Open front coop and winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Oopoo, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Oopoo

    Oopoo Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 10, 2009
    I have an open front coop. It's wonderful in the summer being on wheels and having the pen underneath. I was so afraid of winter. We tucked it up nice next to the house. I put plexi around the bottom to block wind and let in sun. If the temp is below 20* I add the light all night. It's a red 150 W and I just hang it up top and face it away from the girls. I have 3 nests and 6 hens, so someone is always out in the coop. I have 2 hens that refuse anything but the perch and one that sleeps in the bedding either in a nest or out. I cover the screen door with a couple of towels and make sure they don't flap in the wind. When we hit -15* I added a tarp over the whole coop to cut the wind out. They have done fine, I just have to make sure I keep the water filled when the light is on 'cause they stay up drinking and eating all night. I try to limit the light at night so they get some sleep, but when it's cold it stays on. My coop is 4 x 8 up top and the pen underneath is 4 x 9. I have only one case of frostbite--Floppy didn't get her name for nothing- but they're all good. I think they gear up for winter when you keep them out in the changing weather.
    Anyone else got winter stories?
  2. tfpets

    tfpets Mmm, tastes like chicken

    Quote:I live in the foothills of California, and dont get nearly that cold, but we get hard freezes at night quite often at my elevation, down to 20 degrees sometimes, and snow, and sometimes winds up to 70 MPH. I have had 2 Kennel coops blow right over across the pet area! We anchor them with t-post's now, 3 feet down.

    I have several types of housing for my birds, including an enclosed wooden shed coop, chainlink kennel coops, and a carport coop, and my chickens always have shelter available - but convincing some of them to use it is another story! I CANNOT get a certain group of birds to go inside the housing for anything! Even in a snow shower, they are out running around....and at night, up they go to perch in the Nectarine tree. And there are 3 silkies that live with them too...they dont usually like to "roost"...but these do! So even if it's freezing, these birds are out in the tree....Every now and then, if I can do it safely, I take them off the tree one by one at night, and move them to the empty roosts inside a coop to get dry...I am thinking about building a shelter over their spots in the tree! They are very hearty, the most robust birds I have, so they are doing something right! I hate to do it, but I know in order to get them to stay in there at night, I'm going to have to "coop them up" in there for a couple of weeks to change their behavior!

    Give them all the options you want, the birds will make up their own minds! Funny things.

    Take care!

    Charlie - leader of the outsiders - [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  3. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Previously Barred Babies Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Pride, La.
    Mines a open front too!! I live in La. so our weather is pretty mild. We do get in the high 20's a few days a year. When the winter weather set in I stapled a tarp up in front of their roost area but the rest of the coop is open. I just wanted something to keep the wind from blowing on them at night!! Works for us!!

  4. SmartyChick

    SmartyChick An Official Milkmaid

    Oct 19, 2009
    Sullivan County NY
    I have an open air coop too AND live in MA, it get really cold at night. Sometimes we let down a flap in front if we need to baten down the hatches. We also have a heat lamp on a timer. They all seem fine, some perch together and some go in the nesting boxes. The water used to freeze all the time, but we got a heated water bowl to fix that. Now everyones happy! [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by