What is everyone doing to prepare for winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by coolcanoechic, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Last year was my very first time having chickens during the winter. I only had two girls, but made things work the best I could for their comfort and my convenience. Cleaning the coop and run was not much trouble with only 2 chickens.
    This year I have five girls. There is a lot more cleaning and feeding and watering involved. I do not relish the thought of the cleaning part this winter. I know that I will not have the hose available for spraying down the ramp and the deck to the coop. Everything will have to be done the hard way and I can see many days ahead where I will not want to be out in the freezing weather cleaning by hand with a bucket and a rag since the hose is not available. Fortunately, the poops freeze quickly in the winter, making clean up a little easier.
    I have been working on changing things in my coop and run to make life easier this winter. Is there anything anyone else does to make the winter chores easier? All suggestions and ideas are much appreciated. I would like all the ideas I can get to make this winter a more enjoyable time with my girls.
  2. ll

    ll Songster

    Long handled tools and sand/de/sweet pdz to dry wet droppings = forget bucket & rags.
    I use a hoe to scrape frozen droppings around.
    I use a 3 pronged long handle thing to fluff up material in the run.
    I use a long handled shower back-scrubber to clean roost bars,
    and a long extendable handle kitty litter scoop for the droppings box under the roost.
    I have a supply of plastic shoppings bags shoved into an empty tissue paper box, and
    a pile of newspaper. I line each shopping bag with a section of news/coupon fliers and that makes a sturdy bottomed bag. When the piles get to big/numerous the bag transports them to the compost bin.
    I am totally filling the upstairs of my garage with bags of leaf litter this year before winter.
    I ran out of litter in late winter this year and was gathering piles of leaves under melting snow that were against warm stone walls.
    The plan is to layer. Leaves, leaves, leaves - I know my hens will break 'em down and they'll always have something "fresh" to walk on during the winter.
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I planted my winter garden yesterday.

    Now I pray it doesn't freeze in Dec/Jan.

    My spring garden was totally cooked by mid-August this year... destroying a 3 year old bell pepper plant.
  4. This is what I have done so far. I made the deck in front of the pop door removable and added vinyl to it. I made a new ramp with hardware cloth so the poops will mostly fall down through it. I replaced an upper ramp with a perch. They hung out on the upper ramp so much there were always piles of stinky poop on it. Now they have to use the perch to get up to the second story. If they poop while on the perch, it will fall to the floor. I also made a heater for their waterer.


    This vinyl top piece comes off for easy cleaning. They poop here a lot.

    Perch for access to upper area.

    I couldn't find a cookie tin anywhere, so I used this pot. I may have to use a stronger bulb. I hope it works. I plugged it in for a while and it got pretty warm.


    Thanks for the suggestion on the scraper! I grabbed a couple from my shop and claimed them for coop cleaning. They will be very handy for scraping the deck.
  5. WillsC

    WillsC Chirping

    Mar 4, 2012
    In Florida so nothing lol. About the only thing here is I make sure not to glue the joints in the chickens auto water system so on the day or two a year it does get cold enough to freeze the ice just pops the pvc joints apart.
  6. I use pine shavings here in Ohio and i bulk up on them big time. they have at least 6 - 8 inches on the floor of my coop. Last year I broke down and got a storm door for the main door ( my coops more of a play house tajmahal than a coop) and it really helped hold in the heat. I insulated with insulation and it really helped as well. Good enough that my water doesnt freeze inside ever.

    I saw on here where someone covered their 2 X 4 perches with carpet so their feet stayed warm. Havent done that one yet though. lol. I put straw bales outside their pop door to shield against wind and snow.

    This year I am going to build them a 'lean too' to shelter them in their pen away from the winds and drifting snow. Leftover wood.

    um...... well, i have to admit that the coop never gets below 40 degrees and they have a choice to stay in or go out. Most of them stay in when its below 30. SPOILED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  7. [​IMG]


    Most important, MAKE SURE you shovel their pathway to the house so they can come in for oatmeal and hot chocolate.....[​IMG]


    and do decorate for Christmas. They appreciate it.


    Remember, the girls like pink too... [​IMG]


    And they will appreciate a path to the birdfeeder. (sorry, way to many photos... I know...)

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  8. rekkas peeps

    rekkas peeps Chirping

    Jul 23, 2012
    Goffstown NH
    love what you've done with the changes in the coop from last time we saw it!! we've done alot to ours to but we're not to worried about it. our flock is now inside a insualted barn stall. not sure what hubby has planned for the rest of winterizing as we are going to a seminar next week about it. you should come!
  9. AVintageLife

    AVintageLife Chirping

    Jun 7, 2012
    New Hampshire
    This will be my first winter with my coop here in New Boston, NH. My DH laughs when he see me scrubbing the roosts and poop board surround (but I know he appreciates the fact that we got through the summer with no odor or pest issues). Your coop is beautiful and I love the new ramp that you've made with the hardware cloth. Can the chickens use it OK? I always thought you needed those little ramps with the rungs attached, I'm such a newbie. @ChickenObsessed, do you use the leaves in your run or in your coop? Our hoop run will be finished this weekend and I was going to install some sand. Should I add leaves or something else too?
  10. friendswfowl312

    friendswfowl312 In the Brooder

    Sep 3, 2012
    Westport Ma
    Wow fishnet1971, beautiful coop. Your ladies must be really spoiled.We just finished our Coop made out of all Pallets. i like the idea of putting hay bales outside. This will be our first winter with chickens. We've read that alot of people just leave the straw or pine shaving in the coop all winter long, also adding alot more 12 inches. During the winter you just keep turning it ,the composted poop will warm up the coop a little. Hopefully this will work for us.[​IMG]

    we have alot more pictures on our FB page if anyone is interested in checking out our pallet coop..we also built a duck coop. our FB page is... Friends with Fowl.

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