My Flock Arctic Storm CO 12/04/2013

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FrozenWings, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. FrozenWings

    FrozenWings Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 20, 2013
    I thought I would document my flock as we go through a real cold spell. The arctic blast should last over the next several days and bring some different elements of wind, snow, and bitter cold. Here is my flocks life over the next few days...

    My coop is 4' x 8 'x 6' and is raised from the ground 18". I have used 2x framing with 7/16" OSB for the floor, roof, and wall framing. Clear corrugated plastic has been used instead of OSB so that the roof has clear ventilation.

    To winterize I have closed the operable window and placed a piece of foam in between it and the night shutter. Inside the coop I have stapled plastic over the windows and across the rafters. Also stuffing hay in the open vents of the roof to eliminate moisture and drafts. I also use the deep litter method. That is it. No insulation other than the flock of 6 birds.

    8' long roost 48" off the floor. 6 lay boxes 36" off the floor. No heat and no lights are used.

    My oldest bird is about 36 weeks and no eggs from any of them. (Jersey Giant, Silver Back Leghorn, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, Buff Brahma, Easter Egger.

    12/4/2013
    The temperature was 7 degrees today as the high with consistent snow falling. Since last night we have gotten about 7" of snow. The wind chill is -10 degrees (news report). Throughout the day I went to check on my flock of six girls. I did not let them outside their coop today, as I did not want them to get wet with the falling snow. With temperatures only dropping over night and through the next several days. I am very worried about frost bite on my leghorn. The girls all seemed to stay on the floor of the coop sifting through scratch and treats I put for them yesterday. All seem healthy and happy!

    Here are the Jersey Giant (Left), Silver Back Leghorn (Right), and Silver Laced Wyandotte (Center) on the roost already for bed at 16:00. Usually they roost at 16:45 or right until sun down.

    Temperatures are forecast to be -11 degrees tonight...

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    More pics tomorrow...
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  2. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    This will be great for us southerners to see how you northerners keep your flocks comfy during extreme cold.
     
  3. Chickens R Us

    Chickens R Us Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] and keep us posted.
     
  4. chicken8

    chicken8 Out Of The Brooder

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    They'll be fine.

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  5. FrozenWings

    FrozenWings Out Of The Brooder

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    12/05/2013
    Last night the temperatures dipped to -13 degrees with a wind chill of -31 (news report). This morning wasn't much warmer at -6 degrees when I went out and checked on the girls. As you can see from the photos, there was a layer of frost on the entire coop including the window shutters. However the frost was not on the outside or inside of the non operable window, meaning the shutter did its job! Also no frost on the inside walls of the coop.

    I have decided I am not going to risk the flock to frost bite by allowing them into the open enclosure, as the temperatures are still only at -4 degrees. Our hope is to get to a high of only 7 degrees today. Snow on the ground and the below zero temperatures doesn't mix well for my leghorn. All the birds were huddled in their usual (2) flocks of three. No one was really moving around much and when I opened the coop door no one came to look out for quite sometime.

    Today, I gave them fresh water in their coop, as I do not usually have any in there. I believe that keeping frost out of your coop by not having any water inside is full proof. Frost is a killer of chickens, according to my research. After watering them I gave them some yogurt and snow peas, and laid another layer of hay on the deep litter floor. Some of the girls were standing on one foot, so I though the floor may be cold, as it is only about 3.5" deep now in December. In addition I thought that they could produce some body heat by scratching through the hay for some seed.

    I had tried to take some more pictures but my phone froze and wouldn't turn on. I will go back out later today and get some pictures of the girls huddled up. I also left the snow on the coop for insulation, however I opened the shutter for the non operable window and cleared a little snow on the clear roof to allow some sunlight and warmth in. In addition I left a little water dish in case they wanted more water, but I imagine it will freeze before they can spill or dirty it.

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    -Frozen Wings
     
  6. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Have you ever had the door freeze shut?
     
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Did you close all the vents & windows?? The wind chill is not a factor for inside unless the coop is drafty. I've never had a problem with water inside the coop, but I always have windows open. While we have only had minus temps a few times a year, we always have 30 mph+ winds in Breezy Corner all winter long. 40-50 mph is normal during a front. Glad to hear your chickens are fine.
     
  8. FrozenWings

    FrozenWings Out Of The Brooder

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    I have never had the door freeze shut. The actual door is framed inside the coop, and is wider than the exterior wrapped entrance. I used 2x framing spread 3" wider than the exterior width and notched a 1" slot up the members allowing for the door to be more free. The same condition exists on the bottom track so that a raccoon cannot (hopefully) be able to pry the door up. I then used a pulley system to allow me to open and close the coop door without entering the fenced run. I found the more free the door was, the easier it was on the hardware, wire, and rope for my pulley system. I think it also provides a bit of ventilation without it compromising draft protection, security, and moisture. I simply stuffed hay in the gaps and because the track is actually inside the coop, no moisture gets in there, or at least to this point.

    -Frozen Wings
     
  9. FrozenWings

    FrozenWings Out Of The Brooder

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    The ventilation is not what I am so worried about. However any mishaps that may happen with water in the coop such as, spills and leaks, not taken care of quickly in temperatures like this could give them frost bite or worse kill your flock. In the summer mold could happen with spills or leaks, so I just avoid having water in the coop.

    -Frozen Wings
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Where are you located?
    Good Luck!
     

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