Newbie fromNorthern Michigan


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 24, 2014
Hi, new to the posting part of the forum. I've been reading everything I can about raising backyard chickens on this site and figured it was time to chime in. I recently purchased 18 chicks of various breeds, a bunch of yellow ones, a couple white ones, a couple black ones, and a couple multi colored ones. As I said in the title I'm from Northern Michigan and we have some brutal winters (we got 17-1/2 feet of snow yes FEET of snow and 30+ days below zero last winter). Any advice on cold weather BYC keeping would be appreciated. I am in the process of building the Taj Mahul of coops right now (I think ill name it "Chick Mahul"). So far the coop is going to be 8'x12' elevated 24" off of the ground. It will have a automatic door and a heated pressurized water system. The floor, walls, and roof will all be insulated with reflective insulation inside on the ceiling. The run will be 8'x16' plus below the henhouse. I have 10 nesting boxes on the plans that will have channels on the inside to close off any that aren't needed or cause problems with chickens sleeping in them. The floor will be covered with vinyl flooring with a clean out door the entire width on one end. I'll post pictures as I build it. The parameter of the run is going to have multiple layers of scrap fencing buried 2' down and 2' out from the hardware cloth walls as well as chain link fence 6" down under the entire run. I'm thinking "Chick-Knox" is looking more appropriate for a name at this point, I'm starting to wonder if I'll be able to get in! I didn't mention this before but the farm is 5 miles away from where I live so I can't just look out the window and see how the girls are doing. Congratulations on a great site and I'll keep you all posted on everything.


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Congratulation s on your new chicks, hope they do well for you!
If you want to try and figure out what breeds they are, you could post pictures in the What Breed Or Gender Is This forum

That chicken coop sure sounds like a cross between the Taj Mahal, Fort Knox and Buckingham Palace be sure to put it up in the BYC Coops section and we are definitely going to want to see how the build is going in the Coop/Run design forum Living that far away where you can't see them most of the time is scary, sounds like you are doing a good job foreseeing potential problems.

There are some nice threads on winterizing your coop, here was a long one with a lot of tips
And you might want to check out your state thread for chicken keeping neighbors and what they do to deal with your weather


5 Years
Apr 23, 2014
Sunny California!


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Mar 21, 2011
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop

Welcome to BYC!

Kelsie has really set you up with the links! Make sure to put good ventilation in your coop. Even if your over night temps might be going down to -10, you will want your vents open. 1 square foot per bird in your eaves or ceiling. When chickens breath and poop all night, they are putting out a lot of moisture. This warm wet air has to go somewhere. If your ventilation is poor, this warm moist air is going to rise, cool or freeze, and fall back down on the birds as water or frost, really chilling the birds. You want your birds to roost low to the floor in quiet air, vents on two sides of your ceiling or eaves, and this moisture will rise and head right out your roof, keeping your birds dry and warm. The birds themselves will also put out heat. So this quiet air will help to keep this bubble of warm air around them as well.

I like to tack an old towel to my roost bar in early winter to keep the feet warm. Warm feet mean warmer birds. Birds loose heat thru the feet. Keep the feet warm and the birds are automatically warmer.

As for insulating your coop, be careful with this. You don't want your coop too much warmer than the outside air. Just as when you go outside in the winter from a 68 degree house into 15 degree cold, even a coat sometimes is not enough. Well birds can't put on a coat. And you don't want them to chill or refuse to go out on cold days. They should get out every day into the run or to free range for good health, fresh air and exercise. This will keep them from getting respiratory ailments and other issues from hanging around in the coop all winter.

Follow all those links that Kelsie has left for you. And welcome to our flock!
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Up Northerner
10 Years
Mar 26, 2011
Upper Peninsula Michigan
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan

As said above, ventilation is key, even in very cold climates. I have a window in my coop that stays open all year, ventilating warm moist air out. My only frostbite occurred when a misguided chicken sitter closed the window during a cold snap while I was gone.

Hope you stop by the Michigan thread and say Hi, look in the Where am I - Where are You section of the Forum

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