Large Dog Crate for 2 large birds?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by photo chick, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. photo chick

    photo chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2009
    Essex, VT
    I'm really getting stuck on what to do for the winter with what's left of my chickens. We started with 5 and are now down to 2. We let them free range so I understand that it is a risk we take. But...I'm afraid now that the chickens won't be warm in their large chicken coop far from the house (it gets to be -30 at night in February.) The chickens prefer to hang out right by our front door for most of the day. So I was thinking that I'd use our dog kennel as a temporary winter coop for them. It's plastic, no insulation but good ventilation. I could mount a roosting bar for them. What do you think? Will it be good enough for them until April? I could put this under our 2nd story deck and perhaps (if husband agrees) even enclose an area for them so they can peck around out of the snow. We get enough snow here that it would be dangerous (I think) for them to be out.

    With that said....I'm a totally rookie and wish I had a plan before now. Now sure what to do about this whole winter thing!
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    No - I'm sorry the crate will not be good in -30 degree temps. Unless it's in you're basement or possibly your garage. (And if the garage is unheated add lots of straw.)

    What do you have right now for a coop? With only 2 of them, if there is a window in it for light, work with it. Add hay bales, build a box around their roost to help them stay warmer...
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  3. photo chick

    photo chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2009
    Essex, VT
    My current chicken coop is way to big for two birds. It's about 4x6 feet and 10 feet tall. We could possibly lower the ceiling and insulate with hay on top. I never thought of making is smaller by stuffing with hay bales. I guess it could work! There is a window but I cut the window at the exact same height as their roosting bar so I'm afraid they'll get a chill. The window is south facing so perhaps not?

    The other possibility is to get more chickens! My children want me to but until we get our predator situation under control or our coop structure more solid I'm hesitant to.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  4. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    If you are worried about the window, tack some plastic to the outside of it. Other than that, as long as the chickens are not being killed while in the coop, I'd use it. Be sure their roost is wide enough for them to cover their feet with their feathers and that's all.

    Here is a thread you might find interesting, about how much cold can chickens take.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=97134&p=1

    I am in Idaho and I tried a heat bulb and a heated water bowl and ditched them both for a well insulated, well ventilated coop. I found I had too much moisture with either one in place. Straw is the way to go in my opinion. So far it is working very well, but so far we've only had -15 degrees at night. They have been out during the day with highs of 11 degrees and the only difference is I feed them more.

    Your chickens hang out by the back door either for treats like mine do, or for protection, not because they are cold.
     
  5. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    keep them in the coop, maybe stop free ranging them on days when you have a ton of snow on the ground or when it's waaaay below freezing, always make sure they have access to water or they'l start eating snow and it'll lower their body temp. straw always helps, as does plastic, and try feeding them some scratch or other high fat food right before they roost for the night, the burning fat helps keep them warm.
     
  6. emrys

    emrys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 3, 2009
    Could you put the crate in the coop, surround it with hay bales to give them a cozy place? Or maybe put the crate somewhere sheltered near your house, surround it even on top with bales of hay or straw. You could even throw a tarp over the whole pile to keep the hay dry. I have three youngster in a Furrarri under a lean to. The perch is only 8 inches above the litter but they hop up there to roost like they think they are big girls. They are out of the wind and rain and if necessary I can cover the door with a blanket leaving only to long vents along the sides near the top open. It ain't pretty but it's working!!
     

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