Winter runs?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NovaAman, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. I am in Michigan, and I was think maybe I could build some sort of winter run, that they'd still be protected by, but not get in the snow? Maybe a 15 ft by 4 ft wide, plexi-glass so the sun can keep the area warm, timothy hay with scratch so they have something to dig? Has anyone tried this? Is it even a good idea?
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    That sounds nice for the chickens. I think it sounds like a fun project and I'm sure the chickens will appreciate it.
    Probably not necessary. If you have cold hardy breeds they can handle cold weather well. They are more likely to be afraid of the snow at first.
    Having a dry draft free coop is more important.

    Imp- That being said, I'm planning on expanding my run and providing an enriched environment. [​IMG]
  3. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I'm in San Diego, Mountains....[​IMG]....I built a covered run just so my poor lil' chickies wouldn't get their feet wet. I look out from the cozy covered run and see all the tiny wild birds and ask myself why I was worried that my chickens would get too cold?

    I think it's a great idea!! I ditto everything that Imp said!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  4. afveteran88

    afveteran88 Chirping

    Jun 25, 2011
    Deerfield, Michigan
    I'm also in Michigan (Go Blue) and have never had any problems in the winter. Other the keeping my water from freezing. You will be surprized at how harty chickens are. Just think back in the days when there was no electricity or running water etc. They got along just fine.
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Lots of members up your way have a covered area so they can get out when snow is on the ground -- or shovel spots for them. Chickens tolerate cold pretty darn well, but often won't walk on snow, at least of any depth. You might find the plexiglass a little pricey, though. Maybe a browse in the coop forum here will give you some ideas.
  6. Ogress

    Ogress Songster

    Nov 24, 2010
    North Bend, WA
    My Coop
    Mine won't walk on snow deeper than 2". For bad weather (snow or high winds) I have a covered run that is pretty sheltered from the winds. They don't mind the rain - if it starts squaling, they all hop into the nearest tree. If it squalls frequently, they head back for the run.
  7. babigyrl22

    babigyrl22 Songster

    Mar 29, 2011
    [​IMG] Welcome Nova! If you get a chance wander over to the Michigan thread. Lots of nice and helpful folks over there. [​IMG] I haven't gone through a winter myself with my girls but like afveteran88, I've heard that chickens do just fine in the winter. Just as long as your coop doesn't have any drafts while they are sleeping in there, it should be all good. (from what I heard of course) [​IMG]

    Oh, the thread is located here:
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  8. Awesome. See, my neighbor has chickens, and they have never let the chickens out in the winter, and I was under the understanding that chickens will do better if they have as much natural light as possible. They have a skylite on their shed, but it faces east and is backed up in the trees, so, it gets a little morning light, and then they use artificial light. I do not want to use artificial light as much, but I will use it. So, I was just thinking a nice covered, clear winter run. I am collecting old window panes to be able to do it along with the plexi. I just didn't know if it was a good idea or not. So, now I know that it is. Thanks a lot. I just want my girls to be as happy as possible in the winter, even if they do bare confinement well.
  9. chriscos

    chriscos In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2011
    Look into hoophouses, inexpensive greenhouses covered with 6mil greenhouse plastic. I would not fully enclose it in plastic though since the temps in hoop houses can get very high, even up to 80 degrees in the middle of january when outside temps are in the low teens. You will need to design the frame with snow loads in mind of course.

    As others have said, my chickens don't mind the cold at all (I am in Mass.) but they don't like to walk in anything more than a dusting of snow. I am going to partially cover some of their winter run since I am sick of shoveling it out [​IMG]
  10. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    Hubby is fixing the run this weekend. We are replacing the tarp with wood on the top and side. It's 10 feet long. So the girls will be able to walk in a 10x5x5 in the run during the winter months. Our full run is 22x5x5 for 8 chicks. I can't imagine them cooped up for 6-7 months. I'm so glad he did this! We made our coop to big to give them more room as well.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by