How to keep birds clean, warm, and water from freezing?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by reveriereptile, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. reveriereptile

    reveriereptile Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Northern NY
    I have all of my birds in the barn but it still does get cold in there. We made a coop out of an old concrete silage that was torn most of the way down to about 5-6 foot tall. It has a metal pointed roof on it, the door (metal wire) is inside the barn where the cows are, and has a light from the ceiling. There were holes where the concrete and roof meets that we stuffed hay in. We have nests and roosts for them to get on. We put hay on the floor but they just trample it into the other old hay and poop. We have chickens, 2 muscovy ducks, and a giant white tom turkey in there. We are having a hard time keeping the floor dry and the water from freezing especially if the wind is blowing towards the silage. The turkey is to big to fly to roost, the ducks haven't been roosting even with the lowest roost only being 5 inches off the floor, and the younger chickens lay near the door during the day instead of roosting. So the birds are getting all covered in poop. It's already been around -8 at night but from what my father-in-law said that some winters can get almost -20 below. We have other turkeys in a warmer pen right now. We tried to have the chickens in it last year but they kept finding or making holes to get out. My big RIR/Leghorn roo has gotten the tips of his comb frozen. I'm not sure what to do with the chickens since the floor is so wet with poop. We have one spot we try to pile the hay in to make it thick for them to get on but it doesn't last long. There is also a long big cage we built for the young chicks when they out grown their box that we have stuffed hay and nests into it. I don't know how everyone keeps their birds clean during the winter and summer. Mine are outside in a huge fenced area and they still get dirty. The older ones even fly over the fence and go out into the camel field and under the apple trees. We've been laying cardboard boxes down also for them to roost and walk on.

    Here's some pictures of them.
    RIR hen nesting.
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    RIR/leghorn roo with his frozen tips and he had been in a fight so that's some of the reddish color on the back of his neck.
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    My dirty turkey and other birds.
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  2. ebonykawai

    ebonykawai Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pine shavings are much better than hay, you can turn them and keep them dry. Make it about a foot deep. Get some Stall Dry, too. It's not that difficult to keep things dry.

    You can't keep the water from freezing in these temps unless you have a heated dog bowl or something. I have 2 regular waterers that I swap out during the day to keep the birds watered. I also have a heated dog bowl in their run.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  3. Southerngirl

    Southerngirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    It was 15 here last night. We have 2 heat lamps with the red bulbs turned on at night to keep them warm on their roosts at night. We have the lights elevated about 2 1/2 feet above them. When I checked them this morning all were dry and fine. Also we use the pine shavings instead of hay. The hay is so much messier than the shavings. I have tried both and only use the pine shavings which you should be able to buy at your local feed store in huge bags. Our coop stays much cleaner because we also seperated our ducks and chickens into different pens.
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    The concrete gives excellent draft protection (we have it but covered it) but tends to promote condensation, and the hay/straw collects it. I agree about shavings, and maybe next spring or summer you could raise the floor over gravel and use shavings. I bet you'd notice a HUGE difference.

    Do you have electricity out there- these are great for watering, you need to raise to the level of the birds' backs. We put ours on 3 cinder blocks and a patio block.

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    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  5. reveriereptile

    reveriereptile Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Northern NY
    Thanks for the replies. I think we have some old saw dust in the upper barn and have some Amish saw mills around we could get some at. Yes, we have electricity where the birds are.
     
  6. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    I also keep my coop in a foot of pine chips. I havn't had to turn it once. The chickens keep scratching in it and keep it turned themselves. It stays dry as a bone in there. Just make sure they are PINE or FUR shavings. Cedar chips and dust will kill them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008

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