Preparing Your Flock & Coop for WINTER

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by iwiw60, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. redbudchix

    redbudchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Sorry...I left out "leaves"! Lol...
     
  2. mtchickengal

    mtchickengal Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2014
    Great Falls, MT
    Hi all.
    It took me 2 days, but I read this entire thread. I love this website...it's like chicken lover candy!! Addicted! I was going through the coop pics thread...like 10-15 pages/eve before bed. Then I decided I better see what other more experienced chicken owners do for winter.

    I am a first year chicken owner, too. My coop is similar in size/shape to "yellowchicks" from NJ. Mine is not insulated, tho. I have my enclosed/fenced run covered too. I let my girls out to run my yard every, day all day(25'X76'). They're chomping at the bit to get out every morning. My fenced run area is about 10'X5' + 4'X5' under the coop. I always just leave the door open all day. By fenced, I mean framed & enclosed in 1/2" hardware cloth. My yard is fenced with normal fencing(some wood, some chain link.)

    So in winter prep mode, I covered the coop run with tin roofing; made an upstairs (they didn't navigate the stairs well, tho! lol...now it has a ramp); put clear plastic shower curtains with screws & washers around a lot of the hardware cloth; & put up some rope lights in the 2nd floor & out the side of the coop into the covered run area. I do have a heated poultry waterer that I got at the feed store. Gonna hook it up this weekend, as next week we will be below freezing all week...Yuck! The rope lights have only about 9 feet of it in the actual coop the rest are snaked along the framing under the tin roof. they have a plug & timer attached to the bottom of the pop door ramp. (these things have all been back pain creators, btw!) The rope lights come on at about 5:20 ish. My BA rooster has mentioned it many times!!!! I have ear plugs on the nightstand now. Oh yeah, I also built a series of roosting bars near the foundation of my house which is right next to the coop. Thinking that they might like to hang out there in cold weather, since it is still outside the coop, but in the run area.

    So, I guess I am just generally nervous about winter. I am considering how to insulate my laying boxes. I have 2 in the coop that will be fine, & 2 that are attached to the side. probably will be like an egg freezer. Thinking about putting a piece of pink foam insulation on the top inside, as they cannot reach that to eat it. They rarely are in the coop/run area. I guess I wonder if they will realize it is quite comfortable in there. They do spend more time in there now that it is mostly covered. I did leave some uncovered for ventilation. I am going to make a cat shelter like the tubs posted earlier. I have 2 outdoor cats that help keep the mice controlled.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Yes, you are going to get hit with snow pretty dang good this next week. It's just missing us here in Oregon, but it will be much colder, too. Sounds like you've done some pretty good preparations for your girls! I would love to see some pics of your setup...sounds cozy! I wish you all the very best! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  4. rubyvulture

    rubyvulture New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2011
    Illinois
    Does anyone have any suggestions for accommodating a lone little banty hen for winter roosting. I have 6 chickens but one little hen never roosts with the others and I'm afraid she'll freeze when it gets really cold I have several roost heights in my coop but she chooses to roost on top of the two plastic bucket nest boxes. Doesnt seem like a very cozy spot to me
     
  5. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2014
    Maine
    The cold temps rolling in may make her change her mind about where to roost but if the bigger birds aren't letting her up there, I'd be adding another roost away from them if you can and getting her a little friend
     
  6. suncatcher

    suncatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 20, 2012
    In front of my computer
    Subscribing so I can read this before winter truly sets in here, which will be next week according to weather forecasts! I live in Central Colorado Rockies at 8700 feet, and it can get quite cold here. I have one insulted coop, another partially insulated and one with no insulation. The insulated coop is nice and snug, even during our snow storms. I am hoping to complete the insulation on my other coops soon. I don;t use any external heat via lamps, etc, and no lights, as I am trying to keep them as natural as possible.

    Looking forward to reading this thread!!
     
  7. rubyvulture

    rubyvulture New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2011
    Illinois
    We've already had some below freezing nites and it doesnt seem to have made her change her mind. I was thinking of fashioning a small dome shaped covering to put over where she roosts so it would hold in her body heat. Has anyone tried something like this?
     
  8. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    You might try lifting her up and putting her on the roost with the others. You may have to do this each night til she and the others 'get it' but it would definitely be worth it for the well-being of that little banty.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. rubyvulture

    rubyvulture New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2011
    Illinois
    I'll give it a try but she's rather independent all the time. I notice she gets put out when they eat and she's usuallly sort of off by herself. If I could I would just bring her in the house for the winter but I have four cats so not an option. :)! Hppefully I can get my coop winterized well enough that the other hens body heat will reach her where she's at
     
  10. CanaDawn

    CanaDawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 1, 2014
    ok, finally, I get some photos.
    Stood out there today staring at the set up trying to imagine how to fix it to be more functional...
    Shed from outside, doors open, typical unlovely garden shed, metal, with sliding doors:
    .[​IMG]

    cage set up, currently. They can't access the bottom part, the doors swing open to each side, wire front
    [​IMG]

    Silkie and one of the two seramas, showing waterer and gravity feeder of crumbles, cage door open
    [​IMG]

    perch area, with scratch hopper (yes, it's temporarily empty at time of photo!) There's sand and grit to the left, pine shavings on the rest of the floor.
    [​IMG]
    I need to set up some kind of nest box.
    They have been going out into an x-pen with a shower curtain top when the weather is decent.
    The weather is NOT going to be decent, we've got lows in the -20C/-4F coming up in a day or two (If all else fails, I will bring them in for a day or two, but I don't have a space in the house or garage where they can overwinter.)

    Any ideas? They are happily laying most days, despite the lack of specific nest box, they are right now contentedly scratching and pecking around in the cage, they use the perches and seem warm enough so far at night (but won't be by Monday...)

    I do have a larger brooder lamp that is hanging from the center beam, but I turned it off after reading about getting them used to the cold. (Our farm hens naturally got used to it over the fall, as they were free range 95% of the time - these guys right now rely on me to put them in or out)
     

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