that has adequate ventilation without drafts, and they will be fine.

    You might post your location, so that we might have a better feel for the environment where your chickens live.
     
  5. kalbert12

    kalbert12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
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    Mass
     
  6. pbarr86

    pbarr86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2013
    Holliston, MA
    I am also in Mass. I'm not using any heat in my coop. The girls actually slept out in the run Saturday night which is much colder than the henhouse. I think alot of it has to do with the layout of your coop and how it is built. People like to point out in the forums that there are members on here in Canada and Alaska that do not use any heat in their coops either..

    Here is a pic of my coop almost ready for winter, during the summer the lattice is off but during the winter I sandwich plastic between the hardware cloth and the lattice board to stop the snow and wind from getting into the run. All I do to the henhouse is close the windows.

    For extra entertainment I have a couple of dropcams installed so I can keep an eye on them..

    http://dropc.am/p/coop1
    http://dropc.am/p/coop2


    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Dadroot

    Dadroot New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    Hello from Colorado!

    This is also my first winter with chickens. I searched and read and then searched and read some more as winter approached regarding how to warm the coop for the ladies, (my five hens) and the majority of the info I read said that they'll do fine as long as they're out of the direct wind and have a place to huddle together. Most everything I found said (besides the obvious fire hazards) that any kind of electric heating would be a terrible idea, especially if the ladies got used to that and we lost our power for some time... a fairly common affair here in Arvada during the winter.

    I put up a bit tarp as a wind break on the western exposure of their pen, as that's the direction the wind blows from as a norm and bought an inexpensive heater waterer (er?) so I wouldn't be out there chipping ice out their watering dish all winter long.
    Two weeks ago we had our first below zero night and I was like a nervous father... I kept checking on my ladies without opening up the coop door. (X-ray vision would have helped)


    The next morning all five of them were out pacing around their pen like normal, waiting impatiently for me and my fuzzy jammies and bunny slippers to come out and feed them like always. Looks like we're going to do just fine here in Colorado.
     
  8. Dadroot

    Dadroot New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    Nice looking coop PBARR! The cams are an excellent idea, too. We have large dogs, so I ended up put a ten foot by ten foot dog run around the coop. Ironically, I use a dog run to keep the dogs out of the chicken run, but that's another story. We had chickens when I was a kid and I've always told me kids stories about them, and so for fathers day this past year my kids all decided that dad needed hens. Appearantly my life wasn't complicated enough. Hahaha! This has been a real blast, however, and we finally stared getting an egg a day from one of the ladies.
    That means I have four slackers, but I have noticed the whole hen house becoming more vocal the last few days...
    perhaps that means the others will start laying soon?


    What has been your experience?
     
  9. pbarr86

    pbarr86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2013
    Holliston, MA
    I am a first timer, my wife grew up with chickens and wanted to get them again. my job was to build the coop but then I got a bit out of hand with power and webcams and automatic doors etc lol

    I have lights in the run and henhouse but those are just for me to turn on if I go out there at night, I do not have them on at all normally I just let the girls get natural light of day.

    We have 6 hens that are 5months old this week, we got our first egg at 4months 9 days old.. and we are getting about 3 eggs a day at this point. it would seem from my reading that on average they start laying around 5-6 months old but with that said they generally start slowing down egg production during the winter when the daylight is shorter.

    Some people will push their hens to lay with artificial light during with winter adding light 14hrs a day... I am fine with them naturally slowing down and resting during the winter but they better start giving me a half dozen a day when spring rolls around ;)
     
  10. Dadroot

    Dadroot New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    It's been a blast so far... The day that I had my very first egg, I calculated the cost of the coop, the feed, and the water, etc. and discovered that I did, indeed have the golden egg. That first egg cost $750 .
    The good news is, at this rate I only need to sell the eggs for $9,000 per dozen to break even. LOL


    How many dozen can I put you down for?
     

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