What do I do in the winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Prisserbabe, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Prisserbabe

    Prisserbabe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2011
    The chicken coop
    Ok it is the chickens first year in snow. What do I need to do? I am going to put a tarp on the top of their run, so that the snow won't fall in. I will also have a water heater for the water. Anything else to let them have a happy winter? What about their feet? Do they get frost bite? In a book It said to put vasaline on there comb so they don't get frostbite, Is that true?! What do you guys do?
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    I do almost nothing extra but then again I'm in an area that only sees snow once every 15 years. Keep them dry and make sure they don't get drafts on them when they're on their roost. But they do need good ventilation. You don't want a moisture buildup in the coop, that's when they're most likely to get frostbite. Mostly, you really don't need to worry until the temps get below 30. That's when the vaseline might help. Most will sail through with no damage at all down to 0 with good housing.
  3. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps


    Mine too... looking forward to what the experienced have to say.
  4. Chicken Man Dan

    Chicken Man Dan Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 4, 2011
    Suburban Ontario
    This is my first winter as well. I'm going to cover the sides of the run with clear plastic film and I have a blue tarp on the top. Hopefully that keeps the draft down for them [​IMG]

  5. Uniontown Poultry

    Uniontown Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    I do the water heater, a light on a timer so they keep laying, put extra chopped straw (or whatever litter I'm using) on the floor of the coop, I scatter some straw in their run (it's only partially covered), and give them an extra helping of corn after the first hard frost. Chickens make some of their own heat from metabolic processes, and the corn helps them, do this. Scratch is good, too. Some people mix their winter feed 1/2 and 1/2 with corn, but I just give generous helpings every day, and they have a flock block to peck at, which is good for boredom. Wintertime it seems they mostly eat and stay near the coop (you can just see the feed bills rising!). They will eat snow and wander in the snow if you let them (less so if it is deep). But I did have an OEGB roo who flew out of the coop and landed in the snow and only the tip of his tail showed! Feather footed breeds seem to do better in the snow (like silkies and cochins). Bantams can take a winter hard b/c they don't have the body size to keep their heat up, and some folks install a heater in their coop. I have a heater I hang from the ceiling when it gets down into the teens.
    Hope this helps!
  6. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    We covered the whole run with plastic and put a steel roof on the run. Make sure you have enough support under the tarp, or it will cave in and ruin the wire. We have a radiator heater when it's too cold and to keep the water from freezing.

    Here is our run. I'm so very happy we did this. They need the extra space to avoid picking on each other even though our coop is bigger then what's required. Our coop inside the garage has square 12ft of ventilation.


    Here's our heater. Our temps get to -22F.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  7. Uniontown Poultry

    Uniontown Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's the same heater I use. [​IMG] Those oil-filled things are great.

    I forgot to add the wrapping of the run sides. My run's pretty sheltered by a hillside so I don't think about it, but my sister's birds are housed on a flat open area, and she wraps her pens for the winter. And I agree that the combs don't need vaseline or bag balm or carmex until it dips below 30.
  8. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    Quote:Awesome! We are putting this heater under the roost, which is a shelf and placing the waterer a couple feet away from the heater. I'm so glad to hear it works great. This is our first winter with the chickens.
  9. P-Funk

    P-Funk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2011
    Nice job Nicole. I thought I was the only one who spoils my girls rotten.
  10. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2011
    athens, wv
    i'm not planning anything special for mine. I just made sure the coup is draft free and plenty of vents. Plus i give them some scratch before they go in for the night.

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