Will they be warm enough?

NoodlesMama

Songster
May 3, 2019
110
352
137
South East Michigan
This is our first winter with chickens and I want to cover all my bases. We currently have 17, mostly bantams, their coop is 8 feet deep by 4 feet wide by 5 feet high with corrugated plastic roof and wooden sides with ventilation well above the hens roosting boards. We also have a cozy coop panel heater mounted on the side wall. We are using the deep litter method so the floor lots of pine bedding. We are in south east Michigan and the temps are going to be in the teens the next few nights and this is just the beginning of our winter. Will they be warm enough or do we need to get on it and do more to keep them warm?

If it matters our standard size breeds are barred Plymouth rock chicken,Wyandotte, 3 Easter Eggers. our bantams include a Frizzled Cochin, Mottled Cochin, Millie Fluer d'Uccle, Porcelain d'Uccle, 2 Buff Brahma, and 6 Silkies. They range between about 4 months and 9 months. The silkies still sleep in a pile on the floor instead of on the roosts.
IMG_6393.JPG
 
Apr 5, 2019
334
573
222
Yellowstone County, Montana
Are your coop dimensions including the run? In the photo the coop itself looks smaller than 4x8’.

The roost area looks good, and I see you added curtains to the window for insulation. I see the ventilation up top. Do you have a way to monitor humidity? Like buying one of those La Crosse outdoor thermometer-hygrometers? It’s important the coop is draft-free, and humidity in the coop is ideally less than outside the coop. It looks like your current setup inside the coop meets those requirements. But there may be concern for overcrowding with 17 chickens. I’m just speaking from my personal situation. I do not know what bantams require.

I wrapped my run in tarp but would recommend contractor’s plastic sheet on a roll that you can wrap your run in. That way the run is protected from blowing snow a rain. Plus it adds to the chicken’s protected living space.

Also, the cozy coop heater should work if the chickens are able to snuggle up against it. Mine didn’t care for it, even when temperatures hit 4F. I for sure thought my Polish would use it, but they just stood on their roosts, shivering.
 

NoodlesMama

Songster
May 3, 2019
110
352
137
South East Michigan
Are your coop dimensions including the run? In the photo the coop itself looks smaller than 4x8’.

The roost area looks good, and I see you added curtains to the window for insulation. I see the ventilation up top. Do you have a way to monitor humidity? Like buying one of those La Crosse outdoor thermometer-hygrometers? It’s important the coop is draft-free, and humidity in the coop is ideally less than outside the coop. It looks like your current setup inside the coop meets those requirements. But there may be concern for overcrowding with 17 chickens. I’m just speaking from my personal situation. I do not know what bantams require.

I wrapped my run in tarp but would recommend contractor’s plastic sheet on a roll that you can wrap your run in. That way the run is protected from blowing snow a rain. Plus it adds to the chicken’s protected living space.

Also, the cozy coop heater should work if the chickens are able to snuggle up against it. Mine didn’t care for it, even when temperatures hit 4F. I for sure thought my Polish would use it, but they just stood on their roosts, shivering.
Thanks for the response! I know the coop looks small in the picture but it is 4x8, just an awkward picture. It’s just the coop in the picture, we have a 8x16 covered run attached to the coop but most days we open the door and let them free range a lot of the day. The run is wrapped in heavy plastic on the lower few feet with the upper parts left open.

We had a separate coop for the bantams but we combined them out of fear they wouldn’t be warm enough on their own. They don’t seem to mind the slight crowding and all get a long really well. We plan to expand in the spring assuming none of the packing peanuts we got turn out to be roosters. Fingers crossed.
 

CindyinSD

Free Ranging
Aug 3, 2018
2,231
8,555
722
Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
I’m worried about population density. I’m really glad to hear you have another coop. You see, coop size in summer can be a lot smaller, but in winter they are in danger of being confined for weeks on end. They can’t spend the winter like that.

That is a beautiful coop and well-protected against your house. It’s only 32 sq ft, though. Cold isn’t a problem for your large fowl. If they have single combs they can get a touch of frostbite, but this doesn’t seem to bother them. Rose or pea combs are more resistant. I don’t know about bantams. The LF don’t need supplemental heat or even insulation. They just need a dry, well-ventilated space, protected from wind.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
5 Years
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
1,803
326
Arizona
I only count 66 square of mesh across the opening below the door ... guessing it's half inch hardware cloth ... ? If so ... then 33" plus the framing ... maybe 3 feet?

Silkies don't generally roost, so they clump together in a pile, are they even really chickens? ;)

Chickens don't need a heater, just food and water, and dry place to roost ...

Is your ventilation up near the top, above the horizontal wall above the chicken door? Is it on both sides of the wall?
 

NoodlesMama

Songster
May 3, 2019
110
352
137
South East Michigan
Sure doesn't look like 4x8 to me...unless that nest box is 2'.
Maybe double check with a tape measure and add more pics?

Even if it is 4x8, too small for 17 birds.
Ok I get every one is obsessing over size the coop. We received extra unplanned for birds in our fall order we will expand in the spring. The second coop we were using was not water tight or draft proof and the birds had to be moved it was not an option. They are never left for days or weeks locked inside. They are not having aggression issues or any other crowding based problems.
I just want to know how I can best get them through the winter not be attacked over coop size. Yes I know it’s to small but it would have been fine for the 6 ordered but the hatchery sent 11. Please know that several people have pointed this out. All it is making me feel is terrible for even asking for advice.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
71,156
72,224
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry, but the crowding is going to make for an unpleasant winter.

I just want to know how I can best get them through the winter
Show more pics of coop and it's ventilation and the runs you have, both close ups and farther away.
Maybe run space can be enclosed for more 'coop' space.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
5 Years
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
1,803
326
Arizona
I'm sorry, not trying to make you feel badly, just trying to help your chickens be comfortable and healthy ...

They need more ventilation ... as you probably know, chickens POOP ALOT at night, chicken poop has two things going against it in a small enclosed area, it is very moist, and gives off moisture into the air, so it raises the humidity in the coop, which when cold, not only makes it harder for the chickens to stay warm in the cold damp coop, but can cause frost bite to their combs and/or toes ... secondly ... poop has amonia in it, which is released as it is cooling and drying ... amonia is lighter than air, so it rises naturally to the upper part of the coop ... amonia is BAD for chickens to breathe ... but it needs to get out of the coop along with the warm moist air the chickens are breathing too ... probably (just a guess) more chickens die from amonia than cold temperatures.
 
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