Just Getting Started in MN

Sotabrew

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 5, 2013
20
1
31
St Paul, MN
Hey Everyone!

I just built my first coop & run and I am picking up my 4 hens this Saturday. We are getting 4 - 6 month old hens that are a mix of a Plymouth Rock Hen and a Barnevelder Rooster. We ended up building a 4x4 coop with a 7x4 run attached. I plan on extending the run with time and made one of the walls on the coop removable, in case we decide to add on down the road. :)

Living in MN I will need to put in an electric heater for the water this winter and I am just curious to how I can put that in the coop and wire it so the hens don't tamper with the cord? Also, it was suggested to me to use pine shavings over straw/hay... in the winter should I use both straw and shavings for added comfort or will they be fine with just shavings?

Thanks for any help, I'm excited to be a part of BackYard Chickens!!
-Hunter


Twin Cities, MN
 

BantamFan4Life

LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 15, 2012
84,500
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Pyeongtaek, South Korea
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So glad you joined us!
 

1muttsfan

Up Northerner
10 Years
Mar 26, 2011
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Upper Peninsula Michigan
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan
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I sprung for one of the metal platforms that heat from the bottom, and have found it absolutely indispensable. Straw and hay do not work as well for bedding as they tend to clump up and are not as absorbent (particularly hay), having said that there are those that use them. I stick to wood shavings (not sawdust) and have had good luck with it.
 

Bogtown Chick

Free Ranging
9 Years
Mar 31, 2012
7,058
6,018
597
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Northern MN here. I use a platform type heater base for my water in the winter too. I made it with a Cookie tin from a thrift store and a $4 lamp socket- light-set-up and made my own. The hens and rooster don't really mess with the cord and I am mindful to kind of tuck it out of their way though or hook it behind a long nail or something. In case there's a squabble and running going on in that coop and they pull the heater/water set up and get the shavings all wet. :)

Pine Shavings 4-6 inches on the floor or better for winter. And through the winter I just keep adding to cover dirty bedding. I also put bales of hay out around the perimeter of the coop outside. And soft fluffy hay in their covered Run.

Welcome to BYC! It's addictive....
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drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
140,328
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Out to pasture
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Chickens are much better at handling cold, than heat. If they have a draft free coop and sufficient bedding they can survive winters without heat contraptions which are always a serious threat of fire. They do need good ventilation - because the heat from the bodies causes condensation inside the coop which leads to frostbite.
 

Bogtown Chick

Free Ranging
9 Years
Mar 31, 2012
7,058
6,018
597
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
welcome-byc.gif
Chickens are much better at handling cold, than heat. If they have a draft free coop and sufficient bedding they can survive winters without heat contraptions which are always a serious threat of fire. They do need good ventilation - because the heat from the bodies causes condensation inside the coop which leads to frostbite.

I agree about the cold vs. heat statement. Nothing scares me more than a hanging brooder lamp. If I use them it's way below zero for an extended period of time before I'm dragging it out. I have it hooked at 3 different points on the lamp to 3 different points of the coop and I have a bit of chicken wire around the bulb if that socket lets go for some reason. For Minnesota with our temps -20 to -30 frequently these lamps put a slight dent in the cold but not much. (Uninsulated coop) Chickens are pretty weary on the roost at -10 or more. You can see it in them. Ventilation is key as well. One should not have frost stuck on the inside of coop windows. (that's my indicator to ventilate more) Lucky for us we're a "dry" cold up here, which helps too.
 

Sotabrew

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 5, 2013
20
1
31
St Paul, MN
welcome-byc.gif
Chickens are much better at handling cold, than heat. If they have a draft free coop and sufficient bedding they can survive winters without heat contraptions which are always a serious threat of fire. They do need good ventilation - because the heat from the bodies causes condensation inside the coop which leads to frostbite.


I agree about the cold vs. heat statement. Nothing scares me more than a hanging brooder lamp. If I use them it's way below zero for an extended period of time before I'm dragging it out. I have it hooked at 3 different points on the lamp to 3 different points of the coop and I have a bit of chicken wire around the bulb if that socket lets go for some reason. For Minnesota with our temps -20 to -30 frequently these lamps put a slight dent in the cold but not much. (Uninsulated coop) Chickens are pretty weary on the roost at -10 or more. You can see it in them. Ventilation is key as well. One should not have frost stuck on the inside of coop windows. (that's my indicator to ventilate more) Lucky for us we're a "dry" cold up here, which helps too.

I was debating insulating my coop but not sealing the over hang eaves on my roof... I thought it would offer great year round ventilation while still keeping them out of the weather and preventing all drafts from coming inside with the insulation. Thoughts?
 

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