Newbie in northern MN has questions.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by joelster666, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. joelster666

    joelster666 New Egg

    Mar 18, 2015
    Hi all. I'm converting a 6'x6'shed into a chicken coop. Our winters get to -40f (live north of Duluth MN...brrr) I have no idea what I'm doing, but determined to get approx. 6-8 layers in the shed. Do any of you have any pointers regarding heating, ventilation, or layout? Any feedback would be rockin'. I found a 14"x 30" window that opens that I will put on the S side, as well as ventilation on the N side. I haven't insulated yet and was wondering what insulation u used, along with ventilation advice etc.. specific to a really really cold place like northern MN (Palo, Mn). Again any advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm going to get my chicks in like 1 1/2 weeks,the clocks a tickin'. Have a great day everyone!
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Welcome to BYC from northern Michigan :D

    Chickens are much more tolerant of cold than they are heat. Many of us even in extremely cold climates do not heat our coops. Draft-free, well-ventilated coops keep birds healthier. Supplying heat can, under some circumstances, increase the risk of frostbite, as it allows water vapor to form then re-freeze. Also, if your birds suddenly loose their heat source (power outage, burned out light) they are not as well-acclimated to cold.

    The most important cold weather considerations:
    - ventilation
    - draft-free
    - fresh unfrozen water
    - comfortable insulating bedding such as a thick layer of wood shavings
    - free access to food
    - cold-tolerant breeds smaller combs less likely to frostbite

    What you don't need
    - heavy insulation
    - sealing the coop closed
    - sand bedding (/in the winter anyway) , too cold and hard
    - birds with large frost-prone combs

    You might check out the Minnesota thread too
  3. Rhetts

    Rhetts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2015
    Northern Minnesota
    That was really great info!!
    I was going to recommend the MN thread too.
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I agree with 1muttsfan. I live in Northern Wyoming, not too far from Yellowstone Park. I did not insulate, heat, or do anything aside from making sure that ventilation was adequate. I made sure that there are windows on all sides of the coop that can be opened or closed, depending on the prevailing winds. We covered the run in clear plastic, which kept it a few degrees warmer from the thin winter sunshine,and I didn't lose a single bird to the cold. I came far closer to losing a couple to heat last summer. [​IMG] We used a stock tank heater in the water, but still had to go out a couple of times and thaw the nipples and release the icicles that formed between the nipples and the ground. I use just about everything I can get my hands on for litter, starting with a thick layer of pine shavings. I realized that I wasn't getting much decomposition in that, and asked some further questions about using DL successfully. I have since started adding a little straw, grass clippings, dried leaves, weeds and other garden refuse, and it's coming along very nicely.

    Just make sure that your roosts are adequate for them to be able to protect their feet. A 2x4 laid so the wide side is up is very helpful - they do better if they can actually sit on their feet and use their feathers and natural insulation to keep those tooties warm. Small, skinny branches just don't cut it.....these are chickens, not finches. That said, if you have access to a limb from a tree that is thick enough in diameter so they can accomplish the same thing, then go for it! I have a couple of them out in their run and they spend a lot of time on them during the day.

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