Winter is almost here!! Share your tips and tricks for coping the elements with your chickens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CuzChickens, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Hello there all!

    I have gotten to thinking. This will be my first winter raising chickens. I had ducks last winter (but that is a whole different story) but I think chickens will be a tad bit different from ducks. So, lets begin by sharing all of our tips and DIY tricks for keeping things thawed and other such things. As winter progresses, we will share stories of how our tips and tricks are working, maybe need to find different ideas if some are not working, and share pictures of chickens enjoying the snow! Here are some topics I would love to see some ideas on:

    1. Keeping those waterers thawed, because we all know how hard it will be to get ice chunks out of them.
    2. How to keep the eggs from freezing.
    3. What to feed them for a nutritionally balanced diet when they don't have greens.
    4. Preventing frostbite.
    5. When it might be necessary to bring in extra means of heat.
    6. Things for them to do since they won't have worms to search for, the ground will be too frozen for dust baths.

    Let's have fun with our chickens this winter!

    ALL BYC RULES APPLY.
     
    3 people like this.
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, here are some quicks answers. Numbers correspond to questions.
    1. [​IMG]

    2. Collect eggs regularly asap.
    3. Alflock or Layer feed or Starter feed is a COMPLETE NUTRITION. There are your choices. Some do need the addition of calcium in the form of Oyster shells freechoice.
    4.VENTILATION, VENTILATION VENTILATION.
    5. Depending on your location. Your location" most likely in the chicken coop" does not tell us what your climate is like. Some peeps do not want to disclose their location for privacy reason. In such cases you should just simply lie and say you live in a city near you. This way no one will find you or track you. Choose a city with same weather.
    6. Hang a head of cabbage on a rope and let them peck on it. Provide them with a dust bath tub inside coop filled with peat moss and potting soil mix. Don't use the type with added fertilizer like Miracle Grow.
    WISHING YOU BEST [​IMG]
     
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  3. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Thank you for your reply! I changed my location. I put that in there when I first joined b/c I did not know exactly what it would be like here and if I would want info like that out there, but I have found BYC to be pretty friendly and trustworthy. Thank you so much for your answers! I actually found two little ball like things that look like hanging baskets, and I will hang those up and put things like cabbage and lettuce in there for them to jump up and peck at.
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    SW Virginia, your winters should be on the milder side. I have family in Alexandria. It is closer to the ocean so it may be just a tad cooler where you are. What breed of chickens do you have??? Most chickens tolerate cold much better than heat. Another suggestion is for you to join a local State thread and read up how others in your state handle things. By join, I mean only to subscribe to one and you will be notified when new posts occur. You can just read and learn very much what others in your area are doing in certain similar situations.
    Here is a quick ling to one in Virginia. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/80/virginia
     
  5. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Yes, winters are definitely mild here, but I do not want this thread to be just about me and what I can do, I want everybody to be able to be part of this, that is why I posted that question, for other's benefit.:) I happen to be a member of the Virginia thread, some very nice and helpful folks over there!

    Silver laced wyandottes, Welsummers, Speckled Sussex, Buff Orpingtons, White Leghorn, Light Brahma, Black Australorps, Partridge rocks,and Golden Laced Wyandottes. All the breeds I have are pretty cold hardy. I am going to need to watch out for the roosters and the White Leghorn though.
     
  6. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    The white leghorn with that tall single comb, can be prone to frostbite. My opinion and that of many here is that proper ventilation is MOST IMPORTANT. Ventilation means no drafts, but proper evacuation of moisture, There are some very informative threads to read here on that subject.
    Your less than severe winters should give you frost free chickens. [​IMG]
     
  7. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Thank you for your wonderful advice! I do think I have ok ventilation, but I may be drilling some small holes to cover with hardware cloth to make sure I have plenty.
     
  8. PingoBags

    PingoBags Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's my first winter too, so I'm not sure if the modifications I did will work.
    Past two nights it has gone down to 0c so I'll be testing it soon.

    I wrapped 9' of heating tape around a 2 gallon bucket and wrapped that with insulation, it has nipples at the bottom.

    I built a 4x8 run with a solid roof, put clear 6 mil plastic on the smaller ends and a black tarp for the larger sides.
    The black tarp can be lifted for the nicer sunnier days. I'm hoping the black will absorb the heat.
    Because the black tarp doesn't let light through very well, I installed a 4 watt bulb, surprisingly bright for only 4 watts.

    I have passive ventilation but I made an active vent too. I doubled up on two 12cm pc fans and they exhaust the air outside.
    My coop is only small so it does a good job swapping air out.

    For boredom, I hung a 1 gallon milk jug with a few holes drilled in it. I filled it with a mixed seed bag I found at the dollar store lol
    It has whole and cracked corn, whole sunflower seeds, grains and lots of other small stuff.
    Works perfect, they work really hard for such little gain.

    No heat, didn't see the point.

    My temps get down to about -20, -30 on average at night
     
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  9. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Hello there pingo! Thank you for your input, there are some great ideas there, and I am sure many people will find them helpful! Wow, it is already starting to get chilly up there in Canada isn't it? The lowest temperatures I have seen so far is about 65, fahrenheit. So I am still about 30 degrees warmer than you once you convert C to F.
     
  10. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Both my water and food are kept in the run. The run is covered by a tarp so the snow won't get in. Three sides are covered in clear shower curtains. The open side is a few feet away from the house and no wind comes from that direction. Water is in a 15 gallon semi-clear tote with horizontal nipples and a stock tank deicer suitable for a plastic container. Once a day the girls get a treat such as whole corn or scratch. Am also getting straw. The straw will be sprinkled on the snow outside the pen so that they'll get out. Last year they wouldn't walk on snow until nearly spring. Am also getting an additional feeder. I want to make it so that I don't have to go outside to feed and water in a blizzard. Haven't spent a winter in really cold weather for 30 years so not sure if I could deal with a really bad storm at my age.

    The geese are getting a shelter built from the straw bales and wood pallets with plywood on top. It will be covered in a tarp to keep it waterproof. Will spread a thick layer of straw on the pallets inside the straw bale structure. The pallets are to raise the straw up to make sure the geese have a dry area if they need it. Have bought the 5 geese a 50 gallon stock tank for water and a floating stock tank deicer. Will cover that mostly with wood so they can drink it but not play in it.

    Best part of all, had a plumber come and install a special faucet outside near the critters so that I don't have to carry water in buckets. Will be able to use the outside faucet and just attach a hose whenever the critters need watered. Planning on getting one of those hoses that shrinks when the water is turned off as they are light weight and small when shrunk. Hose will be brought inside.

    I'm as prepared as I can be...I hope.
     

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