Winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rosebud75, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Rosebud75

    Rosebud75 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Vt
    How do you take care of the chickens during winter? Do you still let them run outside or do you keep them cooped? How does feed change? Remember, i'm in VT where a 'warm' winter is one that DOESN"T go below 0 degrees (and that's during hte day!)

    I do know I plan to get winter-hardy breeds like Australorps and Barred Rocks.
     
  2. Red Tie

    Red Tie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 30, 2008
    Metamora, MI
    I'm in Michigan and I know winters too! I let my birds choose. Open the door to the run and if they want to go out they can. I give them stuff to do inside, like hanging sunflower heads from the ceiling of the coop to pick at. Suet containers packed with greens hung up. Purina makes a block for flocks in winter that is really nice for boring old cold days. They do eat more, less to forage for and the need to stay warm. I have horses so I throw in a few flakes of hay to scratch through and of course, the usual kitchen scraps. Our coop isn't heated or insulated and we have RIR, BLW, GC, NH, WR. Make sure the roosts are large enough in diameter so that their toes can stay more under their bodies and not curled too far around a branch and away from the body heat.

    Hopfully this is helpful to you!

    Jane
     
  3. Rosebud75

    Rosebud75 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Vt
    Very helpful, thank you. it's hard for me to think of leaving any animal outside in our cold weather, but I have to remember that's what feathers are for!!
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    My big question is the snow. I really wanted a part of the run snow free...but can't figure out how to do that...or how I am going to open the door to the run in the winter, without having to shovel. [​IMG] Total pain.
     
  5. Rosebud75

    Rosebud75 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Vt
    Oh yeah... that snow thing. And we get a lot of snow, too. I suppose I would end up having to shovel a bit, then maybe lay some bedding out for traction.
     
  6. IrishWench

    IrishWench Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Colorado
    We used a sheet of fiberglass over part of the run. The white from Home Depot is guaranteed for life, Filters UV, but allows good light. This gives them a dry area if they choose not to get snowy. The coop had an extra sheet of insulation board against wall of nest boxes and lots of pine shavings throughout. Door to house was dutch door to allow 1/2 to remain closed and help retain some heat during day, house is in sunniest part(all day) of yard with shade tree over portion of roof and portions of yard. I also positioned it close to corner of our home and there are privacy fence panels behind and a couple feet away on one side.
    This provides extra shelter from what can be seriously kick butt winds where I live. The north winds are frigid, the southern generally warm, but still can be ferocious. That also placed them very near my upstairs bedroom window and I would wake if there was a fright or predator close causing rattled nerves.
    They could come in and out as desired during day. If the weather was really harsh, they either had to stay in for the day or be allowed out for a brief time during the warmest hours. In Colorado, just wait a bit and the weather will change :)

    I am building a new facility for the chickens I have now. Those componants will remain the same. The significant differences will be in size and design of house, boxes and aesthetic design

    I designed a contraption that gave some light and heat in coop all winter. My R.I. Reds layed 6 out of 7 days a week all winter. I will find a photo and write directions to add in the next day or so.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008

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