What to expect this Winter.

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Todd, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Todd

    Todd New Egg

    Nov 8, 2011
    9 Red Star and 10 Plymouth Barred Rock arrived in April. Started laying in August and have been great pets. I had a great coop built (8 x 10). I am using the deep litter method and I let my chickens out every day for at least few hours. My two Irish Terriers seems to enjoy the chickens. The Red Star are the best egg layers, nearly one a day. Barred Rock eggs have been smaller and less often. My coup is insulated and I have installed an automatic door. I have a heated base for the water inside. I have a waterer inside and out, and feed as well. Chickens do not spend much time in the coup and likewise do not eat or drink much of the inside water or food. As winter comes do you think an 8 x 10 coop is big enough as I assume they will not go into the 10 x 16 run much with all the snow in Wisconsin. I did install a 36 inch ceramic heater but not sure I'm going to use it. Should I close the chicken door all winter? Your thoughts are appreciated. First post!!!!!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    My 6X8 coop has 10 birds and there's probably room for more(my nest boxes are external) I would try to cover part of the run adjacent to the coop so they'll have a snow free area to come outside. They don't mind the cold and even get used to snow.
    Chickens hate to be Cooped Up and they'll be much healthier allowed to go outside regardless of weather and I wouldn't use the heater.
    Given the opportunity to acclimate they won't be too cold if they have a dry draft free place to hang out. Chickens die more in winter from lack of ventilation than cold. Adequate ventilation also relieves humidity which is a source of frostbite.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Hey Todd

    Sounds about right on the laying of your crew, according to breed.

    As for whether your coop is big enough, at 6x8 for 19 full-sized hens, I'd say no. I live in northern Michigan and keep 18 hens in a barn pen that is over twice that size at 8x14. Experience shows that long winter days, with blowing and drifting snow, or even rainy, freezing rain days, they aren't going to spend much, if any, time outside. What can be said for certain is that chickens, up north, must spend or choose to spend a great deal of their time indoors during the long winter. The days are short, the nights are long.

    There are number of good water systems and all can work well. I use a couple of heated dog dishes, the huge size, and just place a plastic one gallon bucket of water in it. I can quickly swap out the water buckets and not have to fuss with doing much when it is -10. Metal fountain base heaters work too. There are lots of choices.

    Best wishes on your new flock.
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle


    Sounds like you have a nice set-up. Looking forward to pictures.
    Your chickens may be afraid of snow and choose to not come out.

  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sorry Todd, I mis-read your coop size. 8x10 will likely be OK, but still a bit on the crowded side for 19 large fowl.
  6. Todd

    Todd New Egg

    Nov 8, 2011
    Thanks for the welcomes! My coop is 8 x 10!
  7. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2011
    Indiana, PA
    Welcome to BYC!

    You should have enough room for your chickens in the coop, my first girls were hatched the end of April last spring and laid all through the winter this past year. They only went out into the run on sunny days and wouldn't venture into the snowy areas so...they spent most of their time in the coop. I left the coop closed during the worst of the weather to conserve heat as they weren't going out anyway. We had a very cold winter this past year and I did not add any heat sources. I don't have an eletric source near the coop so I swapped up their waterers every am and sometimes in the afternoon if it froze again.They showed no signs of frostbite or any other issues.

    8x10 should be sufficient, maybe a little crowded so watch for signs of "cabin fever" like excessive pecking or feather plucking.

    Best of Luck!
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  8. Todd

    Todd New Egg

    Nov 8, 2011
    Thanks for the advice Fred. I originally had 27 and gave away 8. Really don't want to part with anymore as my friends absolutely love the eggs. Have yet to have a predator in the run or coop. Only danger lately is hawks. I let dogs out with chickens and have seen both of the dogs chase away swooping hawks. Never thought chickens would be this much fun. I will not use heater, shouldn't have bought it in the first place. Love the automatic door. Should have had a bigger coop build!!!! BTW I grew up 100 miles from the bridge in the lower peninsula.
  9. kidcody

    kidcody Overrun With Chickens

    [​IMG] [​IMG] from WA. glad you joined us!
  10. Duramaxgirl

    Duramaxgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2010
    Sounds like your set up will work. I wintered last year with a 8x12 coop and 25 birds. They spent almost all of November-Feb in the coop. I compleatly cleaned out the coop during this time. Their waist can get really stiinky in no time at all. My husband made me a poo trough under the roosts that helps catch almost all nighttime poo and this has made it very easy to maintain. Good luck! I'm going to be packing LOTS of water this year!
    Edit to add pics of my roosts and poo trough hubby built me. He so ingenious [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011

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