Hmm, now my chickens are in the dark!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by thndrdancr, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Songster

    Mar 30, 2007
    Belleville, Kansas
    Well, I have been trying to winterize my little pen. You all know I got free hay bales to put around them. Well dh brought home a nice piece of white canvas as well, that fits over the top of my pen. This also means that when I covered it today, and put the hay around it (20 bales, oh my) it make the coop AND the pen quite dark.
    They are out there now, quite ticked off and I am unhappy too. I cant see them when I look out the window, and they cant see whats going on in the world, nor get sunshine. They have fresh air, as I havent covered the front (the south side) but I have them on the north and east side of the house. (Not a good place I know, but I wanted them close to the front door, as I bring them traipsing in at night to sleep.)
    Is there a happy medium? I am torn between keeping them warm and letting them have sun. I wouldnt HAVE to have the canvas on top, it IS white at least, but if I dont have something, then rain and snow will get in the pen. I usually have it covered with a white board, but they get sun and air thru the sides. Now that I have the hay around to block wind and for warmth...well give me sugestions. My girls cant handle anything below about 35. They ARE spoiled yea.
  2. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    You could put in some heavy duty clear plastic. Then they could see out and get some sunlight. I also have in my coop a 7 watt bulb that I leave on 24/7 for some light. It is real dim like a nightlight.
  3. Do you have electricity to your coop?

    You can get them a UVB light fixture. It simulates the sun. We use it for our parrot during the winter months to keep him ungrumpy also for our Bearded Dragon lizards. You can buy them in bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2007
  4. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    How cold is it there Jill?

    Mine are still doing ok, no fancy winterizing. I have a thermometer set up in the coop and I can monitor from the kitchen.... Perhaps I should put some hay bales in the coop.....
    I need to cover my run, we have wire over it but I want to try prevent the snow from covering the entire run, I will put up a tarp or something to help with that.

    We're expecting to go down to 28 tonight, its not the coldest its been - we had an 18 night not so long ago...
  5. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Songster

    Mar 30, 2007
    Belleville, Kansas
    Yea, well my babies are spoiled and I keep them inside at night. I really intended to put them out, but when we set the havahart trap and caught 13 possums in 14 nights, I just didnt have the heart, not to mention my Fussy cries her heart out, as she is scared of the dark. I KNOW they would get accustomed to it, but I think I would really miss them chattering to me at night when we sit in the kitchen now that we are used to it.
    Yea, wildsky, love your name. I know it got down to 18 that one night, and thats the day Fussy came in crying her lil heart out, sobbing uncontrollably, I really think she WAS sobbing. I thought for sure she was gonna die, she was making coughing, wheezing noises and her nose was runny, so Mom quick cooked her some warm rice and we held her (which she usually doesnt like) and snuggled her up and I told her I wouldnt put her out on a day like that again. Go figure, this chicken has so many feathers she looks like a pomeranian or chow compared to my other one, the red x link, but Red is HOT blooded, she was just fine with the temps.

    anyhow, I DID have heavy duty plastic stapled around the run, but without something to hold it, it just keeps coming undone in the wind. I am sure wildsky is familiar with some of our wind and we really havent had any doozies of windy days yet either. sigh... I might take the canvas off, since it makes it so dark, and just leave the hay. Not sure, I will post pics later to show you guys, then ask for suggestions. They still have a door open to the south, with a LITTLE bit of sun coming in, but they are pushed right up against it. [​IMG] Frankly, if I was a chicken, I wouldnt like it either. hmmm...
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    What if you rearrange the haybales so they're just on 3 sides of the pen, leaving the south or southeast side (depending on your winds) open. First, it will make a sort of 'sun trap' that will help warm up the ground during the day, and second of course it will let in much more light.

    Then make a wooden frame, the size of the un-hay-covered side, and cover it with heavy plastic. Nail battens on both sides of the plastic to minimize flapping -- if you have any old scraps of farm fence or even chickenwire, sandwiching the plastic between them will decrease flapping even more. You'd use this plastic-covered 'wall' to cover the open side during nasty weather.

    Come to think of it, if you do have some scraps of any kind of wire mesh or chickenwire fencing, you could make the same sort of framed, mesh-plastic-mesh thing to use as a roof instead of your tarp, tho you might want to bunge the tarp on top during bad storms.

    Good luck,


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