Winter Question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by UTAHEM, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. UTAHEM

    UTAHEM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2015
    UT
    So I have a covered run and just put plastic on three sides - from the ground to about 2/3 up the side. Inside of the covered run is a 3.5'x3.5' square coop made from plywood that is off the ground. It has a pop door that we keep open (because of the secure run - this provides some ventilation from below) and the whole roof is open (covered with hardwire cloth) there are three 2x2s on top of the coop and then a corrugated roofing panel that is translucent. I am lighting the coop with a 12W rope light on the top of their coop between the hardwire cloth and corrugated roof from 3 am until it gets light out. I put a thermometer in the coop last night and it didn't stay any warmer (maybe 2-3 degrees) in the coop than the outside temperatures. We have three hens. I try to give them some scratch before they roost for the night. I haven't seen signs of moisture collection inside of the coop. I'm guessing I need to block some of the ventilation by placing a board or cardboard over the top of the wire part of the roof. I was thinking I might block 1/3 to 1/2 and see how it goes. Do you have other suggestions? Temps are only in the mid 20s right now at night, but we are supposed to get into the teens and below in the coming weeks and I'd like to have their coop be warmer than the outside air. Would you block over where the chickens roost or the other half of the coop? We live in a VERY dry climate - for the most part humidity is below 20% out. I keep their water and food in the covered run - their water is heated to keep it liquid.

    Thanks in advance.

    Ha, the chickens still don't like the plastic much, but I'm not sure what to do about that.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't make any modifications for winter. We're probably close to the same temperature except that it is way more humid here.
    I have big windows on coops and don't close them off at all and they free range most days.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. UTAHEM

    UTAHEM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. What is the lowest your temp's get? We will get into the single digits and below at nights. Humidity does increase at night and when there is snow. We can have extended periods where the daytime temperature doesn't get above freezing if we get a winter inversion.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    A couple winters ago we hit -19F. That year, the ground was covered with snow all winter and there were several periods of weeks without going above freezing.
    Keep in mind, chickens go to bed wearing a down winter coat, not negligees.
     
  5. Chicken Slaver

    Chicken Slaver Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2015
    In The Pines
    You could try experimenting with covering portions of the open top under the roof panels. If no moisture is noted in the coop then you will have achieved the best of both situations. You will have raised the temp. of the coop a few degrees, and still maintain a dry coop.
     
  6. UTAHEM

    UTAHEM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicken Canoe, thanks for the giggle! I know they wear a down coat. . . =)

    Yeah, I figured I'd try to cover some of the ventilation - I guess it may not be necessary if the chickens seem fine. I just didn't know if someone had a recommendation about it being better to cover some of the ventilation over them or on the other side of the coop.

    Our poor Australorp may get frostbite no matter what we do. . she has a very large single comb.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    These are large single combs. More accurately, carnation combs, but similar.

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    I've never had frostbite on any of my hens and I've had lots of Mediterranean breeds. The roosters will get bitten below 10.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  8. UTAHEM

    UTAHEM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again! Yeah, our hen doesn't have that big of a comb. LOL!
     
  9. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    New Brunswick,Canada
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    I am subject to -40º weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing or heating your coop to help your birds combat the cold.

    Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

    Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.
    This is done by feeding them whole corn if available or cracked corn as an added supplement in a separate feeder.

    The extra nourishment is more then adequate to bring them through the
    "COLDEST" winter.

    Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

    That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

    I do not add any extra heat or lighting.
    Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

    Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

    I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

    You really do

    "NOT"


    have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

    "MAJOR" problems.

    When it comes to lighting if you find you are short on eggs it does apparently help. I personally do not bother in my operation eggs are sold only to neighbours when they are available (if the sign is out I have eggs). Eggs in my operation have a tendency to crack and freeze during the winter months (we do not disguard them and are fine but use them in house not for sale) the more eggs you produce during these months the more eggs will fall into this category.

    I have roughly 24 Golden Comet hens the longest I ever been out of eggs can be measured in hours >12<24. You will find that the egg supply in any hen is a finite resource the quicker you milk the eggs out of a hen the faster it will be spent and end up in your stew pot.

    On average one hen produces somewhere between 600 to 700 eggs in its life time. Lighting only effect the speed of delivery of the eggs which at the end of the day would amount to less than a year in the hens life is my guess

    If you do decide extra lighting is necessary have your light on a timer to lengthen the day "MAKE SURE IT IS SECURED BY 2 MEANS OF SUPPORT" one being a "SAFETY CHAIN" in case one fails especially if it is an incandescent bulb or heat lamp.

    I personally raise hens as a hobby; and for their manure to enrich my vegetable garden any thing else the hens provide is merely a bonus.

    Here is one BONUS NOW not many people can enjoy seeing in their back yard on a regular basis.

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    Nest boxes
    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. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.
    Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

    I have 65 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

    Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.

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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  10. UTAHEM

    UTAHEM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the information. We actually have several deer in our yard year round. It is a lovely sight. =)
     

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