How to winterise

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chicken Girl, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. Chicken Girl

    Chicken Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 31, 2008
    Wisconsin
    How do you winterise your coop? last year was my first winter with chickens. i am a little person not very strong lol. any ideas! easyer way to bring down food and water? how do i keep the smell down? And were do i buy all of the stuff? thanks guys! you are a big help!




    Chicken Girl
     
  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, I don't have water at my coop either, (been this way for 40 years! lol) and have to haul it down. Hilly property, winter snow and ice can be a pain. As far as hauling down feed, I use a children's sled when there's snow, or even just frozen ground. I get a cheap plastic one, that may or not make it to the following year. Summer I use a wheelbarrow, but winter, go with a sled. I have access to water not -too- far away, I can run a hose most of the year, but for winter, I haul it in two buckets, each about half full for less slopping as well as better balance.

    If that's too much for you, you could save gallon jugs, fill them and drag them on the sled too.

    As far as winterizing walls and windows etc, without more info about what your coop is like, that's kinda hard to say.

    This year, I am going to get some of that foam-core insulation boards and lay them in the rafters, as a sort of 'baffle' for air circulation. There will still be air going up to the upper vents, but it will be shifted around the insulation which will not be 'tight'. I'm not sure why I think this will help, it just seems right, I'll find out and I can easily shift it around or remove it if need be! I've been blocking lower cracks and crevices etc, the pop door may get some of those plastic curtain slats to baffle incoming cold too, (like they use in grocery cold rooms). This is a new coop in the same old location, so I'm going to have some learning room all over again. (old coop was just too far gone, went for some years unoccupied and neglected)

    hope that helps and others will have some ideas too!
     
  3. Chicken Girl

    Chicken Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It does help! We got are first snow last night!!!!!! [​IMG] If you go to my page thing there is pics of my coop. Thank you so much! I think i will do the little pop door thing thins year. I will have to talk to my dad! Thank you so much!


    Chicken Girl
     
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ahh, that's a nice coop, I remember looking at your site before and admiring it. You do have room for additional birds later, just don't go crazy all at once, you may find some breed or chicks you really really really want, so always try to be selective! (just my advice from my own experience, it's crummy when your coop is already too full and you find ones you really really want!).

    One thing is, it may be sort of 'open' which means the girls won't be able to huddle up for warmth. Not sure how would be best to fix them up with a 'huddle space' for really cold nights, I've seen where people pile up some hay or straw bales for them to snuggle in. You'd have room for that if need be and it gets really cold,(I lived in WI one year, some little town, not too far from Heartland WI so I KNOW it can!)

    Thing about using hay bales that way, it gives LOTS room for mice and things, so don't leave them there too long past the really cold weather! That's all just a thought for you to keep in mind if you see they're struggling in the cold. It's a temporary fix for a temporary problem, spring does come after all!
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    The best way to deal with feed is probably to have a large feeder, or a securely lidded trashcan that can store a whole bag o' feed, and drag feed out there in a closed waterproof container on a sled. (You can put a regular sack o' feed inside a plastic bag, so moisture from wet snow getting onto the sled doesn't cause the feed to go moldy later). THis way you don't have to carry feed very *often*.

    For water, IMHO the best way of transporting water if you have to carry it is in those tall square kitty litter buckets. (Nowadays they sell some other things in that style bucket too). The lids snap on pretty securely -- a little bit of water can still slosh out if you are too cavalier in how you carry them but it is a WHOLE lot better than trying to carry water in open buckets! You can also put lidded buckets onto a sled (carefully... as they are rather tall adn tippy...) or into a wheelbarrow.

    If you are having a smell problem, you have insufficient ventilation, which is not just a problem in terms of smell but in terms of increasing your risk of frostbitten chickens. (They will get frostbite at milder temperatures with *humid* air than they would in dry well-ventilated air). Make sure the ventilation is not creating a draft at the chickens - long openings at the tops of walls, closeable according to the day's weather (sometimes you'll want only the downwind vents open) is a good system. See my ventilation page (link in .sig below) for more on the subject.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. cowpunkmom

    cowpunkmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2009
    I'm new to chicken land, and live in Alberta, Canada.

    We have 3 ISO Brown's rescued from a chicken factory. We have transformed a 10x5 playhouse into their coop, with a perch and a nesting box. I have wood shavings on the floor, and we just installed a 250W infrared heating light, as it is already -10C (20F for my American friends) during the day!!

    Thoughts on whether I should add a "huddle space" inside, made from hay bales as was suggested? They seem very happy to head outside during the day, even at such chilly temperatures with the snow falling...but I wonder if they could possibly be warm enough at night. The light makes me feel a little better....but still! How hardy are these darn birds anyway?
     
  8. Chicken Girl

    Chicken Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wisconsin
    A heating lamp will help a lot. I had one ON all winter and i had a little space heater. They light will also help with egg laying. SO you should get a light! lol You can PM to if you have other Qs!


    Chicken Girl
     
  9. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens can withstand very cold temps as long as they are allowed to accustom themselves to it throughout the fall and early winter.

    The problem with using very much heat in a coop is if they are dependent on it and you have a power outage of more than a few hours (we had a 3 day one last year) your chickens will be totally unable to deal with it. I strongly suggest people have chicken breeds suitable to their climate and allow them to be chickens, not hothouse flowers.

    0F/-17C in a dry, non drafty coop is doable if the space isn’t too large. 20F/-7C is absolutely ok if the birds are suited to the climate. Birds with large combs or light feathers might have more trouble below freezing, but it’s not insurmountable. There are electric plugs out there that control the temp at which heat sources turn on, and having something to help may be ok, just know that keeping the coop too warm is a double edged sword. More bacteria thrive, moisture is increased, birds become too dependent and loss of electric etc is a real danger in snow country as I’m sure you all know.

    Do what you can now, but don't OVERDO! Make sure your ventilation is good (without being drafty of course) don't 'winterize' to the point that the coop is sealed up tight!! That's the WORST mistake and will guarantee dead birds! Think ahead so you can be prepared later.

    **ok, stepping down off the soapbox now** [​IMG]
     
  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    A huddle space might make *you* feel better. You'll know if they use it whether they *need* it. We had some awful weather last winter with prolonged cold spells involving -40C chill factors. Occasionally the birds would cluster on their sleeping platform but that was not unusual- they are congenial little hens. Plus they have well-bedded nest boxes that would serve in an emergency.

    I agree about keeping them dry and draft-free- the coldest the coop got was -6C and we have a heated dog bowl and the coop is insulated and well-vented.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009

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