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when to close up the coop? (winter)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tygab, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. tygab

    tygab Songster

    Mar 14, 2008
    MA/NH border

    In the last 3 days we got 2 ft of snow here and today the winds are howling.
    Do any of you ever just keep the coop shut during the day?

    I opened the door but the chickies have no interest in being outside even in their little shoveled area. I can understand that. Still, I feel like them seeing the outdoors and knowing they could go outside is better than being in the coop all day which isn't super light (has a few windows but this time of year is in a lot of shade).

    Anyway they overall seem fine, but I am worrying. Tonight the temps are going to be real real cold, though it does seem to stay fairly pleasant in coop (uninsulated). We do close the coop at night.

    And we lost the roof to the run to the ice storm, yet to be replaced. With the snow so high... well it's just making me a little nervous.

    Winter with chickies is stressful for a newbie!

    Edit: and here's a pic from during the storm yesterday. I'll update later on with what it looks like now (hint: more snow, less gray).

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008

  2. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    My girls have not come out of the coop for almost 2 weeks. They want to be warm and dry I guess. I leave door open while I am cleaning and filling water etc. but they go to the door, look out and go back in the coop.
  3. As an idea for next season -

    We ended up putting up a hoophouse structure and we tied a tarp on it when the snow started falling. It takes maintenance to keep the snow from piling up, but so far it's working great and the chickens are going out into it.

    I also put an old door over their pop hatch - just leaned against the wall - to keep wind and snow from blowing into the coop. The chickens can still get in and out easily under the door.

    The kind of cool thing about the hoop house is the sides of it are uncovered for about the bottom 3 feet or so... As the snow has piled up, it's made nice sidewalls that blocking the wind and more snow from blowing in.

    Next year I'm thinking I may cover it with metal and make it a permanent feature for them. It seems to work pretty well. It could easily be braced inside to help with snow load if needed.
  4. KrisRose

    KrisRose Songster

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    My hens stay inside in this weather. So I just leave the pop door closed, that way I don't lose heat or get snow blown inside.
    I have thought about enclosing my run like BeardedChick but have yet to come up with a good idea on what to use.
  5. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    You might keep 'er shut, and give the chickens some snackies, like carrots or cabbage hung on strings to keep them from getting bored and grumpy. My bantams would not come out today, even with no wind and the half-door open (8 F this morning, almost 20 now). I have done three experimental coops now, and what I have learned is that I like coops that are roomy enough for the girls to stay inside during the day if they choose. I just check the heater, feed and water, toss them some "busy" snacks, and they're good to go.

    The first winter is stressful; just keep tabs on your birds, and maybe jot a few notes for next year. Good luck, and stay warm!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  6. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    My hens stayed cooped-up inside today only because the wind was blowing the snow around so hard. I didn't bother to open their access to the run. Usually, they have free access to the snow-covered run.

  7. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    My girls have access to their covered run during the day, but there are NO chicken tracks in the snow, so although the door is open, no one has been brave enough to venture out. Temps here in MN have ranged around 0-10 for daytime highs (I think the high was 4 today) and 0 to -20 at night. Can't blame the poor girls - I don't want to be outside either. Today I just left the door closed to hold as much heat inside as I can in preparation for tonight's low. I sprinkle corn in the deep litter to give them something to scratch around for. So far, so good. And to think that we haven't even hit our "cold season" yet...

    Next year I think I'll figure out a way to rig up some removable "storm windows" for the walls of my run to keep the majority of the snow/wind out. Spoiled girls.

  8. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    I keep the door shut if it's particularly windy and cold, because for the most part, the birds will go out in anything. My coop isn't heated, either, so it's not usually much warmer inside than out. I guess they figure "we might as well go outside!" They were sunbathing today, and it only got up to 16 degrees.

    They don't like to go out so much when it is snowing very hard or if there is more than 4 or 5 inches of snow on the ground. Then they sort of pop out for short periods of cabin fever, but go back inside complaining. I guess what I'm saying, in answer to your question, is that I very rarely leave the coop shut. I only do it when I think there's an imminent danger of frostbite from icy winds.

    Your coop looks nice in the snow, but my guess is that my girls wouldn't go out much in that even though I do leave the door open!

  9. sunnydee

    sunnydee Songster

    Jul 17, 2008
    My girls have not been out in about a week. I try to get them to come out first thing in the morning, but they don't like the snow. It is too cold to keep it open during the day.
  10. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Songster

    Jan 29, 2007
    My chickens have a Tempo attached to their coop and accessed by a pop door. For those of you who don't know what a Tempo is, it's a temporary garage that's used in winter to protect the car from the snow and it's perfect for the chickens.
    It's angled at the roof so that the snow dosen't build up and covered on all sides with windows and door and is made out of a tarp-like material that lets the sun in.

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