Is my coop big enough for winter??

AUChick9202

Chirping
Apr 9, 2011
187
0
99
Utah
Hi,

We just got chickens this spring. We have a 4' x 4' raised coop for our 5 hens. The coop sits in our side yard and the chickens free-range in the yard all day. Right now, they only use the coop at night to sleep in. Their food and water are both outside under the coop. We live in northern UT, so the winters here are cold and we get lots of snow. I just wanted to find out from some other cold-weather chicken owners, do you think this coop with be sufficient for winter? Do they still come out and free-range during the winter months? Will I need to bring the food and water inside the coop during the winter? If so, that will take up considerable space in the coop. I just need to alert my husband now if I need the coop to be enlarged, so it will be ready before the first snow hits! Thanks!
 

Gullygarden

Chirping
Jul 2, 2011
209
5
99
I don't live in cold weather but I have seen some nasty and almost lethal pecking behavior from confined hens - 6 hens in a 4 by 10 foot tractor nearly killed each other, so if they do not have sheltered spaces to range in, I would definitely build more room! They get bored and the bad habits are hard to get rid of.
 

Alethea

Songster
May 23, 2011
915
5
111
It sounds pretty cramped, especially once you add food, water, grit plate, nesting box. You might want to enlarge their summer cabin into a winter lodge. Bok.
 

Noymira

Songster
Mar 9, 2011
978
3
121
Chittenden County, VT
Maybe find a way to extend and winterize their run? Some clear roofing panels, or thick plastic would help keep some wind/snow out on the sides. They will probably need more space in the winter than just what your coop provides.
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium member
Short answer is no, IF you get snow that is deep and stays on the ground for weeks. The boredom of being confined in such a small space is quite tough.
Our flock had to spend almost a month straight inside the barn last winter. We have an 12x12 indoor "play ground" for them, outside of their 12x20 pen. They love going outside on those warm, sunny winter days when the snow has temporarily shrunk back. Sadly, those nice days are too few and far between.
 
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