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Winter warmth

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChikenChik, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. ChikenChik

    ChikenChik Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2016
    I know this is way early but as my chicks are maturing I am thinking we have more roos than pullets. Since we are in a fairly populated are I am not sure will keep even one Rooster and definitely not the 4 or 5 I fear we may have(out of 6 American Bresse Mix). So since we have only 2 other chickens...6 month old hens(New Hampshire Red mix)... I am wondering if I need to get a few more hens to keep the coop warm enough this winter. The coop is about 6 foot by 4 foot. probably about 4 feet high slanted down to 2 feet if that makes sense. It's built a couple feet off the ground. They will have a small 8x6 covered run available during the day and I plan to insulate but no light or heat. Oh And I live in the Northern part of lower Michigan so it can get down to single digits or even negative numbers sometimes! I am not worried about eggs just the chickens keeping warm. Any Advice?
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    Northern Colorado
    I do not know about your area but we get dang cold here as well. I do know that when we were -16 there was concern about the giant coop being to cold. Hubby put a sealed oil heater in there so they could have a warmer bubble if they needed it. They stayed as far away from it as they could get.

    A sealed oil heater in an 8x14 coop with a ceiling height of 7'6" is not going to heat it at all. It did have a slightly warmer zone around it that they all avoided.

    Bottom line is ........... They do not need it nor do they want it.

    If your coop is insulated then they should be just fine in that size of coop. (Probably just fine in it without insulation)
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Long Beach, WA
    Insulating is generally a bad idea. The best protection from cold temps is to have a well ventilated, dry coop. Adequate ventilation would negate any of the insulation. As long as the coop is dry and well ventilated, and the birds are kept out of any drafts, they should be fine.
     
  4. scottygvsu

    scottygvsu Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2016
    Northern Michigan
    To add to the above advise, cover your run with heavy clear plastic. If your run doesn't have a roof, make sure you have a peak in the plastic so the snow will slide off. If your chicks are anything like mine, they won't lower themselves to walking in snow. The plastic keeps the snow out and they have some room to wander. I throw a few flakes of straw in my run once in awhile. Gives them something to scratch through.
    Also check the ceiling of your coop for frost when the time comes. If there is frost, it needs more ventilation.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    The idea is not to heat the area where the chickens are, the idea is to let the chickens take care of themselves, just like the songbirds that overwinter in your area. They do that by hunkering down in an area out of the wind and fluffing up their feathers if they get cold. Their feathers trap air which insulates them quite well. It doesn’t matter how cold the coop is, what matters is how cold the chickens are.

    The big risk is frostbite. If the air is too moist that can lead to frostbite. Moisture comes from their poop, their breath, and thawed water you may have in the coop. You need to have enough ventilation to remove that excess moisture. The easiest way to do that without creating a breeze hitting them is to have openings up high so any breeze is over their heads.

    I know you get colder than I do. It was 4 degrees Fahrenheit above zero when I took this photo. I always leave the pop door open and let them decide what they wish to do. As long as the wind is not blowing mine choose to go outside.

    [​IMG]

    If they wake up to a white world my chickens don’t go outside either. The problem is not really the snow being uncomfortable, they just don’t like change. Normally if the snow stays on the ground a few days mine will eventually get brave and go outside, but they do tend to stay inside at first. This snow fell during the day while mine were already out. Evidently the change was gradual enough it didn’t bother them.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ChikenChik

    ChikenChik Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2016
    We made part of our run Aframe so we could cover it with plastic in the winter and not worry about the heavy snow=-)
     
  7. ChikenChik

    ChikenChik Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2016
    Ok. We have a window that we will put some kind of shutter or something on to make its not drafty. It's up at the top of the coop but the coop is not that tall so if it was left completely open it would definitely be too cold. My husband is pretty handy so he will figure out something to keep ventilation while blocking the wind. it's not super cold all the time here but it can get frosty at times and it is always changing. The saying goes if you don't like the weather in Michigan wait 5 minutes. =-)
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Open in cold weather is a good thing. It's wind blowing in at roosting level that can be an issue. As long as the window is a good foot above roosting level, and rain/snow is kept out by a roof overhang, you shouldn't need to close it up.
     
  9. ChikenChik

    ChikenChik Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2016
    Yeah roof overhang is a better description than shutter...I just couldn't think of how to describe it..we will keep it open just build something to block the wind. It's not much higher than the highest roost...the coop isn't that tall. It goes all the way across the one side of the coop but is only a few inches tall so should be easy enough to block the wind. Hubby also said something about some pvc pipe vents between the coop and the shed that will allow airflow without letting snow and wind blow in. He is the handy one with the vision. I will also keep the door open to the run during the day to give them the option to go out.
     

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