Wintering Flock in a Root Cellar?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by zaphod1130, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. zaphod1130

    zaphod1130 New Egg

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    I am new to chickens. I recently took over my family's farm and have a rooster and nine chickens. I built them a nice coop and run, but have moved them inside the barn for the winter. The thing is, the barn is very old, about 150 years old and starting to fall into disrepair, and it is cold.

    Inside the barn, I have an underground room, which was an ice room according to my dad. It is much like the root cellar we have on another part of the farm, and my father says that they would load this room up with ice and that both the ice room and root cellar maintain a temperature in the 50s. I store water in the room and we have running water in there.

    Most of my life the room was used for slaughtering animals, but I am starting to wonder if, with proper lighting, it might not be a better place to put my flock for the winter. I live in New England, and it is very cold. Eggs and water are freezing.

    I don't know if it's healthy to house chickens in a root cellar type room, but am sure that the extreme cold is probably not that much better.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. HooverHenHouse

    HooverHenHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My thoughts are the lack of fresh air would be worse than the cold, right now its 15° F, and i have my chickens in a coop with it ventailted..but they are out of wind and a breeze and all are healthy.

    Im not sure if winters are harder there, or if my thoughts are even valid..
     
  3. HooverHenHouse

    HooverHenHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, if it gets to cold i suspend a heat lamp from the ceiling, but only if it drops into single digits.

    I do not hang the heat lamp low, so i dont give them the option of over heating..previous years i had younger chickens too so wanted to add the extra heat in case they needed it..i haven't used it yet this year, and all my chickens are older.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  4. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Last night in Canada it was -20C with a windchill of -34 Celsius temperatures to remain this extreme and worse for a week.. I have 6 Golden Comet hens. NO heat, NO light, NO moisture, NO PROBLEMS! Poop board 3 inches below roost to catch eggs laid in the night. I had squabs Jack & Frostie hatch end of December 2012. NO PROBLEMS there but will take action once babies get too large for parents to incubate. Temperature inside coop was -20C. Hens are going on 4 years old 3 eggs a day as regular as below zero temperatures.


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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  5. nwredrooster

    nwredrooster Out Of The Brooder

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    I too would be seriously concerned about ventilation. Huge issue for chickens, more so than heat.
     
  6. TAMMACLEAN

    TAMMACLEAN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in New England (Maine) as well. My chickens are all out in thier coops and runs. I have plastice are the outside of all the runs and plywood and a tarp over the top. I keep a wireless temp gauge in the coops so I can see how cold or hot it gets. I have one coop all insulated and one only half insulated. Both coops are running the same temps. We have gotten to as low as 19 in them. I have had frozen water and I am working on making water heaters for them, but other than that they are all doing good. I've got lights in them during the day just for extra "daylight" and we are still getting anywhere from 6-14 eggs daily. I'd say as long as they are out of the wind and can cuddle together, then the should be fine.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Winter cold snaps pass. The ventilation far more important than living in a root cellar for a bit less cold. I open the barn door every morning, 15-17 F and they run out with gusto. They only pad around on the hard packed snow for a while. So, Granted, it it's only for a half hour, but in and out all day long, regardless of the temps. The love the fresh air.

    We've a warmup scheduled for all next week. Gathering eggs before noon is pretty much mandatory when living in a cold climate. Just part of the deal, I guess.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. zaphod1130

    zaphod1130 New Egg

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    Jan 3, 2013
    Thanks for the feedback. I haven't been letting them out at all. I'm up on top of a mountain and have pretty crazy winds and coyotes. I let them freerange in the warmer climate. Just trying to figure this all out. I took them in from a friend who couldn't keep them so I didn't really have time to really figure this all out. Thanks.
     

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