Winter is Coming! Checklists, tips, advice for a newbie

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LadyCluck77, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. fenwickchic

    fenwickchic Out Of The Brooder

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    YAY!! Thank you. Finally someone else is saying that they are using leaves in their coop. I am using them in the coup and in the run of the tractor with pine shavings for deep litter. I clean the poop out of the inside coup but they don't seem to be pooing much in the run area. Either that or it is getting worked in and not a problem. I do rake it now and then and add more. My coop area is 4 x 4 x 4 and the area underneath I have sand, wood ash, and they are kicking leaves in there too. They seem to like the leaves and very happily shred them themselves. I think they find it very entertaining when I add new whole leaves for them to scratch through. I have a pvc water with nipples that we added heat tape to and surrounded with insulation. It was windy and rainy today so I put the rain rain curtains all the way down on the sides (made from outdoor fabric) to keep it dry inside. The side next to my house is right beside my dining room window so I can watch them and they can see in. When my husband put the insulation around the heating tape/waterer I told him I thought it was too loose and sure enough, the hens began to peck and pull at the fiberglass insulation. I had to run out with duct tape and wrap the whole entire watering system tightly with duct tape. Hopefully (I pray), they will leave the duct tape alone!!
    Again, thanks for commenting on the leaves. I love using them and they are free! Better yet, I think the chickens like them alot too.
     
  2. jstlitlome

    jstlitlome Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. flitter

    flitter Chillin' With My Peeps

    I started using leaves in my covered run area a couple of years ago. The chickens and I both love it. They have a ball crunching them up and it makes for really dry "footing" no matter the weather. I think it has improved the drainage of the runs even in the summer. Oak leaves seem to hold up better than maple or apple.

    edited to include.... happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  4. wantedman66

    wantedman66 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use leaves in my run too,I have an endless supply and the chickens love them as soon as I dump them it's like thanksgiving they can't wait to start scratching and kicking them around and they work great to soak up the water especially in the spring when the snow is melting.
     
  5. LadyCluck77

    LadyCluck77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2013
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    This morning it was 8 degrees F in the coop.
    I left the pop door closed an extra half hour, then brought them out hot oatmeal and let them into the run.
    I noticed one of the dog dishes of water I keep in the run had frozen solid. I could not get the ice block out of it, when I flipped it over, I saw that it was cracked on the bottom.
    The metal waterer was okay. It was on the heated base, but the booklet it came with warned it is not meant for temps below 10 F. So far it still works, we placed it under a little portico to protect it.
    Got 4 eggs today out of six who lay.
    No heat, no light.
    My leghorn Spike does seem to have a small amount of frostbite on her comb. It looked like a small white patch on the furthest tip.
    Will investigate more tomorrow. :/
     
  6. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Chicken Obsessed

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    LadyCluck: You could try some Bag Balm (in the square green tin) to use as protectant on your leghorn. A Northeasterner recommended to me last winter (after the damage was already done on my roo) but she seemed pretty zealous about it and thought it would help. [​IMG] I used vaseline all winter and it did nothing to prevent the frostbite unfortunately. But give that Bag Balm a try. Sometimes I think those steamy oatmeals in the cold can also create issues. I think my roo ran into trouble after I brought down a squash from the oven down to the coop, Unfortunately. Not for certain as the weather was completely "anartica" but I have suspicions it may have been an aggravating factor. One thing I do do is give them warm water in the morning for them to drink down. The fount I use seems to push back the wattles while they drink...so I feel okay with that. IDK...always learning with these chickens that's for sure. Best of luck... BTC
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. LadyCluck77

    LadyCluck77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2013
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    Thank you, I will definitely try the bag balm. Spike has a huge comb, even compared to the other leghorn, Lady. The spot of white was still there, but it's been dark when I get home from work. Which is only like 4, but that's how early it gets dark now. I think I got a decent picture of it, maybe a bit dark though.
    We also got another snowstorm, and all eight have been huddling under the portico. I think they do not like to walk in the snow.
    Will eta a pic. Maybe someone can tell me if it's frostbite or not. Thanks everyone for all the tips! I love this place.
     
  8. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    as long as the spot is on the tip, it won't cause a large problem.

    Unfortunately, my birds with large combs, especially the thin points, often get some frost bite. It all takes care of itself, no doctoring required.

    the time to panic is if you get it on the feet. So, wide perches, and some snow and ice free places for them to warm up their feet is very important.
     
    2 people like this.
  9. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Chicken Obsessed

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    My Coop
    It sounds like a touch of Frostbite...yes. Those young thinner fragile tips are so prone...especially the farther they get away from the heart and heavier circulation.


    No they may test try the snow if it's packed their first year ...but they generally decide that walking in it isn't something they like to do regularly...LOL. Cuties.
     
  10. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Chicken Obsessed

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    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    I might add that once you have appropriate roosts in place... prevention of foot injuries is what you are aiming for. Lower roosts to the 2 foot mark or less (prevent broken toes)...make sure bumble feet are treated and in check. Any compromise in circulation to the feet is when frostbite happens on the feet.
     
    1 person likes this.

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