Wintering Chickens in Western Colorado

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MattnCJ, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. MattnCJ

    MattnCJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Montrose, Colorado
    Hi Everyone! [​IMG]
    This is our first winter with our 8 Sisters. We are a bit anxious about this winter weathering our chickens. Any suggestions for snowy winters in Western Colorado areas? We've got the warmer for the water, the heat light and ventilation. Any advice is much appreciated! Matt & CJ
     
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Unless you have delicate breeds, the heat lamp isn't necessary. I'm in Northwestern Wyoming, not too far from Yellowstone Park, and we don't insulate nor heat our coop in any way. We have tons of windows, a vent down low on the west side and directly opposite that is the pop door, which is open 24/7. We have operable vents along the upper walls (think large heat registers in homes) and on nasty days we can close them and the windows on the side where the weather might be coming in but leave the others wide open.

    The coop is dry with plenty of air flow to take out warm, moist air. Dampness is the enemy in winter, not temperatures. But ventilation doesn't mean enough draft coming in to ruffle their feathers. That's like breaking the zipper on a warm down coat we might wear - brrrrr! All that warm air trapped next to their bodies is escaping if they are in drafts strong enough to ruffle their feathers.

    Our run is covered with clear, reinforced greenhouse type plastic, but not by any means sealed up. The south side is done like a window shade that we can roll all the way down on warmer days and up most of the way on nasty ones. The north side has a large gap about 2 feet long by 8 or 9 inches and it stays open all the time. The bottom of the west and east sides don't go all the way to the ground. The first year we did the plastic we sealed that run up tight, ala greenhouse. Dumb, dumb, dumb! <sigh> Condensation was literally running down the inside walls and dripping on our heads if we bumped the top. Bad mistake. So we opened it up, let it air out, and put good ventilation into practice there as well as in the coop. Problem solved. I can even raise chicks out there when temps are in the teens and twenties, using nothing more than a heating pad cave in a wire pen within the run. Not that I recommend raising chicks in winter, but you know springtime in the Rockies - we got our last snowfall on June 6th the first year I had chickens.

    Pictures of your setup would help considerably, so we could more accurately speak to your concerns. I see you've been a member since March, but since your still relatively new let me welcome you to BYC!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. MattnCJ

    MattnCJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Montrose, Colorado
    Thank you Blooie!
    I have to take photos of the coop. I have to run, but will respond later as I do have more questions! Thank you again as what you have told us so far has been extremely helpful! Matt & CJ
     
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, MattnCJ, and :welcome! Pleased you joined our community! Blooie speaks wisdom! A dry, draft-free but ventilated coop is all they need. They put off a lot of body heat and that keeps the others around them comfortable. Best wishes and thanks for joining BYC! :)
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    You are so very welcome! Glad to have you with us!
     
  6. MattnCJ

    MattnCJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Montrose, Colorado
    Thank you Redsox! Nice to meet you too! Looks like we are doing the right things so far! dry,draft-free but ventilated coop. sounds good. Thank you for your advice !! [​IMG]Matt & CJ
     
  7. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Loving the Autumn Weather Premium Member

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    Blooie has given you wonderful advice!
     
  8. MattnCJ

    MattnCJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Montrose, Colorado
    Glad to meet you and glad to be on here. A terrific source for us Newbies!
    Your info is great! Hubby has been working on the coop, I unfortunately have been terribly sick and he's building all himself.
    So far, the whole thing can't be a permanent structure, so it is all assembled. The roof is currently a tarp on top of the rafters,
    but that is only till this snow is over and the roof will be screwed on. Here is the latest photo. CJ, [​IMG]

    The window is covered until the glass is framed in, there is fabric cloth on the inside of the window. The bottom is lined in linoleum

    The door is on a pully and the run is still being built. The plastic idea is a great one and we will use that! We have a vent that will be
    above the laying boxes. It is in the photo in the box to the left of the house and right in front of the hay wagon. The clean-out door is
    on the right side.
    and hay on top.(very easy cleaning) [​IMG]
     
  9. MattnCJ

    MattnCJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Montrose, Colorado
    Thank you Chicken Girl1 nice to meet you! CJ
     
  10. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     

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