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winter and the ladies

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rettarain2, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Rettarain2

    Rettarain2 Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]Okay folks. Need some help here. First winter right around the corner. Here are my concerns. My ladies and Mr Roo aren't too social with me. .at least they don't let me hold them. HOW THE HECK DO I GET VASILINE ON THIEM..SHOULD THEY NEED IT?
    They have a lovely 9x12 home. Plenty of rafters to roost on(8birds)..There are open chicken wired openings at eves across back n front of roof DO THESE OPENINGS NEED TO BE SEALED UP FOR WINTER? I don't feel any drafts on a 38 degree morning...
    My biggest concern is drafts. Their door to the yard. . enclosed ... is pretty big and stays open all the time. SHOULD I CLOSE IT AT NIGHT??
    And then .. last concern. . at the moment. . their yard has a chicken wired cover. SHOULD I COVER IT WITH PLASTIC/TARP...??
    I HAVE fallen in love with my ladies and would hate to loose any. Especially due to my not caring for them properly.[​IMG]
    Tl
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    With proper ventilation, they should not need Vaseline until a whole lot colder than 32 degrees. It's the humidity in the coop that causes most frostbite, not just the temperature. It gets into the mid 20's a few nights a year where I live, I've never used Vaseline, and I've never seen even a touch of frostbite. Definitely do NOT cover up your ventilation holes! Chickens will put out a large aount of humidity and ammonia in one night, from their breath and their poop. These need to escape.

    Most of the time, it's heat that chickens have trouble handling, not cold. They can die over 100 degrees, especially without shade, breeze and lots of water. But people in Canada and even Alaska keep chickens over winter without heating their coop. Actually, heating a coop can do more harm than good, because if they get acclimated to having heat on really cold nights, and haven't grown a good down coat, they can be in trouble if the power goes out and they must do without for a night.

    Here are a couple of classic articles here, written some years ago by a Canadian member:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/winter-coop-temperatures

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop
     
  3. greenmulberry

    greenmulberry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in Iowa, it does get into the negative 10's and 20's sometimes.

    I always leave my pophole open, I close one of the eaves all the way and leave one partially covered.

    I never heat (well, except my very first chicken winter, the only time they got comb frostbite) and I never vaseline combs. I keep a mix of standard birds, buff orps, sex links, ect.
     
  4. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do NOT seal the eaves openings. In looking at the pictures, it appears that the run is enclosed with chicken wire - leaving the chicken door open is good for ventilation but I would be concerned about predators getting through that as chicken wire is not sturdy enough to keep out determined hunters. Perhaps you could add an window-type opening (not at roost height would be preferable) to the door to the run and cover it in hardware cloth - that way you could shut the door at night but keep some of the ventilation. That might be enough for the winter - general rule of thumb is 1 sq. ft. of ventilation per bird so you theoretically need 8 sq. ft. If you need to add more holes to your coop for better ventilation, just make sure you have an overhang or an awning-type bit that can be lowered some (but not all the way) to help block the wind but still allow for airflow.
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    A big X2! It is only a matter of time until some nasty critter like a racoon gets through that chicken wire. I would cover the vents along the eaves with hardware cloth instead of chicken wire and I would absolutely be closing their run door at night.
     
  6. Rettarain2

    Rettarain2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks guys..I will not seal vents... don't plan on heating. Thought maybe a 60 watt bulb early am n evening would take care of things. I GReatly APPRECIATE YOUR FEEDBACK. Im in MI and it does get below 20 some years.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    There is no need for a light, either, unless you are using it to extend daylight for eggs, and then it should turn on automatically in the early morning. They do best if they see the natural falling of daylight and dusk, to settle down for the night. This is their time to shuffle for roost position, etc.
     
    1 person likes this.

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