Need Advice on My Chicken Coop: Video Inside

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chadchicago, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. chadchicago

    chadchicago Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Sep 13, 2007
    I've had these 4 Chickens through the summer (I'm a chicken newbie) and it is starting to get cold here in Chicago.

    so I made this little video for you guys to show you my setup.

    Here's My Video (YouTube): Chicken Coop

    Here are my questions:

    1. If I Partally cover the "doorways" to that 2 story doghouse to keep the hay in, and fill the inside with hay, will that be enough shelter in Chicago type winter (we do get sub zero days but not a ton, mostly hovers between 20 and 30 degrees F).

    2. Do you think that is enough room inside that 2 story doghouse for 4 full grown leghorns?

    I'd love any input!

    (also, the chickens in the video aren't full grown yet, they hatched July 1, 2007)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  2. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    458
    0
    149
    Apr 11, 2007
    Illinois
    I'm going to let the others with more experience answer your questions...but I had to say that is a kewl set-up!! I love to see what people in the city do! What an excellent use of space!
     
  3. RoyalHillsLLC

    RoyalHillsLLC Chillin' With My Peeps

    281
    0
    149
    Mar 5, 2007
    NW Louisiana-Vivian
    I can't comment on the cold (I live in Louisiana), but I did pick up on one thing I thought worth commenting on. the idea of putting a bunch of straw, with a divider, and then a light in there jumped out at me as "Fire hazard". I would be very careful about putting a heat lamp, or any kind of ligt bulb close to straw.
    I always keep a light bulb away from the bedding material.
     
  4. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    458
    0
    149
    Apr 11, 2007
    Illinois
    Quote:Yes....that is a good point! Homeowners insurance would not like that one too well!!! But the leghorns combs are subject to frostbite so will need to do something...although I think it's probably quite cozy under the porch and with some straw and reinforcements....I think it can be doable with out a lamp if you wanted.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    With a dog house that small, if you can get all four birds to sleep inside one, they will be fine. They will grow large combs so I wouldn't put in a lamp because I've heard that it will increase the chance of them getting frost bite when they are outside all day. My birds actually sleep outside year long... but our winters usually experience only about a week total of snow and a week total of freezing weather. I would stack the bottom of the houses with hay, and put in a roost bar that is at least 4 inches wide so they can sit down and keep their toes warm. I say use the top box since ground predators will have to think a bit more to get to them at the top. It is very close to your house so it won't be as cold as let's say in the middle of the field. Draft free in cold is more important than heating things up.

    Another suggestion though is to maybe line the inside of the lattice with something stronger than the lattice, like welded wire or at least a layer of 1 inch chicken wire type material. In the winter predators get desperate and will break in to get an "easy" meal.
     
  6. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    412
    5
    141
    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    I think that if you stuff the doghouses with straw and reinforce the lattice they should be all right. I might put a tarp or plywood across the windward side of the lattice to block the wind. I wouldn't put a lightbulb in the doghouses. Cool setup!
     
  7. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

    204
    2
    131
    Jul 28, 2007
    Chicago
    Hi, Chad! Nice to meet a fellow Chicagoan with chickens!

    I got my "girls" about a month ago as pullets. Before I took the plunge into raising chickens, I was able to speak with guy a few blocks away who had chickens and get his insights on winter and where to get feed, etc. He let his chickens free range all over his yard, and they even wandered into the neighboring yards and forest preserve. (His neighbors didn't seem to mind). Obviously, this guy has a nice sized lot for the city, as well as a prime location.

    His coop was a children's playhouse and he showed me how he'd stuffed it full of straw. He said in the winter, the chickens just burrowed into the straw and huddled together for warmth. He said he was advised by his in-laws in Maine NOT to use a heat lamp because the chickens would do better without it, as long as he provided them with enough straw.

    He'd had his chickens for years and they did just fine through the winter this way. In his small flock, he had two roosters (one was a big white leghorn that he said just wandered out of the forest preserve one day and was likely an escapee from a Santaria ceremony), a little bantam hen, and a full sized hen (which unfortunately had just been executed by a racoon the night before, since he hadn't locked her in the coop.)

    Since your set up is under the porch, you should get some good radiant heat from the house to make their living area a bit warmer. Adding lots of straw under there for additional insulation should be just what's needed. As others have said, it's likely best not to put a heat light under there near the straw.

    I've actually been thinking about if/how I can move my chicken coop set up under my porch for the winter for additional protection from wind and to let them benefit from some of the heat we lose from our old house to the outside. I have an Eglu with an attached run that makes it somewhat awkward to fit into the hatch opening under my porch. Plus it's sort of dark under there since it is sided and not open lattice like yours.

    Definitely take the advice about adding additional hardware cloth wire to the inside of the lattice. I'm not sure which neighborhood you're in, but I've seen 'possums and skunks in my area (border of Forest Glen/Jefferson Park) and I'm certain there are racoons that may wander in at will. Being farther from the forest preserve means that I don't have the same risks, but I also worry about stray cats, dogs, and even coyotes. (Remember the coyote that trotted into the Quiznos downtown a few months ago? They're all over the place. My sister even saw one running along the Blue Line tracks near the Addison stop, heading towards the Loop. Hope it caught a few of the rats that live in the subway tunnels.)

    Keeping rodents out of your chicken's food is another reason to use that fine hardware cloth. The rats and mice do just fine without us providing them an easy meal.

    Feel free to send me an email. Such a treat to see that others are keeping chickens in Chicago, too!
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Good luck. I personally feel that living in the city brings you nastier predators. Not that the country doesn't have them, but that in the city, the predators don't care that you are a human and will keep on going.
     
  9. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    412
    5
    141
    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    I agree with silkiechicken. I live in the middle of nowhere and and haven't been bothered by predators (knock on wood). My theory is that out in the boondocks, critters don't need to come to your house for dinner, their dinner is everywhere around them. When you get closer to the suburbs, they have to look for food where they can find it.
     
  10. horsewishr

    horsewishr Chillin' With My Peeps

    440
    17
    151
    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    Quote:I've seen the same thing. My neighbors coop has gaping holes under the fence, and they've never been bothered by predators. But we're in a very rural area, and there are tons of wild critters for he predators to eat. I do wonder if things might change in the winter, though, when the prey animals become more scarce.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by