Wintering chickens in Wisconsin.....need coop ideas/changes please!!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lostinthewoods, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. lostinthewoods

    lostinthewoods Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2007
    Hayward, Wisconsin
    I need suggestions to help my friend make/build some sort of a better chicken coop before winter, because here in WI it get's pretty cold!

    Here's the situation:

    The chickens are currently roosting in the horse's lean to, but come winter it will get too cold in there for them. I suggested a large dog house (there's 13 chickens) with a heat lamp, but I'm afraid that would be too small. Any other suggestions? She would like to be able to close them in at night in the summer somehow also. Thanks in advance!
  2. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    Does she have a shed? Can be converted fairly easily into a good size coop and provides dry shelter, protected from wind. May not even have to be insulated if she has hardy breeds. Another idea I remember (not tried it) is to use bales of straw for temporary "insulating walls" maybe around the lean to, maybe even use some tarp? Check freecycle and craigslist for used sheds, large wooden kennels, used coop etc. About I week ago someone in WI had a decent size used coop/small animal shed posted on CraigsList, I think it was $65.....don't remember where exactly it was located and if it is still posted.....
  3. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I don't think 13 chickens are going to fit in even a big doghouse. A good gauge is 4 sq ft per bird, so for 13 chickens (52 sq/ft needed), she'll need around a 8x7ish coop. Personally, since it's cold and snowy for so long here in the upper midwest, I recommend giving even more space than the recommended 4 sq/ft if at all possible since they have to spend so much time inside.

    With our winters, I recommend a shed style coop that you can walk into and close the door behind you. It makes chores so much easier and keeps the hard-earned warmer air INSIDE THE COOP. I'd be checking into Craigslist or even check out some of the supply houses (even Home Depot) as they are clearing out their shed inventory in anticipation of winter.

    Pre-built or home built, you'll want electricity inside the coop if at all possible. Some add heat, some don't (I do). But either way you'll need a way to keep water thawed, so a heated water dish is in your future.

    Good luck!
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    How big is the run-in shed and for how many horses. B/C by far the easiest thing would be to sacrifice one bay of it, or even just the back half of one bay, and wall it in (strongly!) as a coop.

    OTOH if the shed is already not entirely ample for her horses, that would not be an option. It would also have the disadvantage of probably not having electricity out there. (If she *does* have electricity run to the shed, the second simplest thing would be to build a smaller lean-to addition off the back of it, for the chickens).

    If she has horses, probably she has some other outbuilding like a barn or hay storage? If so, either part of that could be subdivided off for the chickens, or a lean-to addition built onto it.

    For 13 chickens in Wisconsin you want to be able to give them as much space as possible, to minimize the likelihood of pecking/cannibalism things starting to happen when they don't want to go out much and are getting grumpy. I would not even contemplate giving them less than 4-6 sq ft per chicken indoors, and a lot more would be a lot better IMO. It will probably come down to "what is the largest it's practical to do", though.

    Good luck to your friend, have fun,

  5. Hoosiermomma

    Hoosiermomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    S.E Ind
    Could she board up the lean to on 2-3 sides? Currently we use a dog kennel which is tarped on 3 sides and the top. We use a heat lamp to keep them warm in the winter. [​IMG]
  6. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

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