panicking - Winter Storm Coming!

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
262
207
108
Bergen County New Jersey
HI All. I have read and understood that it is bad to supplement heat in the coop for my 4 hens (born in March) but the temps are supposed to drop to 13 degrees day after tomorrow. One of my girls still has pinfeathers coming in on her neck. I don't have the option to bring them inside because of my dogs. They have a strong sturdy coop with ventilation and lots of bedding which I scoop daily (every last bit of poo) and a run that is only covered with tarps. Should I scramble to find a heat source for them? I can't put their food or water into the coop because mine always knock over things and I don't want it to get wet in there. Help! Any last ditch ideas to protect my girls? Wednesday night it will snow into Thursday afteroon - totals 12 inches and the temps down to 13 with wind gusts 15-20mph
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
262
207
108
Bergen County New Jersey
I wouldn't add heat. With that much snow at once, you may have power outages depending on how everything comes.
Do you have anything on the run walls to block most of the snow from getting into the run?
yes but just tarps. We had them secured on there with ball bungees but we might nail them in to prevent the slapping against the run that scares them so much. We do have a whole-house generator that I assume would also work for the electricity to the coop - but I just don't know - it is such short notice -we should have prepared better, earlier. The coop is new and clean and padded with tons of pine shavings and DE - I scoop out every dropping every day, but their food and water is outside in the run and it is supposed to be so windy! I am so worried about them
 

CluckerFamily

Enabler
5 Years
Feb 14, 2016
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Wisconsin
yes but just tarps. We had them secured on there with ball bungees but we might nail them in to prevent the slapping against the run that scares them so much. We do have a whole-house generator that I assume would also work for the electricity to the coop - but I just don't know - it is such short notice -we should have prepared better, earlier. The coop is new and clean and padded with tons of pine shavings and DE - I scoop out every dropping every day, but their food and water is outside in the run and it is supposed to be so windy! I am so worried about them
I leave my food out in the run all year long. For the winter, I have the waterer in the coop only so I don’t have to run the heater base in an extension cord... most people leave the water in the run instead.
 

AntiqueB

Crowing
Aug 27, 2020
1,261
4,340
496
Bergen County, NJ
I'm in the same county as you, and have 2 chickens hatched in August. I have the run sides mostly covered with plastic sheeting, so the girls have a place to stay out of the wind. The top is also covered, and the coop door stays open all day.

I plan to create a small shelter between the coop and a large deck box we have outside by placing some plywood over the gap (about 2 feet), and anchoring it with a smaller deck box for the wind. That will provide some shelter outside the coop and run, and also a place for their water (I have a heated dog bowl, and electricity near, but not in, the coop). If I didn't have that bowl, I would use a rubber one I have, and just change the water a couple times. You could also use a pond or fish tank bubbler to keep it ice-free, if you have that.

Truthfully, I mainly envision them hiding under the deck all day. They usually go under there when it rains, or is windy. That was their hideout today!

They also seem to be ok with the cold. I suppose it also depends on the breed you have. I have an EE and a BO, both of which are rather floofy, and already prefer cooler weather.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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My Coop
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Your flock will be fine as long as the coop remains dry and there are no drafts on the birds. My flock has experienced temps as low as -23F in an unheated and uninsulated coop with lots of ventilation. Everyone was fine.
Just make sure they go to roost with a full crop and get access to feed at dawn.
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
262
207
108
Bergen County New Jersey
Your flock will be fine as long as the coop remains dry and there are no drafts on the birds. My flock has experienced temps as low as -23F in an unheated and uninsulated coop with lots of ventilation. Everyone was fine.
Just make sure they go to roost with a full crop and get access to feed at dawn.
Okay thanks - so as long as they can get out and eat a bit and drink a bit here and there it is okay to leave the food and water out in the run?
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
262
207
108
Bergen County New Jersey
I'm in the same county as you, and have 2 chickens hatched in August. I have the run sides mostly covered with plastic sheeting, so the girls have a place to stay out of the wind. The top is also covered, and the coop door stays open all day.

I plan to create a small shelter between the coop and a large deck box we have outside by placing some plywood over the gap (about 2 feet), and anchoring it with a smaller deck box for the wind. That will provide some shelter outside the coop and run, and also a place for their water (I have a heated dog bowl, and electricity near, but not in, the coop). If I didn't have that bowl, I would use a rubber one I have, and just change the water a couple times. You could also use a pond or fish tank bubbler to keep it ice-free, if you have that.

Truthfully, I mainly envision them hiding under the deck all day. They usually go under there when it rains, or is windy. That was their hideout today!

They also seem to be ok with the cold. I suppose it also depends on the breed you have. I have an EE and a BO, both of which are rather floofy, and already prefer cooler weather.
Ok thanks! yeah we just got polycarbonate sheets but not with enough time to put it up before this storm so all we have is tarps. Our coop is outside the run so they don't have access to a deck. So for now, it is the coop and the tarps. I did buy a heated water feeder but haven't used it yet. I think I will try it out tomorrow night before the storm to see how it goes. Thanks for the words of encouragement!
 

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