Hi. First winter with chickens!

Dec 25, 2020
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27
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Hi. Happy holidays! I live in Wisconsin and got my first 4 chickens this past summer. Buffy is an Orphington, Rhoda is a Rhode Island Red, and Peggy Sue is an Americauna. Spice Girl is a Cinnamon Queen, but since she turned out to be a rooster, she went to live on her cousins farm, as our ordinance only allows hens. So far so good, however we have some questions about cold weather chicken care. I will ask here and, if allowed, post under the cold weather heading.
When we got the chicks, we purchased a 3X4X5 "Coop". The 5th foot in the length creates 3 nest boxes. My husband built a "run" that elevates the coop ~3 feet, allowing space under the coop and provides an enclosed 8X7X10 (15 including coop) area. It is completely enclosed with hardware cloth. Later my husband added an actual trussed roof which is covered with metal sheets. There is a ramp up to the coop and the door is open.
** Our problem is that the birds roost on one of the crossbeams in the "run". They only go into the "coop" to nest. My understanding is that huddled together in a smallish area will keep them warm. But they roost in the protected but open, drafty run. Do I put them in the coop and shut the door every night (which is a little traumatic - Ive tried) or will nature guide them to do what they need to stay warm if they have options? We bought a heated roost and ceramic heater/brooder, but they never use them. One of us thinks they don't need these, the other is very concerned that they will get too cold - I just want to do what is right. Thanks for any advice.
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jan 30, 2015
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Dec 25, 2020
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Hi. Happy holidays! I live in Wisconsin and got my first 4 chickens this past summer. Buffy is an Orphington, Rhoda is a Rhode Island Red, and Peggy Sue is an Americauna. Spice Girl is a Cinnamon Queen, but since she turned out to be a rooster, she went to live on her cousins farm, as our ordinance only allows hens. So far so good, however we have some questions about cold weather chicken care. I will ask here and, if allowed, post under the cold weather heading.
When we got the chicks, we purchased a 3X4X5 "Coop". The 5th foot in the length creates 3 nest boxes. My husband built a "run" that elevates the coop ~3 feet, allowing space under the coop and provides an enclosed 8X7X10 (15 including coop) area. It is completely enclosed with hardware cloth. Later my husband added an actual trussed roof which is covered with metal sheets. There is a ramp up to the coop and the door is open.
** Our problem is that the birds roost on one of the crossbeams in the "run". They only go into the "coop" to nest. My understanding is that huddled together in a smallish area will keep them warm. But they roost in the protected but open, drafty run. Do I put them in the coop and shut the door every night (which is a little traumatic - Ive tried) or will nature guide them to do what they need to stay warm if they have options? We bought a heated roost and ceramic heater/brooder, but they never use them. One of us thinks they don't need these, the other is very concerned that they will get too cold - I just want to do what is right. Thanks for any advice.
Thanks for the article suggestions!
 

RebelEgger

Free Ranging
May 10, 2020
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17,838
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Chester, Nova Scotia
My Coop
My Coop
:welcome
Hello from Nova Scotia and welcome to BYC! You’ve joined a great and resourceful community! Enjoy your journey!
 

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