Winter in Kansas-Pictures and Poll Question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Treesa, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. a) Use straw instead of wood chips?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. b) Use straw in addition to wood chips?

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
  3. c) Add straw to the sandy run?

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
  4. d) Do nothing different

    5 vote(s)
    83.3%
  5. e) Other-Please reply!

    0 vote(s)
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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Treesa

    Treesa Just Hatched

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    Feb 8, 2013
    Washington
    Hello everyone,
    This will be my first winter with the girls. I have 3 Red Sex Links. During the summer we have been using wood chips in the coop and sand in the run (see below). It has worked very well. However, I worry that those materials won't be warm enough for temps in the teens and bitter wind chills. I don't plan to use a heat lamp as so many on this site have advised against it. I would like some guidance though. Please look at the pictures and offer your suggestions!

    [​IMG]
    Generally there is more litter than shown here. The girls do not use the roost bars at all. They tend to snuggle down in the chips together. All food and water is kept in the run, outside the coop. I think ventilation issues are under control. The litter makes daily cleaning a breeze. If you use straw, how often do you clean it?


    [​IMG]
    The west side and top of the run is covered by a tarp to block wind and rain. Planning to block the short north side this winter.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    New Brunswick,Canada
    This is how I care for my birds on the east coast of Canada (Indian name for COLD.)

    My floor are planks with a layer of tin for rodent proofing. On top of the tin I have a piece of vinyl flooring cut one foot longer than the length and width of my coop (roughly). Six inches squares are cut out of the 4 cornes of the vinyl flooring. This allows the friction fitted flooring to travel up the walls six inches around the perimiter of my 4x8 salvaged metal coop. Shovel out the heavy stuff into a wheel barrow. Pop out the vinyl flooring hose it off pop it back in.
    Easy Peasy!
    I have been around the sun 63 times.

    It is not my first "Rodeo!"

    Nobody "I know" heats a chicken coop.

    Healthy "cold hearty" chickens die from heat not cold.

    I live in Canada last year was subject to -40º (C or F take your pick) no light or heat in coop NO PROBLEMS.

    Chickens have been raised on this continent for over a hundred years without heat.

    If you feel you must supply heat to your chickens I suggest keeping your chickens in the house that way you can huddle with your birds when the hydro goes out.

    Chickens will die from cold if not given the chance to acclimatize. Hydro is more apt to go out in an ice storm or blizzard when subject to below 0º temperatures in my opinion.

    How would you supply heat then to your un-acclimatized birds ???

    Diary of last winter cold snap check out the link:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/738994/chickens-arctic-conditions-prolonged-period

    I have used all types of litter for coops.

    I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

    Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. (I tried wood pellets as a last resort when pine shavings were not available.) They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets .

    Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.


    Works for me in my deep litter method.

    I do add to pellets from time to time.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

    Through the winter months it froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

    Oh I might add I do have poop boards 3½" below my roost that I clean every 2 to 3 days (excellent for catching eggs laid through the night).

    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

    Easy peasy!.

    Chicken coop is salvaged 4x8 metal shed.




    [​IMG]

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    I house a variety of birds in hear ¼ inch plywood veneer between birds and the elements no heat no light no insulation no problems!
     
  3. Treesa

    Treesa Just Hatched

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    Feb 8, 2013
    Washington
    Thanks for sharing how you do things. However, I have a very specific question and don't have the time or money to make major changes right now. There are a few things I would do different with my next coop but for now this is what I have to work with. Just want to do the best I can with what I have.
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I think that your setup looks perfect.

    I do think that it is odd that your chickens don't perch....wonder why.

    Not enough head space? Oddly shaped perch?

    It doesn't really matter though, snuggling in the wood chips is probably warmer anyway.

    I hated hay when I tried it (haven't tried straw, but I think it would work the same). The hay didn't absorb at all, the poop just sat on top in a carpet of nasty.

    I used wood chips in the coop, sand in the covered run/shed last year, and it worked great. The wood chips did freeze into a solid block, so I couldn't stir it up, and then I just tossed in fresh wood chips on top of the frozen. Worked great.
     
  5. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2013
    Pinebluff, nc
    My Coop
    I think what your doing is just fine, just may want to thicken up the amount of shavings in your coop.


    I've got 2 old girls that will not roost either, they each sleep in their own nest box when all of their sisters are up on the roosts.

    We mix straw into the pine shavings in our coops to help keep the cost of bedding down.
     
  6. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake


    How funny...up here straw costs money....wood chips you can get or free or close to free (giant black trash bag full for five dollars) from any saw mill, wood worker, or timber frame place.
     
  7. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2013
    Pinebluff, nc
    My Coop
    Yeah straw here is like $3-5 a bale and a bag of compressed shavings is 30ish. I tried to track down a mill and get some shaving for cheep with no luck.
     
  8. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2013
    Monticello, MN
    I'm in MN and I have exactly your setup. I have wood shavings in the coop and sand in the run. I think you have a good thing going. [​IMG]
     
  9. Treesa

    Treesa Just Hatched

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    Feb 8, 2013
    Washington
    Thanks everyone! Based off how cold they looked when we got that really cold snap this spring I will likely add some straw to the sandy run because even though they have a nice coop to go in when the winds blow, they just stand in the sand all day and freeze. Silly birds. This summer we made a chicken tractor that they love to be out in too. Fresh greens most of the day!

    Straw is a better deal here in Kansas, about $7-8 bale (lasts a very long time in my little coop, but I have to chop by hand and that is no fun). Tractor Supply has 8 cu feet of wood shavings for around $5-6. Wood chips are so much easier to clean than straw. Since our girls crossed the livestock/pet line long ago, I don't mind spending a bit more to keep things comfortable for everyone.

    Thanks for your feed back. I am quite relieved that I can keep using the wood chips.
     
  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Grifton NC
    Quote: Their feathers keep them perfectly warm,
    Adding straw to the run will do nothing at all to make them warmer, and will just create more expense and labor for you
     

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