How to Prepare Your Flock For Winter 101 *Official Thread*

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mrs. Fluffy Puffy, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    I thought it might be nice to start a thread about how to get your flock ready for winter. Just post your ideas on how best to keep your flock warm in winter etc. [​IMG]
    Here is my plan:
    I plan on tarping up all my coops/hutches to keep the drafts out, and of course I'll hang heat-lamps in each pen. I am trying to decide how best to keep their water un-frozen. [​IMG]
    I guess I either need to hang a lamp over the waterer or get one of those "Heating Thingy's" for waterers you can buy! [​IMG]
    Post all your ideas here! [​IMG]
    When you post your ideas please say which state you're from.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    In past years, I put a heat lamp over their water. In the winter, their waterer is a black rubber water/feed dish that you can buy at your local feed store. I put a big rock in it so they don't tip it when the perch on the edge. I have a large coop - 8x8 - and just leave them in there for the winter. They're snug and warm and have plenty of room and natural light from the windows. This year I'm thinking of putting in a heated water dish and having a timer on a light so it's not on all the time. Haven't decided for sure yet.
  3. karen

    karen In the Brooder

    Apr 1, 2007
    I have hade my current coop for 5 years now and over that time I learned to prioritize 'wintering the girls' in this order...

    All of the feed they want, Layer pellets, scratch, sunflower seeds and oyster shell (especially when there is snow on the ground)

    Fresh water. I use a base heater for the waterer.

    A thick floor of bedding for insulation.

    A solid roof.

    Fresh air in the daytime (even when it is snowy)

    As long as they had access to plenty of feed and water they have weathered some pretty cold nights.
    Last year my rooster got a bit of frostbite on the tip of his comb-but it healed just fine.
    I buy them a vegan birdseed cake with peanuts in it to keep them busy when they are shut in because of too much snow.
    No heat lamps, I use a little oil filled heater for those sub zero nights.
  4. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    See my BYC page for pics of my Coop/Run. For winter, I close the windows.
  5. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    One of my coops has wire over the whole front, so I'm thinking about tarping that one up. The #2 Coop has wire at the bottom so I guess I'll have to tarp that one up to. [​IMG] The my "Guinea Hutch" will probably have to be tarped up as well! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    And my "Broody Hutch" I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it yet? [​IMG]
  6. kickinchicken

    kickinchicken Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Rhode Island
    I've actually decided to build them a new coop this summer to help them winter over better. I have one ornamental hen (a Sultan) that isn't cold hardy, so its more for her. I am almost done with a 4x8 coop with 3 windows, a pop door and a human door. I am making plexi-glass windows with rubber edging so that it has a tight seal when I close them up. I am insulating with 1 inch styrofoam and caulking any and all gaps that might be present. The coop has lots of ventilation ABOVE the roost bar but I am going to build some covers for those as well. We get some nasty winters in New England. I am buying a ceramic bowl heater to put under their water container. The run will be completely covered with that fiberglass green roofing to avoid mucky feet and ensure a nice dry place to hang out during the day. The run is going to be behind our main shed so there is LOTS of solid protection from wind. I am trying to endure as much dryness as possible. Oh, and I am adding some of those screw-in loops for a chain to hang a heat lamp as well.
    And, because I treat my hens like my babies, I am also buying chicken diapers for my 5 girls so that I can bring them in on the wicked cold nights....and for my own entertainment.
  7. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I wrote an article about this last winter, and should write a follow-up for it. I'll be watching here for suggestions!!

    Here's last year's article: How to deal with cold & your chickens
  8. Lovable Chicks

    Lovable Chicks Songster

    Jun 23, 2010
    I just need to close windows. But I was thinking of adding a tarp to my run...close it all in.
  9. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    i hope to learn how to protect my chickens over the winter months

    do you complete close up your run during the winter months
    with plastic or traps or only on north west sides?
    Li'lFlock likes this.
  10. Siler

    Siler Songster

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Indiana
    I'm glad this popped up. When do I start to feed them extra? Last year they did just fine, but of course I'd like to keep on improving. When do you start to bulk them up on food as in reference to the first hard freeze?

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