What to do for chickens in cold New England? Newbie

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LivingFate, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. LivingFate

    LivingFate In the Brooder

    May 18, 2008
    I live in cold cold New England, I have silkies, cochins, and guineas. I do NOT have electricity in my coop, working on my husband still maybe next year.. anyhow with no electricity, and being in a state where it gets quite cold do I need to do anything for the chickens? How do I keep the water from freezing? Do chickens go out in the snow? If so should I put them out on a schedule so they don't get sick/freeze or do they go inside when there cold? First winter so I have no idea what to expect. Any special vitamins/ minerals/ precautions to take? Thanks
  2. chickn

    chickn Away for a bit

    Apr 15, 2008
    New Hampshire
    hello new england!! there are a few threads with many new england people on it. i am on the seacoast. great northeastern wind right off the ocean!!

    first, i dont heat my coop, i plastic the windows, i seal any cracks, i make sure there are no drafts. i give then cracked corn at bed time and dont worry. they do fine,
    water freezing is another story, good luck with that lol. we have placed a bulb over a gal waterer, you have no electric out there, so the other thing we do is keep empty gal jugs in house and go down to the coop a few times a day .
    my birds have the choice to go out in the run or not and they on most days wanted to stay in.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=99235 this one is in line with your question

    here are a few links
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  3. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    I don't know what to tell you about your chickens. I had birds suitable to cold weather. Water will freeze, you just need to keep an eye on it and change regularly. Scratch in the winter later in the day will help them heat up from the inside out. My birds did go in the snow but only on nicer days. I shoveled an area for them to go out and made sure they had a perch to sit on and get off the snow. Only on the coldest days and windiest days did I keep them locked up. I did choose to put electricity in the coop, mostly for the supplemental light to help them lay through the winter. That light actually helped raise the temps. a couple degrees too.
    Straw or hay in the nests, seal up cracks and drafts, deep litter method will help to keep it warm.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  4. geoaware

    geoaware Songster

    Dec 3, 2007
    Southern Maine
    I heard (or read) that having a few old car tires in the run gives the girls something to get up out of the snow....and then the tires act as a heat sink absorbing what heat the sun puts out and melting the snow around them. Sounds like a good idea...and if like me you have a few old tires, its a cheap way to help them get through winter.
  5. chickn

    chickn Away for a bit

    Apr 15, 2008
    New Hampshire
    i used free pallets also out in the run.
    and i loaded the outside run with leaves in the fall that was deep and it was mulched and gone by spring.
  6. LivingFate

    LivingFate In the Brooder

    May 18, 2008
    We got lots of old tires [​IMG] Thank you for the links chickn. I think I only have 1 hen, she hasn't begun to lay yet. Should I try to get some kind of lighting in the coop for winter mths so she will lay?
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I was going to say "just bring them water several times a day, using several containers so the ones that've started to freeze can thaw in the house, and they will be fine"...

    ... and then I reread your post and saw your list of what exactly you have.

    The cochins should be fine. Silkies I dunno, they don't do cold as well as most chickens. And I am under the impression though that guinea fowl do not do well in very cold temperatures without supplemental heat in the coop [​IMG] (you should check with Actual Guinea Fowl People to confirm or deny this)

    You may need to get on your husband about electricity, or cross your fingers and run an extension cord out there. If you use an extension cord, which is not the very safest thing in the world, use a heavy duty one (yes, even just for a lightbulb or two), make it one single long cord rather than a couple plugged together, run it somewhere it cannot possibly be tripped on or run over with a shovel etc, and make certain that the outlet it's plugged into is GFCI-protected.

    Good luck,

  8. Your chickens may use your nest boxes for huddling, and you could certaibnly create aninsulated box with a 4x4 at the base for group huggling...like a 'hot box' without the power, a 'coop within the coop'. Some people take a 5 gal container of hot water into small coops morning and evenings and leave it there to give extra warmth on bitter days, it can be left near the waterer. It's hard to manage a coop or barn without electricity and I guess we've all gone it during power failures, we've had many over the years, lasting many days. We finally invested in a generator and I can literally say it changed our lives, we sleep better! I''m not sure if a photovoltaic cell would be economical enough for you, we had considered installing one on the barn for emergencies and they're getting better and cheaper.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008

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