Will My Chickens Freeze to Death?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jennkretz, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. jennkretz

    jennkretz Chirping

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    Apr 24, 2017
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    Hi all!

    We started keeping chickens in April and bought a coop from Tractor Supply. I always thought the chickens would sleep IN the coop, but they've slept in the eaves of the run since we put them outside. I always thought it was because it was summer and it was hot.

    Well, fast forward to now, they're still doing this. I've insulated the bottom of the run w/ tarping, and put some weather stripping on the top lift-up doors of the nesting boxes. I've added more wood chips to both the coops and the run, and removed one of the roosting bars that came with the coop (in green) and raised and added one (in hot pink). PS - This image is not my coop. However, they still keep roosting where the yellow dots are. My husband keeps telling me not to worry - and if they get cold enough they'll move indoors.

    What I want to know is: is this true? Is there something I should do to entice them inside? Am I worrying too much? What do you recommend? It hasn't gotten colder than 17 yet... And they are lively and sassy every morning, but in MI it CAN get much colder...

    Also, at what type of weather (or temp) do I do the petroleum jelly thing? Thank you so much all! I'm new to chicken keeping in MI winters...

    Best!
    Jenn and 2 RIR, 2 Buff Orps, 2 Barred Ply Rocks and 2 Australorps <3
     

    Attached Files:

  2. BY Bob

    BY Bob Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres

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    They will not move indoors. I had a similar coop and I had to close in the run section in the winter to make it all coop. I put Plexiglas over the wire to shield them from the weather. It would not normally be cheap to do that but I got some cracked and broken sheets from home depot at a very low price. I then mounted them with screwed and wing nuts for removal in the spring.

    That coop only lasted 3 years. I built a new one this year for less than I paid for that one. It did however buy me enought time to figure out what I really needed.

    The key is to keep them out of the wind. Where they roost is home. They will not move.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
    Soon2BChixMom and Smuvers Farm like this.
  3. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Free Ranging

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    when it gets really cold, just lock them inside the coop and don't let them outside.
    they might not have enough sense to move inside on their own.
    they are creatures of habit, and right now their habit is roosting outside.
    I had a large cage of roosters that were kept outside all winter.
    they all made it through with no frozen combs. there were 14 of them in that big cage..

    ......jiminwisc.....
     
    jennkretz likes this.
  4. jennkretz

    jennkretz Chirping

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Lake Orion, MI
    Hi,

    Thank you for the info. I will get more tarping to wrap the top... But was thinking of only doing the front and left side. The back of the coop is about 4 feet away from our house and I don't want to totally lock in odors/moisture which will cause more problems. Do you think that will be OK?? Or what would you do?

    Also, we bought it for now, but do want to build something - we definitely don't plan on it lasting super long... But will be good while we decide what we want to build. I already have a few things I want to change.

    Thank you again! And The Ladies say thank you too!!!

    Best,
    Jenn and The Ladies
     
  5. jennkretz

    jennkretz Chirping

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Lake Orion, MI
    Thank you... I don't want to over-worry about it, I know they are outside animals after all... I just don't want them freezing/unhealthy and sick...

    Thanks again!
    Jenn
     
  6. BY Bob

    BY Bob Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres

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    Jenn,
    I would do the northwest corner of the coop where you live, MI, right? Most of your heavy wind will come from that direction. It's more complicated here in PA because while the majority of our weather comes from the northwest, the big blizzards come from the southeast.

    The birds will tell you if you need to adjust. If it looks like they are staring into a hurricane, you may need to change your set up. The first two winters we had the girls I was out doing construction in the cold in order to adapt their living arrangements.

    I don't believe you really know what to do until the event presents itself. The first blizzard we had, i had to bring the girls into the house (mid storm) as the drifts were going to easily completely bury their coop.

    Are you ready to house a flock in your house? I know i wasn't, but we figured it out. We even used a step ladder as a roost for them. Felt pretty clever about that.

    Be prepared to adapt, keep watching them, get a heated water device of some kind, and all will be fine. Just don't make the coop air tight, ventilation is key, moisture is the enemy.

    Enjoy the ride,
    Bob and the girls.
     
  7. Frazzemrat1

    Frazzemrat1 Crowing

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    I worry that part of the reason they aren't going into the coop to sleep is that it may be too small. What's the square footage inside the coop?
     
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  8. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    It's too small, eight hens in the absolute biggest TSC coop is too small cutting the number of hens in half would be pushing for space. You need a bigger coop or they're not going in. You could convert the run to useable coop and build another run onto it.:)
     
    L.D.Sewell, aart and Frazzemrat1 like this.
  9. BY Bob

    BY Bob Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres

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    Our "coop n run" from tractor supply was sold as big enough for 6 chickens. It really wasn't big enough for 2. I'm not a fan of government intervention in everything but Tractor Supply needs to stop misleading new flock owners in this way. I was expanding almost immediately based upon their behavior. I wish I had found this site sooner.
     
    Soon2BChixMom and Frazzemrat1 like this.
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

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    The problem with most prefab coops is that they are too small and they lack ventilation. The space claims are based on factory farm space standards. I'd turn the whole setup into a coop and rig up a run space with some t-posts and welded wire fencing.
     
    aart and jennkretz like this.

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