Midwest Weather and Snow?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mommacb, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. mommacb

    mommacb Out Of The Brooder

    This will be our first winter with our hens. How do they do with colder temps and knee deep snow? Do they stay in or do you lock them in? Or is it healthy for them to roam in the snow? Wondering if they are smart enough to know when to head inside. Also- I heard if you don't vent your coop well enough the moisture will kill them, is this so? What temp should the coop be during winter?
     
  2. K-9Dog

    K-9Dog Out Of The Brooder

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    I am new too but heat is always not a problem from what I understand but aeration and air flow is important for freshness in the coop. seal it up tight or too tight and you create more issues than venting. I am off the ground and have front vents under roof overhang ad hardware cloth under roost area and I plan on putting a bale of straw on 3 sides of the coop to aid in some draft issues. there will still be some open areas even with the straw. some people use a 60 watt bulb but i have solar so no heat from that!
     
  3. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some hens like snow, maybe not deep snow but a shoveled path. They will either say no way and stay inside or adventure out and scratch around. The moisture inthe coop can lead to frostbite on combs and wattles and toes, so yes make sure there are plenty of vents, this is your most important thing. I do not heat my coop. I wrap in it thick plastic, theh kind you use to cover your house windows. It just needs to be above freezing, they have lots of feathers to keep them warm. Hang an outdoor thermomator in the coop to monitor the temp. If it is a devastatingly cold winter and temps cant be regulated you can add more straw or close one of the vents as long as moisture hasnt been a prob. I dont like the idea of putting a light in, so much can go wrong. I sont want to lose my whole flock to the coop being caught on fire or losing electricity and they are not used to the cold anymore, etc. They have survived many years and in different climates without artifical heat. I do spoil my chickens and I make sure it is comfy in their house, they get warm oatmeal and carpets on their roosts etc...
     
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  4. mommacb

    mommacb Out Of The Brooder

    thanks for this info. i will share it with my husband :))
     
  5. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish you luck this year. [​IMG]
     
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    We get both bitter cold and lots of snow. The girls don't love the snow, and I shovel part of the run then put down hay or straw for them to dig through - gets them outside more.

    As far as the coop, a well-ventilated but draft-free coop is crucial. Place upper venting away from the roosts, so that cold air does not spill down over the birds at night. Adjust the ventilation as needed according to the weather so that there are no drafts, but also no condensation inside the coop.
     
  7. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a digital thermometer/hygrometer in the coop with a readout in the house. I found that the lower the temp gets, the lower the humidity gets so in extremely cold weather I don't need as much ventilation as when it's 20-30 degrees. I can button the coop up pretty tightly. I only have 4 hens though so they don't create a lot of moisture either. Disclaimer - I do use the dreaded heatlamp but it is a large plastic housed safer variety than the cheap ones. It comes on at 20 degrees and goes off at 30 degrees. It keeps them a little warmer at night when they are on the roost. I've still seen it get down to 8 degrees or so in the coop when it is super cold out even though my coop is insulated.
     
  8. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh I am sure it is hard to keep it nice and warm for your girls where you are. Only 4 bodies for warmth they would need supplemented heat. I have 22 birds in my coop and by dec the other chicks will be out there for a total of 32, so plenty of warmth plus MO doesnt get as cold Minn for sure. I like the digital thermomator those are fairly inexpensive and would save me running to the coop every hour cause I am a worry wart in winter.
     
  9. mommacb

    mommacb Out Of The Brooder

    so, to recap, since I'm in Indiana, and have 19 birds in an insulated coop- you guys are saying- no need for heat?
    what do you do when it gets below zero?
     
  10. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, the chickens do not need any added heat. They are well adapted to handling cold weather. The front of my uninsulated coop is wide open year round. I get temps into the single digits, and the birds don't have any problems with it. Like others have posted, make sure you maintain good ventilation, and don't seal them up in the coop. Look at the pic below, if the chickens aren't outside, that's were they hang out, right up front, not huddling and hiding in the back. As far as snow goes, they (mine anyways) don't like deep snow. They'll come out if I clear an area for them.
    Jack

    [​IMG]
     

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