Sub-zero temps: What can I do to keep the girls warm?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by loverofbirds14, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. loverofbirds14

    loverofbirds14 Out Of The Brooder

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    Here in Wisconsin, we are supposed to have sub-zero temps all week. When I winterized my coop I covered the ventilation holes with boards. However, I wanted to make sure the girls would be ok with the cold and when I checked. I cold see light around the boards. I am worried about drafts. I cut up a food bag and stuck it in the holes, but I am still concerned. I could see my breath in the coop. Is there anything else I can do for them?
     
  2. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    In Canada I am subject to -40ยบ cold snaps. I do NOT heat my coop. Murphy's law says my birds will find out what -40 is all about when my hydro goes out. Regardless what you decide feed extra Corn over the winter you will not be sorry.

    Or something like this may help also; You could even knit a hoodie for those extra cold days..

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  3. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have adequate venting above their heads when they are on the roost? You close off the vents and frostbite will be your problem.
     
  4. loverofbirds14

    loverofbirds14 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm not sure I understand. [​IMG] The vents on my coop are about 8 inches wide and 12 inches high. I use them in the summer to allow air to get in and keep the coop cool, but cover them in the winter to keep the coop warm. I have never had problems before, but this is the first year that I've been able to see light around the vents. How would vents keep frostbite away when it would let the cold are in?
     
  5. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's the damp air that will give them frostbite in the cold not just the cold itself. There needs to be air circulation above their heads or you will end up with frostbit combs and the birds will be even colder because of the dampness in the air. That's why you see people snowboarding in the mountains with only a sweatshirt on, the air is super dry so it doesn't feel as cold.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ventilation is much more important that heat.
    Humidity in freezing temps is what causes frostbite-especially to combs/wattles, accumulated ammonia fumes can cause respiratory problems.

    Ventilation without drafts can be confusing.
    You want lots of ventilation (1 sq ft per bird is recommended) to let out the humid, ammonia laden air, but you don't want your vents to be able to create a strong draft directly on the roost. Plan your venting with the prevailing winds on the site taken into consideration. You can make vents with closable doors in case of severe weather events.

    Here's a great article on ventilation.
     
  7. loverofbirds14

    loverofbirds14 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 3, 2013
    Wisconsin
    [​IMG]
    this is my coop. Sorry about the the picture quality. The two boards on the frontbare covering my ventilation holes. The article did have good info, but my roost runs along the back of the whole coop, which is only about 3 feet wide, 5 feet long and 4 feet high. Where could I put vents where the roost would be sheltered. This morning it was -11in the sun.
     
  8. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So it looks like to me that their roost is lower than the vents. No vents in back by their roosts? Then I would not cover those front vents. That's my opinion.
     
  9. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is the window side of the coop facing east? You could install these vents from Loweshttp://m.lowes.com/product?langId=-1&storeId=10702&catalogId=10051&productId=3284588&store=595&view=detail&nValue=4294858181. I have 2 much larger versions in my shed coop. I would put them at the top of the coop just under the roofline on the 2 walls perpendicular to the window wall. Whatever you do, don't put the vent on the wall that gets the predominant wind.
     
  10. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, if the roosts are in the lower rear of the coop, you could leave the vent open, as long as snow doesn't blow in.
     

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