Need a lil direction here for winter....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by honeynajar, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. honeynajar

    honeynajar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2011
    Hey all this is our first winter with chickens... as you can read by my signature, we have a variety. Our coop is a 10 x 12 wooden shed
    [​IMG]
    Directly across from the open door is an automatic coop door which operates with the sunlight. During the summer months I usually have both of the front doors open as well. When it started getting cooler, I shut one of the doors and today both the front doors are shut since its running 43 in PA.

    Directly behind the chicken sign is a 3 x 10 portion that is screened off for a brooder and my two baby peeps (3 weeks old) are with a heat lamp.

    The structure is pretty sound and draft free - with the exception of the auto coop door. What do others do in the winter months? Do you keep the auto coop door active?? Do you put some type of material - like those freezer plastics on the inside of the coop door to keep some of the wind out of the coop or do the chickens stay inside all the time when it gets really cold?

    I use the deep litter method for bedding. I can just tell I'm going to be a worry wort that they will get cold! I've already ran home to make sure the peeps are warm enough - they weren't so I lowered the heat lamp a bit.

    Any thoughts? Please and thank you in advance!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    It sounds like you are well set for winter. If you look at my "My Coop" page, and scroll towards the bottom, you can see what I did with my auto door. I have the Pullet Shut door that opens outward rather than the guillotine style. I found my guineas were roosting on the open door and I worried about what that was doing to the mechanism. Also, we have up to 70mph winds here and I worried about the effects of the wind on the door. So I built a "chunnel" to protect the auto door. It sits 4' high (the auto door was installed high enough in the coop to accommodate deep litter bedding) and provides a wind barrier for the door, but the effect is that it also protects the door opening so that rain/snow/wind do not blow into the coop the way they did without it. Perhaps something like this is an option for you as well? I was fortunate to already have a door I could cut in half to construct the chunnel. A couple of pieces of scrap lumber to triangulate it and some scrap pieces of plywood for the roof, and the whole thing took about 30 minutes. I have some scrap sheet metal left over from the coop build and I'm considering covering the chunnel with that to protect the chunnel itself from weather.
     
  3. honeynajar

    honeynajar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2011
    I DID! [​IMG] I looked at your pic and we have the same door! I take it you keep the door on its regular schedule to open and close during the winter months? I just worried about the cold coming in. As I was worried about the coop becoming overheated in the summer and had my DH install a ceiling fan/light. I mean really we needed the light - the fan was just a bonus! ;-)
    Our one problem is that our door is pretty far up... maybe three feet. So its gonna have to be a tall chunnel. My guineas haven't been roosting up there - i think because its so high. OR they just haven't found it yet. But thats a really good idea. I'll show the pics to DH and see what he thinks. Of course with it being hunting season he's going to be just THRILLED with another chore related to my chickens. I'd build it myself but he's dang picky about the property lol and I'm thinking it would end up crooked or something! ;-) Thanks so much for the info!
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I actually just built this coop this summer after we moved to our new property, so this will be our first winter but yes, I plan to keep it on the same schedule. I have the photo sensor so it opens and closes according to the amount of light. The hens need to be able to get in and out to lay their eggs, and I keep their feeder in the coop so the whole flock needs to be able to get in and out to eat.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the cold air getting in - the main thing to avoid is drafts where they are sleeping. The chunnel cuts down on a lot of the wind coming in and at night the door is closed so there is no air coming in from it. Chickens are amazingly cold tolerant - that coat of down protects them very well. Our past three winters at the old house, the chickens did fine in the winter. When the temp was in the single digits, they weren't too happy, and they don't like snow much, but once they get used to snow, they'll even get out and move around on it. As long as they have access to unfrozen water (I use heated dog water bowls and a cookie tin heater), and a place to sleep that is out of the drafts, they'll be fine.
     

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