Winter coop in Quebec

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by roxannet, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. roxannet

    roxannet New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Nov 17, 2010
    Hello all,

    This is my first winter with chickens. I live in Quebec where the weather at winter is usually fairly cold. I built a 3x4 partially insulated coop (roof and walls are insulated but the doors are not). We currently have 4 production red and one Pheonix hens.

    After reading some posts, and although electricy runs to the coop, I have decided not to heat or light up our coop. The door is always being left open during the day but loosely closed at night to provide for some ventilation. Both the food and the water are located outside of the coop. We use a heated dog bowl to keep the water from freezing. I simply add snow to it in the evening when I go to shut the coop door. It melts overnight and is ready to use in the morning.

    We have had a few nights in the -5F so far and the daytime temperature usually stands between 15-23F. Everything is going very well with no frostbite and chickens spending most of their days outside perched in the run (where the sides are not covered to provide for ventilation). Every morning when I go to open the door, they rush outside, regardless of the temperature or snow on the ground. If the winds are too strong, they come back inside their open door shelter.

    The coop never smells in the morning but I do clean up the poop daily.

    As far as egg laying goes, it has never stopped regardless of diminishing daylight or bitterness cold! Our Pheonix hen, the youngest one, even just started laying last week.

    So far, we are very pleased with our choice not to heat the coop. I don't know about January/February coming up though as we can get very cold spells (-20F) for 2-3 days in a row. I have a lamp bulb ready to be installed, just in case...

    Here are some pictures of the coop and the chickens on their roost. When the picture was taken, the weather was showing 10F on the thermometer. The chickens looked happy to be outside!


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. MamaChic21

    MamaChic21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    844
    2
    121
    Dec 2, 2010
    Jackson, NJ
    Your girls, coop and run looks great [​IMG] I'm very happy to hear that they're not cold and still giving eggs.
     
  3. GwenDellAnno

    GwenDellAnno Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    0
    99
    Jul 18, 2009
    Water Valley, AB
    Your coop looks great and I think you should be OK without heat and light. (My chickens laid through their first winter also.) The only thing I'd be concerned about is if there is a way for moisture to escape from inside your coop. That's where frostbite can occur.... with moisture in very cold temps. Is there even a very small opening up near the peak where moisture can get out without letting in too much wind/draft? That would be my only advice. See this thread.... https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=138255
     
  4. roxannet

    roxannet New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Nov 17, 2010
    Thank you for your reply. I could open up the little hinged door near the peak. It is south facing and located at the far end from where the birds sleep. I can also control the size of the opening.

    My only remaining question would be as to whether or not I should let the girls out on those very very cold days. I have some room for their food indoors but not their water.
     
  5. MamaChic21

    MamaChic21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    844
    2
    121
    Dec 2, 2010
    Jackson, NJ
    Here in NJ, I put water and feed in and outside and their chicken shed door opens in the run so I don't have to worry about predators coming in so I would say if you have their doors open to the run, leave it open a little bit so they can go out or stay inside in the colder days.
     
  6. 3chimama

    3chimama Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    Coop looks great. Welcome to BYC!
     
  7. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,218
    39
    231
    Jul 3, 2008
    WALDOBORO MAINE
    welcome. nice coop.
     
  8. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,993
    20
    176
    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:Ventilation is so very important. I have 6 sq ft for my 22 chooks, in a coop that is 8 x 16. That works out to 1 sq ft per every 4 chooks. I scrape the poop boards daily [​IMG] and put it in a plastic tote box for spreading on our garden. I would let them have access to the outdoors in all weather except a blizzard. My bunch of wussies have not come out once today just because we have 1" of snow. They do have a covered roost under one end of my coop. I have seen one pic of a coop in Ontario that is open to the south with only chicken wire on the south face. However there are hay bales and piles of hay in there for them to burrow down in also.

    Late correction. I just took the treat bucket out there around 11:15 AM and whistled "Rocky Top" (their treat song since they were chicks) About 10 of them exploded out the two pop doors. [​IMG] So some are now outside.

    See 'My BYC Page' for pics of my ventilation.

    Gerry [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  9. GwenDellAnno

    GwenDellAnno Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    0
    99
    Jul 18, 2009
    Water Valley, AB
    Mine would go out in almost any but the most miserable blizzard.... but only if they had a place to walk that wasn't snow covered [​IMG] I have (in the past) shovelled a square about 20' x 30' down to the grass, and/or you could spread straw (or leaves if you have some bagged) on top of the snow. They would come out and forage around even in cold weather in either of these situations.... but leave the coop door open so they can go in if they get cold.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You have a marvelous setup and apparently very happy chickens. I wouldn't force them to stay inside except, maybe, in a really bad storm with high winds.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by