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Help The Chicken Newbie

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Frickenchickens, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Frickenchickens

    Frickenchickens In the Brooder

    Jun 30, 2011
    We got chickens in June. They are just about egg-laying age right now. I wanted 5, got talked into 6, when we went to buy them it somehow became 7. Their enclosure is 4x8', just wood frame and chicken wire, with a 2x4' coop up in the corner, with an aluminum roof over the whole business. So all told, they have 32' of outside space and 8' inside. The coop has 2 (big) nest boxes and a dowel to roost on, and the floor below the boxes is just chicken wire. The door is just a chicken-sized hole in the wall. I feel like this is not quite adequate for the size of our flock, but the only option is to lose a few hens.

    Now that fall has arrived and it's getting colder I worry about their comfort. My plan is to install a real floor in the coop and maybe some sort of flap for the door so they at least have a space that is completely enclosed at night, and my husband says he'll wrap the whole run with a tarp when it gets really cold, and put a heat lamp in there. When do we need to start that? It's been pretty cold around here (Western Washington) the last few nights, but not freezing. I don't really know anything about chickens, so I don't know what kind of temperatures they can take.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated!

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello! The main thing to worry about in cold weather is drafts. Using a heat lamp can make them dependant on an unnatural heat source, and that can make them less tolerant to mother nature. So if you can eliminate any drafts inside the coop, but still have ventilation, you're in good shape. I usually put tarps around my chicken run too during the winter months.
  3. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    5 month old pullets need no heat. The birds system is very strong. The feathers are water proof they fluff up to barrier the cold. They bundle together to hold the heat in. 2 to 3 chickens will use 1 nest box if its large enough. The girls are used to being together, huddling together, eating together and sleeping together. Laying eggs will not be much different. Good luck. Just let things work out and they will. 7 girls is not a lot.
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:Chickens can take a lot of cold, but there is more involved than just the temperature. Drafts, ventilation, humidity, weather, number of birds, breed, cold hardiness. And whether or not they are spoiled pets.
    Your space is tight- that will help with the cold, but might increase the risk of boredom and pecking. Watch closely. I also just have a pop hole rather than a door. I block it on the very coldest nights.
    I just saw your in my neck of the woods. Yes it has been cold the last couple nights. I'm expecting frost anytime now.
    I do use a little supplemental heat, to keep the damp off, and keep the water from freezing
    Only you can decide if heat is appropriate for your chickens. If you do be sure it is safe.

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