Igloo style wind barrier / snowy run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lisababes, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. lisababes

    lisababes Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 26, 2010
    Madison, WI
    Its been getting cold and snowy, but the crazy BO's were still braving the below zero temps to sit outside in the wind. Red Stars said forget it, and stayed in the coop. Looks like one of the BO's got a touch of frostbite on her comb, so I decided to put up some wind barriers. Looking at material options (plexi, plywood, plastic, bales, etc), I suddenly realized there was free snow everywhere, so I started igloo-izing the run. Anyone had success with this? I'm hoping it cuts down wind and rogue snow.
    I decided to do three sides of the run: I covered the West side of the run with some plywood signage I had laying around, and piled up snow on the N and E sides. Left only the S side of the run open for sunbathing. Top of the run is covered w temporary plastic/plywood sheeting. So it is a little shadier in the run now, but I think it will do the job? This is our first winter so it is all an experiment so far.


    non snowy version for reference:

    Now to try to keep their toes from freezing while standing on snow (they hate snow). They look a little bit redder than normal. I tried to remove the majority of the snow in the run when building the snow-walls, but there's no getting around the fact that the ground is cold. Up in the coop we use wood chips, but I feel like hay or woodchips down below could get really nuts/soggy after a whole winter? Outdoor perches are 2x2" and indoor roost is 2x4" w 2" side up. I know people say to have the 4" side up, but they never sat on it when it was that way. Maybe if I try it again they'll change their minds...
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Looks like a good idea, as long as you leave a good portion open for ventilation, as indeed you have (otherwise the resulting humidity problem will be even worse than if you covered the whole run with plastic).

    Very ingenious! [​IMG]

    (e.t.a. - try putting straw or dead grass or, if you must, hay on the floor of the run. Yes, it will get skanky over time, but come the thaw you can remove it and replace with fresh stuff if necessary)

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  3. savingdogs

    savingdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good idea! I'll have to chalk your idea down here in my memory banks.....we get deep snow sometimes too and making a windbreak like that is an excellent use of available materials!
  4. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    I have an a-frame style run which is very hard to catch chickens in [​IMG] but works perfectly now that it's cold and snowy; we covered the long sides with plastic and one end most of the way up, left a ventilation hole at the top of that end and left the end that butts up to the coop open. No snow in the run, it heats up like a little chicken greenhouse when the sun is out, and the plastic blocks the wind. I did put straw down on the floor of their run to keep their feet off the cold ground and I have some seriously happy chickens. [​IMG]
  5. Aria

    Aria Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 15, 2010
    Will try to post run covered with tarps. Bottom l[​IMG]eft open for circulation.
  6. lisababes

    lisababes Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 26, 2010
    Madison, WI
    Thanks all! I'll put down some sort of organic material in the run, and maybe they'll be good to go! They were out there today, sitting on their perch (off the snow). They just really prefer to be outside if it is tolerable, it seems. Bunch of little sun-worshipers! So far they seem to be doing ok down to 10*F outside. I'm sure they'd probably prefer 40*F , but who wouldnt?! [​IMG]

    I was planning to only use accessory heat in the coop when it gets really really cold (below zero). Or should I give them a little boost of heat inside to keep it 20s/30s? Seems 4 chickens don't really heat it up that much on their own.

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