Winter around the corner!!


6 Years
Apr 17, 2013
Hey guys need some help here. I built my chicken coop out of 1"x6" Fence boards.... it was a lot cheaper this way then buying ply wood. I was wondering if I need to put up some plastic on the walls due to all of the crack between each board none of the craks are big. I can bearly slide a quarter in between the cracks. also I have a water problem. There will be No electricity ran to the coop no extension cord nothing lol . how can I keep there water from freezeing. if I put the water inside the coop will it keep from freezeing? Any help at all will be very much appreciated thank you all in advance!!!!!!
I wouldn't worry about the cracks unless a strong draft onto the roost area is created. Chances are, they need the ventilation. Chickens tolerate cold much better than heat and will likel not real notice Tennessee winters, as long as their coop is well ventilated, so that humidity and ammonia don't build up in there. The coop is usually a little warmer than the outdoor temp from the body heat the chickens give off.

If you get heavy freezes, probably the simplest thing to do is get one of those wide black rubber containers from TSC, because it is easy to break ice out of them. Then it only takes a minute in the morning to dump the ice and replace it with a gallon or two of water you've carried from the house. I keep my waterers in the coop and rarely have to do more than add some water to the ice in the access or bowl portion of the waterer in the morning; as the day progresses, the water thaws. If you don't have running water at the coop, then presumably you are carrying water to the coop every day, anyway.

It isn't that expensive to run some cable to the coop so you can purchase an electric dog waterer with a heater, which is not that expensive an item.

If you just really don't want to carry water

These articles were written by a Canadian and are classics here:
I think the cracks will be fine.

I just carry a pitcher of hot water out twice a day to melt the ice. It stays thawed long enough for everyone to drink well, and I'll do it a third time in the afternoon if I'm available.
I personally would shore up the wall cracks. You may not have a lot of sub zero drafts or snow in TN but really cold drafts on the birds is not good if you live in a cold region. Your chickens will need a place or places in the coop that no wind can hit them at all during a Winter storm. High winds will cut through a coop with wall cracks as well as blowing snow. If you live in a warmer region then the cracks are not much of an issue.

When our house was built we had a very small opening in the crawl space door and a cold wind froze our water pressure tank located near by. I actually had to get under the house and shovel the snow out that drifted in from that thin crack. It is bad enough to shovel snow from the run. You don't want snow in the coop! Just my 2 cents worth.

The cracks will probably be just fine.

As flockwatcher said, without electricity and your mid-south location, you'll be looking at some black rubber watering dishes. I like the gallon size. They'll freeze up over night and you'll have to empty out the ice and re-fill. The black color absorbs even winter sun rays and works well as a thermal absorber.

Carry water every day, especially during the 4-6 weeks of winter's worst. That's what you have to look forward to enjoying.
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You might want to cover the outside of the windward wall of the coop with some plastic sheeting....or have it ready if it turns out to let in snow and cold winds.
thank you all so much!!! I think ill get the gallon rubber container to put the water in and in the morning ill dump the ice in a Black Five gallon bucket.... Maybe just Maybe the black bucket will melt the ice so I can reuse it :)!!!!
Also in the coop I have about 2ft wide and 1 ft tall hole for them to go in and out in... should I put something over the hole? Will they go through it???
Also in the coop I have about 2ft wide and 1 ft tall hole for them to go in and out in... should I put something over the hole? Will they go through it???

Covering, or shielding the chicken again a matter of windward direction(which direction does the majority of your weather and wind come from?)
Ventilation is good....a strong frigid wind is it depends on your weather patterns.

I've read a couple of instances that folks put strips of cloth or rubber across a chicken door and that they learn to go thru it, some build 'foyers' or 'vestibules' if the chicken door is windward.

My chicken door is on the windward side of the coop and I plan to build some kind of wind break there....not quite sure yet what I'll come up with.

Agrees with flockwatcher ...... a pop door is usually taller than it is wide.
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