New Member:

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MN-Karousel, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. MN-Karousel

    MN-Karousel New Egg

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    Dec 10, 2014
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    I am considering raising a few chickens for eggs when retire which should be sometime in the next 3-6 years. I'm starting my research in coop design. I have a 12 x 20' shed next to my barn and I plan to use the back third of the shed for the coop and the area between the barn and the shed for the outside area. Too many cats (barn and feral) to give the chickens free range. Once I have the coop designed and built then I'll get some chickens. Any suggestions on keeping chickens in a cold climate would be appreciated.
     
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. Good cold hardy breeds that I've raised over the past 50 years in winter temperatures as low as 30 F below zero are Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Buff Cochins, Black Jersey Giants, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Light Brahmas, Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Reds, and Barred Rocks. Also, if egg production is a priority and you don't mind hybrids, Black and Red Sex Links are cold hardy as well and great winter layers (especially the Black Sex Links). Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Whatever breed or hybrid you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    The key to keeping chickens warm in the winter is a draft free coop with adequate ventilation. Chickens come with insulating feathers and withstand brutally cold temps if they have time to acclimate to the on coming winter and have good ventilation in the coop. Seal up all cracks around the roost bar so any air can't disturb the bubble of warmth the birds themselves will create. You don't want to suck the heat out of the birds. Have the birds roost low to the floor. Chickens put out a lot of warm moist air all night pooping and breathing. This warm wet air will rise to your ceiling and if has no where to go will fall back down on the birds as water or frost chilling the birds or giving them frost bite. But if you have good ventilation, this warm moist air will rise up and go out the vents keeping the birds nice and warm. You will want approximately 1 square foot of vent space per bird in your eaves or ceiling. Half of the vents on once side of the coop, and half on the other, one vent area lower than the ones on the other side. This will create a positive air flow of constant air going in the low side and out the high side.

    Now you can close off SOME of the lower side vents on a windy night to slow the movement of air. But NEVER close all your vents off. The birds need a lot of oxygen and a place for all this warm wet air to go. Keeping your vents closed will also create a bad air situation from the poop smells that can damage their lungs. So let that air fly!!

    You can also tack an old towel onto the roost bar to keep the feet warm. Birds lose heat through the feet. So warm feet mean warmer birds.

    And if the over night temp is going to be 30 or 40 degrees BELOW your average over night low, then you might add a heat lamp to the birds. You are not trying to heat the coop, only warm up their bubble of air a bit. You can remove the lamp when this bitter cold snap is gone and you return to your normal over night lows. ALWAYS permanently attach your heat lamp to the wall or ceiling and never rely on the clamp. They can fail, fall and cause a fire.

    Here are a few threads and articles on keeping chickens in the winter you might want to read or join in on...

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/822765/winter-is-coming-checklists-tips-advice-for-a-newbie

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/920320/preparing-your-flock-coop-for-winter

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/winter-chicken-keeping

    You might also want to chat with your chicken neighbors too as to how they do things, the breeds they keep and how they keep their birds warm....https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/72771/minnesota

    Good luck and try to stay warm this winter!! :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    The first thing is to pick breeds that fit your climate. For a cold climate, you want the cold weather hardy breeds. Michael O'Shay has given you some good choices. I am a big fan of the Wyandottes. Mine have done well in 0 and below 0 temperatures, but do fine in summer's heat as well. They are quite cold hardy because of their small combs and fluffy feathers. Stay away from the Meditteranean type breeds in general, such as Leghorns and Minorcas. Those breeds have large combs and are more tightly feathered, making them less resistant to the cold.

    But, almost any chicken breed can work in a cold climate if they are properly housed. Do make sure that the coop is draft-free, but be sure to have plenty of ventilation! Ventilation, as Two Crows said, is one of the most important things in keeping chickens in cold weather. Even if it gets cold, a lack of moisture in the air reduces the risk of frostbite. Of course, if it is way below freezing a heat lamp may be neccesary. But heat lamps are a fire hazard and should only be used if neccesary.
     
  5. Book Em Danno25

    Book Em Danno25 Overrun With Chickens

    Glad to have you! [​IMG]
     
  6. Book Em Danno25

    Book Em Danno25 Overrun With Chickens

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  7. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
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  9. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.
     
  10. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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