Lilac 7 Hens - Hello


5 Years
Sep 17, 2014
Northern Mountains
We got our chicks in April & pleasantly surprised they started laying before the end of August. They are an assortment of reds, pretty friendly, one flier who thinks she's our personal pet and comes out to greet us when we collect the eggs. We hastily built a salvage material coop in the lilac bushes behind our shed barn from a large farm table screened in on the bottom with a trap door going up to a saltbox house style shelved nesting area, made from wooden doors cut in half, plus an old bureau hay drawer at the base to catch loose eggs. Using speed brackets & drywall screws we did it in one afternoon, attaching it directly to the barn - used as a supporting back wall - for a quick, easy and inexpensive fix. They were quite happy there all summer.

Now we are almost done with a more permanent setup inside our barn with better nesting accommodations for the winter. In the mountains here it gets as much as 50 below so we are definitely going to insulate; any cold weather tips are appreciated.

I had a flock of about 20 whites growing up so it's been awhile. Our local store frequently runs out of things (today they were out of milk) so we got chickens and next...who knows, maybe a goat or cow ! It is a challenge to use the eggs but so far I've hard boiled, made fluffy omelets, egg salad and deviled eggs. Any recipes are welcome, I just put garden herbs like finely chopped leeks in my cheese omelet. To me, nothing tastes as good as a fresh egg ! I hope to pickle some while I can the rest of my garden.

My next step is to dry and recycle the shells back to the hens.

Michael OShay

5 Years
May 14, 2014
Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. We have an excellent article written by Sumi that deals with preparing your flock for winter at Feathers are wonderful insulators, but you need to make sure that your coop is dry and draft free. Moisture is a much greater threat than cold. I've raised chickens where temperatures reached 30 below zero and with a well insulated, dry, draft free coop, they did just fine. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck getting your coop ready for winter.

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
While coops need to be draft free they also require adequate ventilation to prevent frostbite. Bales of hay stacked outside the run make good windbreaks. A cover on the run can keep the flock drier during rain, sleet and snow, as well as preventing "drop in" visits by predators. BTW Welcome to Backyard Chickens.


7 Years
Jul 24, 2013
Glad you joined us!

Feel free to ask lots of questions! We're all here to help.


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Mar 21, 2011
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello there and welcome to BYC!

You might want to stop by this thread on winterizing tips...

Here is a nice article on keeping chickens through the winter....

Ventilation is THE most important thing you can do to your coop to keep your birds dry and warm. All the warm moist air from breathing and pooping needs to go out your roof. Birds need to roost low to the floor in quiet air. 1 square foot of vent space per bird in your eaves. If you don't vent this wet air, it falls back down on the birds as water or frost chilling the birds and or giving them frost bite. So let the vent air fly!

I like to tack an old towel on the roost bar in early winter to keep the feet warm. Warm feet keep the heat in the bird.

Good luck with your flock this winter and welcome to our roost!

Mountain Peeps

Jesus is my life
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Apr 23, 2014
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

Like Two Crows said, ventilation is probably one of the most important things to have in winter. Without proper ventilation your birds will get frostbite, respiratory illnesses and other problems.

Other things to do to help keep your chickens snug this winter include using straw as a bedding, using the 4" inch side of a 2x4 roosts. I also put a towel that has been in the dryer and put it on the roosts to warm their feet. Make sure that there is no water spillage or moisture collection on the bedding as this can also result in frostbite. On the very cold nights you should rub vaseline on the chickens' combs and wattles to help prevent freezing.
Here's a link on frostbite.

You don't need a heat lamp if you have ventilation, proper bedding, proper roosts and proper feed. In the winter you should be feeding your normal layer, grower or chick feed along with scratch as this will keep the birds warm especially if you feed it in the evenings.
Last edited:


5 Years
Sep 17, 2014
Northern Mountains
Thanks that article was very helpful. We are going to have a hard freeze tonight so brought our hens into their new coop inside the barn. I will double check to make sure the windows are not stuck and working properly. Hopefully this winter is not as severe as the last one. This site is amazing with so many member's contributions it is my go-to for all things chicken !


5 Years
Jun 8, 2014
Long Island, NY
Welcome to BYC!

You will find a lot of good information here. Keep on asking questions and you will get many good answers.

You may also want to read the FAQ below.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom