Great Horny Toads
- Jul 16, 2015
Hello neighbor. That coop is going to be a nightmare for winter, especially if we get lots of snow or long cold spells. Some days chickens stay inside due to the weather. Your chickens will probably start pecking each other under confinement.This will be our first winter with chickens and I have a few questions. First off attached is the coop we are using for 4 hens. We live in south central Wisconsin and get some pretty blustery, frigid winters. The coop is located in the corner next to a 6 foot tall wooden fence and a garage so there should be some wind protection.
My main concern is that the chute has no covering either inside where they roost or at the bottom in the run area, and I am worried about the cold coming up into the top roost area. Should we make a door for the bottom, making one for inside would be too cumbersome and get covered in poop/bedding. If we do put a door should we also add extra ventilation in the top roost area, currently there are 3 holes at the roost end and we could add three to the nest box end.
Also I was thinking of getting something to cover the lower slanted sides where the hardware cloth is, in order to keep the snow out of the run area and provide some more wind protection during the day. Maybe corrugated roofing?
Currently the coop is attached to a pallet on the base to keep it from sitting in wet mud as well as to keep predators out, but this way the hens cannot scratch. Not a big deal right now as they have access to a much larger fenced in area during the day, but come winter I feel like they may spend more time in the lower run when the rest of their space is covered in feet of snow. Not sure if we should make more of a foot print border to attach to the bottom of the coop (with a buried hardware cloth apron) so they can access the dirt or if the frozen ground will even appeal to them. I don't think putting this coop directly on the ground is the best idea as far as longevity is concerned as their run area is pretty wet/muddy in the fall/spring and the coop is made of fir wood.
Last thing, not related to the cold but I was thinking we should divide the nest box in two, will a hen lay if there is already an egg in the nest box? (only one of our hens is laying right now, just started, and will probably stop as the daylight lessens. The others may not even start till spring.)
Where do you keep the food and water? You have some thinking to do as I don't think it will be practical to leave them in that set up all winter unfortunately.