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Keeping the chickens warmer in the run...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Rileysixchix, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Rileysixchix

    Rileysixchix Chirping

    I have 6 ameraucana hens and when they are let out to free range, i find them snuggled up in the mulch around the tree taking dust baths and sleeping. I want to put something in their coop so they can hunker down and stay warm in this november weather, but im not sure i want mulch in there. Do you have any other ideas that they will be comfortable in?? Thanks!

  2. wyododge

    wyododge Chirping

    Sep 30, 2011
    We use pine shavings in the coop, but our birds don't stay in there. They seem to prefer to be outdoors. Not sure if you meant pine shavings, others use straw also. We put about 6" of pine shavings on our coop and add it through the winter as needed. We also 'fluff' it up with a pitchfork or spread cracked corn to let the birds do it.
  3. Rileysixchix

    Rileysixchix Chirping

    Thanks! any ideas for the outside run?
  4. wyododge

    wyododge Chirping

    Sep 30, 2011
    Unfortunately, I don't have a run mine are free range. However, I have read everything from sand, to straw, to wood chips. I have seen gravel runs, but it seems that would be difficult to clean. My mother always had a dirt run, but she had pretty sandy soil, so it drained pretty well. I would probably go towards plain old sand about 6" - 8" deep so it was not quite as muddy when it rained or thawed.
  5. Rosaleen

    Rosaleen Songster

    May 18, 2011
    Danville, Vermont
    Quote:I had some 4 x 4s that were once used as fence posts. Anyway I put a saw horse a few feet away from an open wall unit used in my run. This wall unit has a roost across the upper section. The girls always use this...it's sheltered from the wind, but they are not in the sun so I set up the 4x4s onthe saw horse and wall unit shelf, now located in the sun. The roost is wide enough so their feet stay warm and they sit in the sun all afternoon till I get home from work and let them free range till dusk.
  6. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    You could put some straw in there. The love to rumage through it and pick out the seeds, plus straw is very warm. I put straw in my coop and a section of my run that is under their coop. In the winter they will bed down in the straw in the coop rather that sitting on the roost.
  7. sharol

    sharol Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    I built them a shelterbelt out of straw bales.


    They can get inside the walls and under cover if it is windy and cold. They are methodically scratching straw out of the bales for a nice bedding area inside (unplanned by me, but they are quite creative). The earlier post was right, they prefer to be outside if it isn't raining. We have put a piece of fiberglass roofing across the top now, but this is basically the idea.
    1 person likes this.

  8. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Maybe they're not gathered in the mulch around the tree for warmth so much as a natural desire to camoflauge themselves, hide from predators. Mine generally gather under a bush or object in the yard; they often dash from one "hiding place" to another. I do see them out in the open foraging at times, but not that often. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's cold and windy or warm and pleasant. In summer on the hottest days they actually go in the coop, which I assume is the coolest place.
  9. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Songster

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    I was thinking of making a Lean To out of an extra pallet I have, and shingle the top. Most our storms are North West blowing, and the front door of their coop faces North, but the West wall is blocked by the coop. So if I raise the pallet up to the 2 ft height, that gives them enough head room, then just put some hay in there for them to play with and snuggle into when it is raining.
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    My chickens like to hang out under or next to bushes and objects, too, when resting. When they're foraging, they follow along fence lines and buildings a lot, too. You might want to provide something for cover, so they don't feel so exposed, as well as some type of windbreak. Mine don't like heavy winds, either. Those bales look great.

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