Winter Questions... PLease advise

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mags2009, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. mags2009

    mags2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2009
    I live in Northern Wisconsin, where it gets unbelievably cold. Last winter it was -30 to -40 A LOT!!!!!!! But, first things first. Right now, its 18 degrees here. Is it too cold to open their door for them to go outside? Our coop is insulated well, and when I go in there it is surprisingly not too cold, but should we be adding any heat? We have one of the windows cracked slightly for ventilation, but also noticed the windows and door is really getting frosty. Do they mind not going outside??? I have a friend that has chickens and she said that she didn't open the chicken door unless it was at least 30 degrees. What do you all think????
  2. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    mag2009, wish you had mentioned your breed of chickens because that makes a difference how well they can handle your local weather of severely low temperatures. Whatever, you say your coop is well insulated, so there should be no problem except for your apparent lack of ventilation. Windows won't help ventilation, keep them shut during the severe winter weather. You have to be able to get moisture out of your well-insulated coop, and the only reasonable way to do that is make an opening in a very high location of your coop. Depending on your breed's being one that can handle very low temps, your problem is one of how to let warm, moist air out of your coop. It isn't cold that kills chickens, it's high heat in summer and warm, moist air in winter, i.e., make an opening up high in your coop that you can open and close at will.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
  3. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    I met a man many years ago from Alaska that told me it is so cold in Alaska, he feeds his chickens lit matches. He said that he strikes the match,the flame freezes, & the chickens eat it. It thaws in their belly to keep them warm. He probably wouldn't think Wisconsins -40 would be too bad![​IMG]
  4. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    mags2009.....I am in WI, south though near Madison. I have an unheated wooden gardenshed, 12x8 for my chickens. Atteched is a 12x4 covered run. The shed has windows and vent high up under the roof. Windows are closed in winter but the vents pretty much are open. I have one EE, obe RIR and 3 Wyandottes and a Barred Rock, all fully feathered, the youngest one 17 or 18 weeks old. I open the popdoor every morning and they do not hesitate to go out. Even when it is 20 degrees. They get some 'free time' running loose in the yard every day also. They choose to go out, the cold does not seem to bother them. I have 6-8 inches of bedding in the shed, they have wide roosts and a platform to sleep on. The coop gets cold but is not drafty or humid. I have a 60 w bulb in the coop during the day over feeder, have a heated waterer. I tried to just have a waterer under the bulb but the water still freezes, so I switched to the bigger 3 gallon heated thing. I currently have 6 chickens, one turned out to be a roo and he will be rehomed next week. The coop temp so far has not dropped below 25 - 27 even though we had low night temp of 16 the other day. This is my first winter with chickens. The breeds I got are all supposed to be winter hardy. I am planning to let them out unless it is blizzard like or they act like it is too cold outside. The one thing I will do though is put a couple of bales of straw in the coop as a 'windblock' near the popdoor. It will also give them something to 'destroy' during times they can't go out. Don't know if that helps.....I do have a heatlamp, but I hope we can do without......
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:[​IMG] Yeah...sounds like you do need more ventilation up high. But I would offer your chickens outside time and let them decide if your temps are too cold....
  6. I have sex links. They go out in all kinds of weather, and we have no heat added.
  7. mags2009

    mags2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2009
    We have Buff orps, Barred rocks, white rocks, ee's, and a red star. I will talk to my DH about the ventilation. They probably won't go out because of the snow. ( The run is not covered) Maybe we can cover part of the run somehow. My breeds are supposed to be very winter hardy, although not quite sure about the EE's.
  8. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    My coop gets opened every day - the chickens do come out in the cold, but not for long, I have a wide mix of breeds, from little bantams to a big fat RIR.

    Most cold days my chickens make a mad dash for the horse barn, and spend the day in there.
  9. mags2009

    mags2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2009
    I am now worried about the ventilation problem. There is a lot of humidity in the coop. What kind of vent should we put in? Can you take a look at our coop on my BYC page and tell me where we should add the vent?
  10. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    What a beautiful coop! Those are some lucky hens!
    I hate to tell you to cut holes in that lovely coop, but you need more ventilation. The best place for it would be right under the peak of the roof, on both ends. Since you have a nice overhang, you can just cut it out with a sawzall, frame it in, and put hardware cloth over it. Make some nice big holes--you can always cover one up if it seems to much, and it will be nice to have in summer.

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