WINTER COOP Minnesota

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by johny, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. johny

    johny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2010
    Hey, any of you Minnesota chicken keepers.
    I want to know what you do and how effective it is for wintering your birds.

    I live just north of International Falls, Minnesota.
    A month of nights going down to –35C (-30F) is normal for January. Occasionally we get –40.

    My coop is an 8x8 shed.
    The ceiling is 6 ft. 4in. high.
    I insulated the walls and floor 2 inch Certifoam. The coop sits slightly off ground on blocks. I figure winter snow will quickly block and insulate any chilling effects of wind going under the coop.
    The ceiling has 4 inches of Certifoam.

    There is a single pane slider window on the south. That will be closed for the winter.
    The north wall has a 2 foot wide screened opening for spring, summer and fall ventilation. It will be sealed with plywood and 2 inch Certifoam for the winter. I plan to put a 6 inch dryer vent through that for winter ventilation. If we get a nasty Arctic blow, I will seal the vent until it is over.

    Inside will be a 100W light bulb 16 hours per day. I have a 125 Watt water dish heater.

    Planning on having seven Buff Orpingtons living through the winter in this coop.

    Will this be enough insulation?
    How about winter ventilation?
    I still have a hard time reconciling insulating vs. wasting heat by ventilating to prevent humidity and ammonia build up.
     
    dee34491 likes this.
  2. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Keep them dry and out of the wind....too much chicken breath will give you too much condensation in there and result in frostbite.

    Also, a 100w bulb wouldn't do much other than provide light.

    I have two 250w heat lamps plugged into thermocubes in my coop and my coop is 16 x 8, fully insulated. It doesn't get quite -30 here but it's gotten close with the windchill. I did lock all of my birds in for about a week last winter and managed to keep it from getting too terribly freezing in the coop. I think the low was 16 degrees in the coop and that was after a day-long power outage and -20 with howling wind.

    Using pop bottle waterers helped a lot, too because a warm bowl of water in the coop will add to the moisture in the air and promote frostbite.
     
  3. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Also, that probably won't be enough ventilation...I have two large vents that I can close and two windows that open along with a design/layout that allows me to leave the door open but not let the chickens out...I only shut the west vent ONCE last winter and that was because the snow/freezing wind was coming in sideways onto my bantams.
     
  4. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Using pop bottle waterers helped a lot, too because a warm bowl of water in the coop will add to the moisture in the air and promote frostbite.

    I would have thought the soda bottle waterers would freeze. How did you keep them from freezing?​
     
  5. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:I would have thought the soda bottle waterers would freeze. How did you keep them from freezing?

    The inside of my coop stayed above freezing for the most part but I changed them out twice a day...
     
  6. ND Sue

    ND Sue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2009
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    I'm located about 40 miles north of Fargo/Moorhead and get a lot of the same kind of temps, although you guys are always a little colder!

    I used one of those flat panel heaters and mounted it lower on the wall in the coop. I loved it and really needed it! It got cold! I bought mine for around 35-40 dollars at Fleet Farm in the heaters section.
    I also use a thermometer that tells temp and humidity. One of those that has the antennae in the coop and the display thing right here on my desk so I can see how cold or hot it is as I'm in the house. On the worst cold snaps, I also hung a heat lamp with a 250 watt red heat lamp. This year, we added on to our coop, so I'll be buying another flat panel heater and ditching the heat lamp. I just read so much about fires and even though I made sure it was secured by more than just the clamp, I was worried about it the whole time.

    I think you will be needing a heater too! These seem to be the safest as far as fire hazard.

    It got too cold to let them out in Dec and Jan. so I shut the pop doors and put a bale of straw in front of them to cut down on drafts. I also covered the windows with plastic. I plan on doing both of this things again this year. Everything went well, no lost toes, combs or wattles to frost bite! The average temp in my coop in December and Jan (with the heater and heat lamp going,) was 5 below-10 above. My coop is insulated with R-13 insulation walls, roof and floor. No north windows.

    I'm so hoping this winter will be milder! We're due for one!!
     
  7. ND Sue

    ND Sue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2009
    ND
    I forgot to say... we lined the whole coop with straw bales on the outside. I know you were thinking the snow would insulate, but the straw does a better job until the snow accumulates. Ours is up on bridge planks in case I ever wanted to move it, so there is a little air space under mine too.
    We don't have any mouse problems with the straw. I took them away as soon as it melted.
     
    dee34491 likes this.
  8. johny

    johny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2010
    ND Sue.

    Was your -5 to+10 temperature range in Farenheit or Celcius?
    Zero Farenheit seems like a really cold average temp. Don't the eggs freeze quickly?
     
  9. jim s

    jim s Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Hi Johnny and all. I live in Duluth MN. Not quite as cold, but close. Lake Superior can bring some winds and cold. I overwintered 40 chickens last year, some in an attached garage where temps were always above zero F, ventilation was my problem there, build up of amonia smell. I also had two coops 4'x8'x5'high on trailers, unisulated with 6" of pine shavings. The birds chose where to go, probably the lowest in the pecking order stayed outside, the roost in the attached garage coop only allowed for 20 birds or so. The only time the true outside birds ever had problems was when temps got into the 10 - 20 degree below zero range, and only three birds got frostbite comb. We only get a few 30 to 40 below days, maybe a week or two of 10 - 20 below.

    Hows that go, IMHO (in my humble opinion), I would be leary of heating the coop all the time, I am going to heat the outdoor coops when temps are below zero. The chickens do lay in the garage coop with temps always above zero, I had no problems with frozen eggs. The birds really do get by fine in the cold, just not below zero in my experience. Ventilation is easy to keep track of, you have plenty of options to open or close as needed, usually if I opened the human door to the garage coop during the day, it aired out just fine. Loose heat, gain ventilation! That is the trade off. I had no problem with ventilation in the outdoor coops with 7-10 birds in each of the outdoor coops, though I open the chicken door daily for them so there was no retaining of heat and no problem with build up of amonia. I will heat only at night anyway, the sun on cold days usually heats the inside of the coop with one 2'x2' window.
     

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