Looking for some guidance please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by leahmeit, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. leahmeit

    leahmeit Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2013
    Northwest NJ
    We live in Northwest New Jersey and are atill fairly new to the farm life.

    We've got goats and chickens so far and since winters here, we're concerned with what's heathy and what's not. My husband found this article https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop
    And I'm not sure if it's right for here. I'm worried that IF we open the vents and allow the frigid air into the coop, the chickens won't have someplace out of the cold to go to.

    All summer I was cleaning out the coop weekly, but now that winters here, I thinking about once a month, so,that the poop will act as an insulator, as I heard that would work. I will continue cleaning out the nesting boxes though.

    Any thoughts?

    1 person likes this.
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2013
    You want more cleanings in the winter time or at least put some stall dry in there the days that you don't. Most breeds can handle the cold well as long as it is not blowing across them. However the moisture in the poo will create frostbite or breathing problems if there is too much there. This is the purpose for high open vents in the coop, it prevents the cold from blowing across them while still venting out the moisture.

    The heat from the poo that you are referring to is from the deep litter method. This method is not simply not cleaning the coop, it is layers of poo and bedding that gets stirred often (like a compost pile). If not done properly it can grow mold or worse be a fire risk because it isn't being stirred. It is in effect a compost pile in your coop and must be treated that way for safety. Also, it requires more ventilation then a regular coop.

    Another option is heating the coop, and this is a hot topic. If the electric goes out your girls can go into shock because they couldn't get used to the cold. It is a fire hazard if using extension cords, bad wiring, too close to walls, or if it falls. I say this as I currently have a heat lamp in my coop. I don't like to have one in there but we went from 80 days and 75 nights to 35 days and 15 nights with rain in one short day. Next week is back into the 70's and I plan on not having heat for the rest of the winter. Even with heat you need to get the moisture of the poo out of there.

    Any way you go about it, it is important to their health to have a little fresh air in there. Make sure it is high up so that it doesn't blow on them and use your best judgement. The fresh air you have in your house is provided by open vents in your attic and are open year around. You don't feel it when you put on the heat because it is a passive vent.
  3. Shan30

    Shan30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 17, 2012
    Vancouver island
    There are a number of threads on this site discussing this topic. Foreverlearning gave you some good advice.

    Search open air coops and you will find a ton of information. What I understand is that air flow is necessary but you do not want a draft on the roosts. It's all about positioning of you vents.

    Check if there is a thread for your area. People who already have experienced winters there with birds could probably give you the best advice.
  4. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Hello from central Jersey. I took tips from local chicken farmers. No insulation, no heat, solid and tight coop. A number of vents open or close depending on weather and wind direction. The only opening that remains is the pop door, closed only during extreme condition (i.e. Sandy). Turn bedding, cleaning out only when the pile is thick.

    Other winter necessities: Water heater. Pre-dawn light coming on at about 4am. A personal observation: the pre-dawn light not only helps in egg production, it also makes the birds more active and the combs red and full, much healthier looking.

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