Winter considerations...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ummlayla, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. ummlayla

    ummlayla Hatching

    Jun 20, 2010
    I am building my coop and am worried about the VERY cold and windy winters here... I am wondering what things you have done to be sure the coop is warm enough for the chickens in the winter?

    My coop is 4x5 and about 2 feet off the ground. It's like a playhouse style, we have insulated between the studs... I just want to think of any other things I need to do now rather than on the first night it freezes!LOL

    I got the basic design from here:

    I added insulation, and made the run taller so I can walk in... But you get the idea.

  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Most standard breeds of chickens can handle very cold temperatures as long as they have a draft free shelter with good ventilation so the air inside the coop doesn't get too humid from their breathing and poo. Patandchicken's page about coop ventilation is excellent; if you haven't read it yet, do!

    Don't forget to think about your summers, too. If your coop is in the daytime sun it can get very hot inside a conventional coop, and chickens actually are less able to handle heat than cold....because they come equipped with down parkas.
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Where do you live? What part of the country do you live in?
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    See my "cold coop" page (link in .sig below) for a lot on this topic.

    Details depend on where you live and how cold it actually gets.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. ummlayla

    ummlayla Hatching

    Jun 20, 2010
    Thanks for the replies! I have tried to just ask around here in my town, and many people have larger coops than me or are able to move a smaller flock to the garage for the really cold nights. I just want to be sure I don't have frozen chickens during the first cold snap... And certainly cold is a big concern here in Laramie!LOL Last year we had pipes 6 ft underground freeze at our house!
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Some (me being one of them) use a heatlamp for extreme cold (and "extreme" is definitely a perspective thing, as my area doesn't get nearly as cold as yours). Although your coop is small, you have the gabled roof, so that adds clearance, which is good if you're using a heatlamp. If you do that, never clip it, always chain or wire it thoroughly in place. Some use a flat panel heater such as the sweeter heater. I have a gabled roof, and our coop is insulated; we built a drop-down ceiling panel filled with even more insulation that we only hang in the winter time, so that our ceiling is double insulated. You might do a search on "thermo cubes." These are plug-in temperature controlled outlets that you can plug things into (such as heatlamps or fans). There are models w/different temp ranges. Like you may be interested in the "On at 0F off, at 10" or the "On at 20F, off at 30" models to save electricity. I have the one that comes on at 35 degrees for my heat lamp, and another that comes on at 78 for my fans.
    For your run, you can strap tarps on the windward side, or stack straw bales to block cold winds.
  7. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    [​IMG] from MN -

    If you have not done so already, it's time to consider getting some electricity to your coop. You can mount a heat lamp (I hard-wired mine so I would worry about fire LESS) for warmth, but you will also need to have a way to keep water thawed. I use a heated dog water dish. But you will need power for these things. Regardless, if you choose to go with a heat lamp, it is vital that you install it in such a way that it won't fall and start a fire.

    Do a search in this coop section and you will find LOTS of information on cold weather chicken keeping. I have a winter page on my BYC page as well. You can search by clicking on "search" in the blue bar above.

    Now, let's enjoy the warm weather for the very few months that we actually have it... [​IMG]
  8. Charles07

    Charles07 Songster

    Apr 10, 2010
    Sheridan, Indiana
    Quote:Thank you. Very useful and concise.
  9. HarryBun12

    HarryBun12 Songster

    Jun 28, 2009
    I'm in WI and we built the playhouse coop. I ran an extension cord to the coop in winter for the heated water dish and the flat panel heater I used on the very coldest days. (also for the automatic pop door and Christmas lights.... essential elements) I also tacked up heavy clear shower curtains around the perimeter of the run covering 3/4 of the way down and leaving the south end open. That was a lifesaver keeping the bulk of the snow out of the run. I took it down after all threat of snow passed. Last week....
    Really, I was so nervous about my chicken's first winter and they did just fine. So did I. Good thinking planning ahead with the insulation. That will help even in the warm/hot weather.

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