Preparing the coop, chickens, and everything else for Winter. Tips?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sebloc, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2016
    Connecticut
    Hello everyone :D
    I know there's already a lot of other post about winter and other things, but I kind of want to consider not only the chickens themselves, but how to keep the entire living condition and other things safe.

    I live in Connecticut, and as any tri-stater knows, temperature, weather, you name it, change in the blink of an eye.

    In Connecticut, temperatures get down to the mid 20s, sometimes even into the 10s, and even negatives. Wind and gust can get strong in the winter, as well as snowfall.

    Tips to keeping chickens and the coop safe/winter proof? The safety of the chickens always starts with the coop and/or run.

    Here are some of my own personal questions, as I have never witnessed a New England winter with chickens before (labled coop questions and chicken questions).

    Coop questions:
    -Should you worry about snow build up?

    -Keeping the coop warm? Well, the chickens produce the heat, but how do you keep this heat maintained in the coop? Whether you have 2 chickens or 50?

    -The freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). For most, that temperature is bypassed and the water is well on its way to freezing. Rigging up a water warmer/heater is not in most's best interest, due to the fact that this is a heavy causer of fires. Any fire hazard should be eliminated, especially due to the fact that the coop is almost 100 percent flammable. How do you keep water from freezing?

    -Vents are important to keeping the coop dry. But. What about drafts? How do you prevent drafts? How many vents should there be? How many should be open? We have 1 window that is always open, 4 vents on 2 sides of the coop, and then one built into the top, like a cupola.

    -Good bedding during the winter. Pine shavings still? Run bedding?

    Chicken questions:
    -Can chickens get frostbite? What are the signs if any?

    -Letting chickens in the yard during a snow day. Is walking in snow a no?

    -Though I would figure not, if the temperature goes down below -10 (or lower) is supplemental heat needed?

    -How to increase more egg production during the winter

    -Chicken behavior during the winter. Anything to look for? Ex. Shivering and shaking

    -Eggs freezing. How to prevent this? I know it takes a while for this to happen, but having the assumption that we (or someone) do(es)n't have the ability to make it out.

    Any other problems or concerns anyone else may have? Please write below and hopefully someone can answer for you.

    Thank you for any information that you can provide. I hope to help others as well as myself. Keep in mind that I put both that the reasoning I put coop questions and chicken questions together in "managing your flock" was so I didn't have to make 2 forums and have to flip back and forth between the two. Seems to be smarter to mix the two here.

    -sebloc
     
  2. sdml19

    sdml19 Just Hatched

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    Sep 26, 2016
    Hi!
    Living where we frequently have -30s at night in the winter, I have a few suggestions. I'll try and answer as many of your questions as I can.

    Coop:

    As far a snow buildup outside the coop, we actually packed around the outside with served as additional insulation.

    Again, we installed insulation in our coop.

    For the water- we purchased "heat tape" (you can get it at fleet farm and wrapped it around our waterer.

    For vents, I keep a window slightly open all the time expect if it's very cold/snowy/windy

    I still used pine shavings, have a lot in there. For the run, if it is not covered aka the ground will cover with snow, the I shovel out at least part of the run every time it snows otherwise the chickens won't go outside.

    Chickens:

    They can get frostbite. Especially on their face. I use coconut oil (vaseline would also work) on their combs at night.

    See above on walking in snow

    For supplemental heat, I use a red bulb in a heat lamp projector, but not an actual heat lamp. It gives some heat and encourages egg laying while keeping fire hazard at a minimum.

    I just covered egg production

    I can't answer on chicken behavior as I've never seen any usual behavior weather-related in my one winter with chickens.

    For eggs, keep nesting boxes filled with bedding, etc. I don't remember having many (if any) eggs freeze last winter.

    I hope this helps!
     
  3. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2016
    Connecticut
    Thanks! Don't think I'm gonna put insulation in the walls, but hopefully if I can get a lot of bedding packed around the walls that will help. Thanks again!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
     

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