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locking up coop for winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sissy, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    Is it healthy for the hens to be locked up for the winter months and
    just checking feed and water once a week. Ladies arent laying have a heat lamp above the roasts.Have a 5gal. waterer
    also feeder.that holds 30lbs. of feed.and they get natural light from 2 side windows.
    need advice ..thanks..

  2. Um, no!

    I would never do this.
    How would you know if there is a problem?

    My hens are good to -23 wind chill and will go back inside as they choose. Run is roofed and predator proofed. My coop is insulated but unheated and I use electric dog bowl to keep water liquid. Things can go wrong VERY fast!

    Plus you will diminish the natural light to your hens and have laying problems...

    Under the right conditions (please read extensively here at BYC) chickens do well in ventilated but draft-free conditions and certain breeds thrive in the cold if they have liquid water and lots of feed...

  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Not in my opinion. They get poop and shavings and feed off their mouths in the water and mine is up on a concrete block, even. I can't imagine not changing it for a week, ick. And sometimes they eat more than you think they will, especially if they are locked in the coop during bad weather. They must be checked at least every couple days, preferably once a day, but at the very least, every two. What if they somehow knocked over the water? Then they are shut in with wet bedding and no water, not a pleasant circumstance nor healthy.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  4. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    thanks for the input. Im worred about this wet and windy weather and more snow to come about bumble foot from wet ground. as i have heard this can happen. I would stir up their bedding every 5 day and check on them .. as i have feathered legged cochins. am i overly concerened.?
    i worry about them getting out in the run on the wet ground.
    have put in 2 bags wood shavings and a little straw before i layed that in for extra warmth. the heat lamp is on 24/7 and the coop has
    air vents .
  5. omelette'smom

    omelette'smom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Can you get some tarps and cover some of the run so there's a dry spot for them? We have ours covered and can roll up one side for ventilation and light. We haven't gotten but 2 inches of snow so far so i don't know what they'll want to do. my porch is 24x12 and it is 10 feet from the coop...they hang out under there in addition to the 8x12 run. (I keep meaning to crawl under there and look for eggs!!) Try keeping the run shoveled out and/or tarped over....they'll make their own decisions if they want to go snow shoing or even sledding![​IMG] How big is the actual coop and how many birds?
  6. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    coop is 4x8 with attached run 8x8 ...45ft. from the house
    with 5 hens and 1 roo other smaller coop has 1 roo and 1 hen just getting to know each other. LOL
    th larger coop is a little up hill and thats where it gets slik after a good rain or snow.
    But I have been getting advice its not good
    to leave them in the coop for 4-5 days then checking on them.
    I usuallycheck on them every day and pick up the eggs but
    now they have really slowed down on their laying so I though I
    save some the time by only seeing to them every few days.
    in the winter..
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. If you have a run, let them in it. My run is covered. I check on my feed and water every day. Also I collect the eggs every day. I have a 15 watt incandesent bulb that comes on about 5am and off at 8am which is on a timer. On really cold night I have a red 250 watt heat lamp over a section of their roosts and they can find their own comfort zone.The heat lamp goes on at 5pm and off at 8am.

  8. Momo

    Momo Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    I agree with the others, too. Let them have access to the run (the wet ground won't bother them if they have a dry coop as well; or better yet rig up some sort of roof or tarp over it) and check them each day. I can't imagine not checking on my chickies! I change the water every day or two (more often if it gets icky from something). What if your chickens knocked over the water, or it developed a leak? You could come to check them and find dead birds who had been suffering for days while you were over in your comfy house 45 feet away. Not worth the risk; I'm sure you would feel awful!

    I have always believed that if I'm going to have animals, basically depriving them of the ability to manage their own lives, then I have to give them the best lives realistically possible. I have to take good care of them and pay close attention to their health and wellbeing (mental as well as physical) because I've put them in a situation where they're essentially helpless and fully dependent on me.
  9. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    You do need to take care of their needs on a daily basis.

    Mine get let out every day - rain/snow/ice or shine. I check their food, give treats and scratch and re-fill water EVERY DAY
  10. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Let them out to run. Mine range year round and bumblefoot is the last thing I worry about. BTW I'm in canada so our weather can be more severe.

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