Preparing Your Flock & Coop for WINTER

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

  1. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Central Oregon
    I'd like to know the dimensions on your shed...it looks like it could be made to function well for you. And how many chickens do you have? That will determine how many nest boxes you will need. What breed(s) are they also. What part of the country do you live in?? I'll be better able to help you with how/where to put things...[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  2. CanaDawn

    CanaDawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    typical garden shed, so I think probably 8' square
    two seramas and a silkie
    Northern Alberta.
     
  3. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    I think the shed is fine for the birds you have. I am also guessing that the two screened door that open outward are for the entire pen? If so, you might cover the screen on the door on the right when the weather gets really cold. The heat lamp in the picture will warm the air at the open end and they can retreat to what will be a warmer space on the right of the pen. You probably are going to have a freezing water issue but that is easily handled. I would be cautious using a water "heater" in such a small area as there could be issues with additional heating.

    Also, if you have the space, you could do some shed insulation simply by using bales of hay (9 bucks at Tractor Supply here) which will help to insulate the pen as a whole. Just be carefull with fire hazzards.

    We are under a freeze watch here tonight, a week early, but I think we will be o.k. My bantams are still inside in a brooder and my big girls are all hunkered down and cuddling together.

    Good luck.
     
  4. CanaDawn

    CanaDawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I considered and rejected water heaters so far. May look into an aquarium heater option, but for now will just keep what I'm doing. There's no easy way to handle frozen water issues in this climate...and it's complicated by the tiny size of the seramas, it seems like.
    yes, the two screened doors are across the front of the cage, half of it covered by each door
    The heat lamp that is on in the photo has only a 60W light in it. The brooder light is a 250W.
    I'm planning to put straw around the outside of the shed ($3 a bale here, direct purchase) and maybe tape in a layer of foam insulation (since the birds are in the cage and won't be able to access the foam), and a foil bubble insulation sheet over the wire (good point re putting it over half)

    We're way past a freeze watch, and are under a snowfall warning, and deepfreeze conditions.

    I wondered about using a heated pet bed, after noticing them today in the store. The immediate cons to them that occurred to me was cleaning issues, and the birds scratching behaviour. The pro was the small heated surface, mild heat, safe system (designed for pets and for outside use), and heat from below. (and now thinking about heated reptile rocks.)
     
  5. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

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    East Tennessee.
    I live in Tennessee, but we still get some 0 F nights once in a while.
    I keep my hens in fairly large A frame coops and net fencing. both ends are open to insure plenty of ventilation.
    On cold nights when the temp drops into the teens I staple feed sacks over part of both ends to keep in extra heat.

    I dump their water every night and refill it in the morning with fresh warm water, something they really enjoy.

    I also give them extra sunflowers and organic corn.

    Dust baths are also important. I have a large rubber bowl that I fill with dirt, wood ash, and sand which I keep in the run for them.

    sunlight is also good for them if possible.

    interesting topic BTW.
     
  6. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    My Sebrights are small but easily half again larger than Seramas. They tend to be, by my limited experience, more hardy than we might think. Be careful about heat since it will impede the birds natural ability to regulate its own temp. You will need some I am sure but too much heat is always more dangerous for birds than too much cold. Wish I could get 3 dollar a bale hay. I go through a lot with my large chickens, ducks and geese. If you give them fresh water every a.m. and make sure it does not freeze during the day they should be o.k. in that regard. If you have not done so, put a thermometer in the side of the pen the light shines on and check the temp. You may want a larger wattage buld but play that one by ear.
     
  7. CanaDawn

    CanaDawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure if you bought out of the field it would be cheaper than buying retail. Is that a possibility? That's straw at $3 a bale, too, not hay. Good hay is quite a bit more.
     
  8. CanaDawn

    CanaDawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There's pretty much no way water won't freeze in the day. Starting very soon, our daytime highs will be in the 0F/-18C area regularly.

    What temperature would I be looking for, if I set up a thermometer?
     
  9. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    You may then either need to do some sort of water heater or take water out to them pretty often. However, if you can get the temp up with a heat lamp it should also keep the water thawed. I would try to get the temp above freezing definitely but remember that you are not trying to give them tropical heat. Just enough to allow them to regulate their own body temps. I would shoot for between 35 and 45 degrees.

    I will check around for some cheaper hay/straw. We have a lot of that being grown and baled around here but it usually is those huge rolls that cost several hundred dollars. I have been buying costal which works for bedding and is still something that the ducks and geese can nibble at.
     
  10. CanaDawn

    CanaDawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes, that temp would certainly mean no frozen water, but it will also mean a LOT of heating. This is my concern - that they will need it that warm, which is going to be very hard to do in that setup.
     

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