How should I divide the flock for winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nutmeg259, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. nutmeg259

    nutmeg259 Out Of The Brooder

    44
    0
    34
    Jul 13, 2014
    I'll preface this by saying that I live in Maine, we have long, cold winters! [​IMG][​IMG]

    This is my first year owning chickens and I've experienced a bit of 'chicken math', so to speak. My flock currently consists of 4 LF adult laying hens, two 15 week giant pullets, and two 9 week old blue salmon favorelles (one pullet and one Roo.) The gals who are laying are accustomed to free ranging for part of the day.

    I currently have two chicken coops. One is 8x5 with an 8x6 run. The other is a 4x4 with an attached 8x8 pen. Both runs could be weather proofed to cut down on snow and wind. I know that chickens will huddle together for warmth, but I'm unsure of the best way to divide the flock for winter, having the baby Roo further complicates matters. I've toyed with the idea of attaching the runs and leaving the coops open on either end and letting them decide where to sleep. I've also considered adding two more chickens (if somebody twists my arm [​IMG]) and that way four could stay in the tiny coop and 6 in the main coop. I'm still not sure when the rooster (9 weeks) will start mating with the hens.

    What would you do??
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    18,887
    6,293
    526
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    I would combine the coops/runs as you suggested, and let them work out their own sleeping arrangements. Personally, unless you have a compelling reason to add to your flock as you're approaching winter, I'd not do it. Birds need a lot more room than we think they do to avoid winter aggression and behavior problems. Besides, I just know that you'll have the itch to get some new birds in the spring!!! Looks like we're headed for an other early winter with lots of cold weather!
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,531
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm leaning this way also.

    Plus, as someone who currently had six different pens set up, cut that down as much as you can in the winter! The fewer water containers you have to fill, the better.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by