HELP! Its our first winter with hens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by willow31way, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. willow31way

    willow31way New Egg

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    Apr 24, 2012
    Manasquan New Jersey
    This is our first winter raising hens and are looking for a little guidance. We have four sex-link hens and two rhode island reds. Our coop has an small enclosed run attached to the hen house itself and is inside a 12x15x7 pen. It sits pretty much smack dab between our house, the back house apartment and 10 foot arborvitaes grow behind it giving it a decent amount of protection from the elements.

    OUR PLAN:
    Wrap 3mm plastic around the outside of the run to keep the wind out.
    Our hens already drink from a multi hen watering system that has a heating pad we will attached.
    Create a small den out of stacks of hay bales that can be covered with a trap to create more protection if needed.
    Heat lamp from when they were chicks.

    QUESTIONS:
    Do we need to also cover the small run attached to the bottle of our coop?
    How will we know if we need to use our heat lamp?
    If we want our hens to lay year round do we need a different type of lighting?
    Should we also buy a 300 foot thermometer to install inside the actual hen house so we can monitor the exact temp?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Welcome to BYC.

    First, yes, there are things you can do to prepare for winter. But, perhaps I can cause you to relax a whole lot.

    Our climate is far, far colder than NJ. Our barn is not heated and we also keep Red Sex Links and Rhode Island Reds. They do just fine. They are covered by nature with a thick down coat. They keep themselves warm with no added heat needed. Good food and a dry, draft free home and they do just fine. Chickens have been kept in New England, the Midwest and in Canada for hundreds of years without any supplemental heat at all. The chicken is very hardy. I hope that helps and gives you a sense of calm about the future.
     
  3. willow31way

    willow31way New Egg

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    7
    Apr 24, 2012
    Manasquan New Jersey
    Thanks a bunch!!
     
  4. lucy7

    lucy7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 7, 2012
    Northern Minnesota
    this is our first year as well I read that if you want your chickens to lay year round put kiann pepper in their water and use a heat lamp.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Heat lamps can be VERY expensive to operate and also represent a sobering fire hazard. Many more chickens die in fires than will ever die of cold. The fact is that first year pullets lay very well their first year, as it is their youthful propensity to do so, and there is no need for gimmicks. Older birds will moult and take time to re-charge and rest.


    Use these weeks to prepare the coop and run for the cold and wind. Install some kind of system for non-freezing watering. There are quite a few options.
     
  6. willow31way

    willow31way New Egg

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    Apr 24, 2012
    Manasquan New Jersey
    I would like to stay as far away from lamps as we can. Im afraid of the fire hazard, especially because we live on a little tiny homestead the size of a post-it note. We already have a 5 gallon watering system the girls seem to really so we bought the heater for the same product. As for the pepper in the water, I think we'll pass on that. Were not running a Breaking Bad homestead. ha
     

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