Winter-Ready Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DakotaBear, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. DakotaBear

    DakotaBear Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2011
    Hey All!

    Found my way over here from frugalsquirrels, and been poking around all day.

    We're getting ready to make the plunge into some cluckers! Looking at starting out with 6-8 Buff Orph. hens.

    I've found a few tid bits on winter coops... But would like some clarification:

    I'm going to be building a coop. It's going to be a 4x8 coup plus a fenced in run.

    I am interested in knowing what precautions I should take for cold weather (USDA 4a Hardness).

    Insulation, Heat lamp, closable vents, open access to run, closable door to run, whatever else I'm not thinking of, ETC.

    Thanks!
     
  2. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  3. DakotaBear

    DakotaBear Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2011
    Quote:Thank you.. that was helpful. Many things to consider.

    Does anyone have any practical experience with this? (MN, WI, Dakotas)
     
  4. carladababe

    carladababe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Dixon, Missouri
    Thank you for the link. I love this forum, makes learning fun and easy. My chickens are fat and happy, and we get beautifully colored eggs, life is good.[​IMG]
     
  5. Kountreefok

    Kountreefok Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2011
    Graceton, MN
    [​IMG] Hi from MN (zone 3) and welcome to BYC! We started with a coop close to that size--about 6x8 plus a fenced run--but had more birds than that. It isn't insulated but built old-school from heavy, rough cut lumber. Long, well pitched metal roof-- A-framish. Low ceiling: great for holding heat but hard on the back at cleaning time!
    The birds usually kept it and each other plenty warm. Runs and nights of worst weather--or if it just seemed too gloomy for them for too long--we ran a drop light out there with a 100 watt bulb.
    If you put in closeable vents that would probably be a bonus but they may freeze up.
    Closeable door to the run...neccessary! They're going to spend alot more time shut up in there than either you or then will probably be comfortable with. Nicer days we clear a path or throw straw down on the snow to let them have some outside time.
    Plan to offer diversions to help prevent cabin fever.
    Additionally, we use the deep litter method in our coops.
    BO's are a good choice! Just love ours.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  6. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
    Quote:Thank you.. that was helpful. Many things to consider.

    Does anyone have any practical experience with this? (MN, WI, Dakotas)

    I do I do [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Our climate is cold and dry, very dry in the winter months. winter's average somewhere between -10F and -35F - ish. For years I have been using a 8 X 8 storage shed with about 20 birds through the winter. The birds themselves generate some heat and as long as the coop stays dry inside there is less likelyhood of frostbite. I use pine shavings in mine and when they start going from loose shavings to more solid chunks I shovel if possible and if not I just toss more shavings on top. The more fluff the more insulative they are. When the girls are up off the floor they are usually on a roost unless they are in the nest box. The boxes have shavings for them to wallow in as well but the roosts are 2 X 4 so that when the chickens roost their breast feathers cover their toes. If a toe curls over the edge it will be exposed and can frost bite. My birds go outside at -20 and usually elect to stay in at lower temps.

    Tom built me a really cool water heater (we tried everhthing and this works so slick) and now we never have to worry about frozen water. [​IMG] that! I just realized I don't have the directions on here, I will see if I can update my page this afternoon and I'll PM you the link when I'm done. Cost about $6 and I love it!

    I watch the birds, they tell when they are feeling miserable. If it's really cold I will turn on the heat lamp, which doesn't "heat" the coop, just makes it less liekly that I will have chicken-sickles.

    I put a light on a timer, nothing fancy just a regular incandescent bulb in a hooded (clamp on style) light fixture. The clamps don't hold so I hang them from chains screwed to the ceiling. The light is on 14 hours a day to help motivate them tolay. I also add cayenne pepper, about 2 tsp per 5 gallon bucket of feed, and that helps keep their production up in the winter plus it helps with certain types of worms.

    Good luck, have fun, keep the questions coming.
     
  7. PHILMAN

    PHILMAN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2011
    South Plainfield , NJ
    Thanks to everyone ! This is good to know for the winter! I was worried . But I feel better now after reading these articals !
    I have a small coop 3'x4' with a 6' run attached now i'm goning to board it all up for the winter so they have a bigger space when it gets cold outside .I hope this works .
    Thanks
     
  8. DakotaBear

    DakotaBear Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2011
    Quote:The design I'm tinkering with, I'm thinking about making the panels on the non-nest side slide away for cleaning... (two slide in 4' x 4' walls.)

    Quote:I was planning on running a work light out, and putting it on a timer if needed. That way I can do anything from a 60 watt to 250 IR if needed. I have read concerns that humidity can build up if theres not enough ventilation. How much is enough?

    Quote:Going to have to look into that...


    Quote:Seemed like the best choice for the climate, eggs, and friendliness with out young ones. Glad to have a 2nd opinion!

    Quote:We will be chatting more... looking at adding rabbits next year.. [​IMG]

    ---------------------------

    Quote:I had not read or heard about the 2x4s before. Makes sense. Thank you!

    Quote:YES! Please do. I've been contemplating different options, and would love a proven (AND CHEAP!) method.

    Quote:Oh, I will. You guys have been awesome so far... There's alot of info up, but I'll ask when I'm unsure.. just don't peck at me for my newbieness.
     
  9. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
  10. DakotaBear

    DakotaBear Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2011
    Quote:Is that waterer a metal bottom? Or plastic?
     

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