Starting to worry about Winter!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lhayes1976, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. lhayes1976

    lhayes1976 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    Here's a pic of my coop:
    [​IMG]

    I plan on putting shutters over the window when the cold weather gets here. Right now I have sand on the floor in the coop--should I put some shavings over that in the winter? Their water is now outside in a plastic container with nipples on the bottom. I plan on moving the feeder and water to the inside.
    Their coop is in a 24x24 fenced garden. I let them out about 1/2 hour everyday to peck around in it. I'd like to do it some in the winter, I'm new to chickens this year and it will be my first winter--so can they find food on the ground in the winter? Also, the coop is not insulated--will it be okay? I'm already starting to stress over the girls being out during the winter and it's a few months away.
     
  2. ryan820

    ryan820 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Colorado
    What breed do you have? I ask because some are better at winters than others, but in general, there is little you will need to do to help them stay healthy and comfortable in the winter.

    Limit drafts but be sure the air inside and still bent out the top or near the top. That will keep the humidity down and the fresh air up, which is all they really need, even if it gets very cold, which to me, very cold is below zero. Anything above that is just cold, but even below zero there isn't much you need to do if you flock is cold hardy.

    As for the run, I wouldn't muddle it with straw or mulch or anything for that matter. Chickens, even in the snow, will forage so you don't need to do anything special.

    If you get a big storm and things become difficult for the flock as in deep snow, they may need to spend a few days in the coop, which in that case, giving them toys, like a head of lettuce they can hardly reach, or black oil sunflower seeds will keep them occupied and from pecking one another.

    Observe your flock ... They'll tell you if they need something. Also, don't heat the coop...let them grow a coat of feathers appropriate to their natural conditions.
     
  3. hcppam

    hcppam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Good advice! [​IMG]
     
  4. lhayes1976

    lhayes1976 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    They are Golden Comets. So they will still forage in the winter? Right now I'm pretty diligent about keeping the poop board scraped, but I know I'm not going to want to go out daily in the winter, would a once a week scrap be ok for a coop as small as mine?
     
  5. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    I would put the pine shavings... If your windows are glass, don't cover them. They need that natural sunlight, will be happier for it. If you can keep the snow shoveled down in the run, they'd be happier, and then throw some scratch in the run, so they have something to dig for in the snow thats left. But other than that, I'd say the coop looks sufficient for shelter. I've seen people with coops not so nice around here and their chickens are happy. Some chickens that are weather hardy will even go outside most the day... I am planning to let mine continue to live how they are now... Coop at nite, and running around all day if they want...
     
  6. ryan820

    ryan820 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Colorado
    To add to that, since your run is kinda small, I would consider covering it when you know snow is in the forecast and then simply remove it when the storm is done...easier than shoveling and your run will be dry and snow free.
     
  7. trooper

    trooper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Staunton,Va
    :cool:My chickens have the oportunity to go outside all day long.Make sure their roost has a board about 2x4 size so that when they roost their feet will stay warm under their body.I check mine every day for frozen water,make sure they have plenty of feed,and gather eggs.I had Golden Comets and my rooster wouldn't go in the coop,only for water and feed.He survived.They are tougher than you might think.I feed scratch and shelled corn as a treat in the winter by sprinkling it in their run.This helps give them body heat in the winter.I like to watch them walk on the cold ground.They high step it.I also feed them their regular feed.I leave pine shaving on the floor and in their nest boxes.It helps keep the floor from getting real cold and also absorbes impact on their feet when they jump around.Protects eggs in the nest boxes.
     

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