Seeking advice on winterizing and predator-proofing (photo heavy)

ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
Nov 3, 2020
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Atlanta GA
I want to do them at the same time because it would be a waste to put hardware cloth everywhere to predator-proof and then have to put boards on top of that to winterize. I am hoping to come up with something that is acceptable winter and summer in Georgia. It hasn't been under 5F in 15 years
(Record Lows).

Main "Coop"
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Not visible: wooden panel 5 or 6 boards wide in the middle of the two chicken areas has been removed so all the chickens have access to both sides. Same panel exists between peachick pen and chicken pen but is currently in place.
The back of the pen just kinda stops when it hits the fence line with the fence being used as the back, chicken wire or 1/2" mesh has been used to close that off.
Chicken pen: ~14'x14' combined

Ideally these guys just sleep in here. They arent usually this cramped, 2 roosts are down. Locked up atm to teach the girls where to lay but typically free range. I plan to buy a new hanging feeder eventually.


Side "Coop" and "Run"
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These pictures are less thorough than I realized. Let me know if they arent enough.
Ideally these birds would live in here full time. Roofed area 85'². Mesh area 64'².
 
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ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
Nov 3, 2020
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For Georgia winterizing, do you need to plan for snow or just wind?
Which direction does your wind tend to come from mostly? You may only have to slightly cover that side of the coop that gets the most wind direction.
We get a tiny amount of snow and not every year. How do I determine which direction the wind tends to come from?
 

CluckerFamily

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Feb 14, 2016
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We get a tiny amount of snow and not every year. How do I determine which direction the wind tends to come from?
My wind always comes from the west or north west. This is the way the rain storms come, and the snow storms. The clouds also seem to travel in this direction too.
I do have a small windmill that helps tell the wind's direction but I also just love the sound of one.
Which directions do your rain storms normally come from?
 

ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
Nov 3, 2020
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Atlanta GA
My wind always comes from the west or north west. This is the way the rain storms come, and the snow storms. The clouds also seem to travel in this direction too.
I do have a small windmill that helps tell the wind's direction but I also just love the sound of one.
Which directions do your rain storms normally come from?
I will ask my SO who is way more observant that I am 😅 and has lived here way longer. I know they dont typically come from the west.
 

cavemanrich

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Apr 6, 2014
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Here is an easy way to determinate your weather patterns. Go to this site and check often. It will show you the prevailing wind directions. I have some friends that live in Alabama/Georgia area known as Tornado Alley. The weather usually comes from the South-west, for them.
https://www.wunderground.com/weather/us/ga/atlanta

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weather underground.PNG


WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and :welcome
 
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Eggofarms

Chirping
Aug 18, 2020
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We are down in Augusta, Ga and I have been having the same concerns with our first time flock. The mid 20s the last 2 nights had/has me concerned.

Our coop is based off the carolina coop by carolina coops but not as polished. We have six 12 in x 12 in windows cut out on the sides and run side of the hen house. The roost bars are at window level and the backside is completely open. All openings are covered with black vinyl 1/2 in hardware cloth.

We designed this mainly with the Georgia heat and humidity in mind because as you know it gets hot. Real hot.

So far they seem ok. Even with the "open" windows and open back, it does seem to keep the main chill out. The birds constantly fight for the window seats as well. I would assume (could be wrong?) that if they got too cold they would eventually get off the roost and bed down below in the pine shavings where there are 3 closed sides.

We put 2 cameras in so we are monitoring them. People say they are hardy but as first timers, I worry.

Anyway, from what I read our summer heat is much more dangerous to them then the cold (besides wind chill). We are thinking if it gets much colder then we can drop a thick towel or something around the windows and back side just for some added insulation. Mid 20s is cold for us Southern folk but we also don't have feathers I reckon!
 

cavemanrich

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Even with the "open" windows and open back, it does seem to keep the main chill out. The birds constantly fight for the window seats as well. I would assume (could be wrong?) that if they got too cold they would eventually get off the roost and bed down below in the pine shavings where there are 3 closed sides.

We are thinking if it gets much colder then we can drop a thick towel or something around the windows and back side just for some added insulation.
I would assume (could be wrong?) that if they got too cold they would eventually get off the roost

Chickens would stay on roost, and loose their body heat due to draft. You need to prevent draft in whatever way is easy for you. Plexiglas covering on outside of those windows would stop draft/wind, but still allow light. I would make panes that hang on some hooks, or hinge on top. During mild weather, just leave opened, or remove from hooks.

drop a thick towel or something around the windows and back side just for some added insulation.
DRAFT PREVENTION. :thumbsup
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and:welcome
 

ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
Nov 3, 2020
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15,965
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Atlanta GA
Oh wow I also would have assumed theyd bed down on the ground if it got too bad but it's probably evolutionarily smarter to brave the cold where you might die than be sitting bait for a predator and almost certainly die.

Yes draft is my biggest concern. @cavemanrich the roosts just have to be draft free? or the entire coop? As you can see, mine is very very open.

Though honestly I have birds that will sleep outside in cold and rain so maybe its fine as long as the weather doesnt get outright insane?
 

cavemanrich

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Apr 6, 2014
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Melrose Park Illinois
the roosts just have to be draft free? or the entire coop?
Your main concern with drafts is when chickens are sleeping. They fluff up their feathers, and that is how they stay warm. Gentle air movement will not ruffle their feathers to remove the warmed layer of air. A draft will ruffle the feathers, thereby blowing away the warmed layer of air, between the skin and outside layer of feathers.
You have a large coop, to try to seal up completely draft free. I think since you are not in a very cold zone, covering over the portions where the roosts are would work to keep chickens comfortable. Consider clear plastic drop-cloths, like used for painting. Staple them where you see need, and it should work. The Plastic is not very durable, but only needs to stay for a short winter season. It is also not very expensive, so in spring time , just rip off.
 

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