Winterize my chicken coop

Apub

Hatching
Apr 23, 2019
7
7
9
So, this will be our first winter with our chickens. We live in Michigan so the winters get pretty cold and can get windy and snowy. What do I need to know about winterizing the coop? Any tips or tricks that I should know? Any mistakes that you have learned from or ways that you have improved your winter coop over the years? Thoughts on heating it ...I hear that some people recommend putting in a heater and others don't think it necessary and others that are highly against it. Loved to hear your thoughts! Thanks!!
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Jul 26, 2008
29,587
51,989
1,282
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
My Coop
Why thank you @Ridgerunner :D

Yep.... my article...

And do NOT be tempted to close up vents... most coops have way too little ventilation.

In fantasy world I like 1 to 3 sides of the run covered with whatever clear plastic you might have....

I have had poultry for years... and only THIS summer have I finally managed to put fiberglass panels on the south fence of the duck pen. I am hoping since the duck pen is south of the big chicken coop it will give them a bit of wind relief. (My wind all comes from the south)

But do not fully encase the run... ventilation is much more important than blocking wind.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
7,023
17,521
612
South Park, Colorado, USA
@Alaskan mentioned wind blocks. I just want to add that I feel the wind is the thing that negatively impacts my flock the most in winter. I advocate for a wind block on one side of the run so that it blocks your prevailing winds. If you aren't sure which direction your wind normally comes from, you can tie a ribbon out or something and watch it for the next week or two and see if you can notice a pattern. I do not wrap my entire run, just block one side.
 
Sep 22, 2019
52
73
66
Ontario Canada
This will be our first winter but I understand wind is the most important thing to controll Chickens will do well as long as they are dry and not in drafts This is our coop and attached , covered run . I just purchased plexi glass sheets from a local supplier and will cover my run with clear plexi . I intend on covering the area below the coop completely and for the other, tall areas, I was going to cover all sides up to about 12 inches from the top That will allow air flow and ventilation , but well above the girls heads. I have a window on each side of the coop and two more facing into the run as well as the poop door into the run these two windows and door will for sure stay open all winter to allow ventilation I have soffit vents in the coop and also the cupola on top . I think this should be a good set up
DDDB8199-7BE3-4965-A797-49217C63299E.jpeg
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
Jul 18, 2013
1,394
1,528
276
Kalispell MT
I live in NW Montana so a similar winter weather. You need lots of ventilation. A warm chicken is a dry chicken. A chicken can get frostbite at just below freezing in a coop with lots of humidity. A chicken can be fine at below 0 in a dry coop that is well vented. I have a 6 by 8 foot coop made for 12 birds and it has 10 square feet of vents that are never closed. Vents are placed up high so that no wind blows on the birds and the roosts are kept low. Do not want to ruffle those feathers that are keeping warm air next to your chickens. There is a thick layer of pine shavings on the floor. There is no heat and no insulation in the coop.

The run has a metal roof now. In the past I have used a tarp on top. New roof is so much nicer. My birds don't seem to like walking on snow. There are clear vinyl shower curtains on 3 sides of the run with the open side away from any winds. You do not have to worry about wind chill factor if you keep the wind off the birds. Food and water is kept out in the run. The birds are outside all day no matter the weather. Even at -22 they are outside pecking and eating and doing chicken type things. I have never lost a bird during the winter.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
1,679
3,917
371
David, Chiriquí, Panama
You can also do a google search for "prevailing winds <insert your location>" and the top few listings should offer you websites that have this information. Some will even break down this information by month or season, making the information even more useful.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
Sep 19, 2009
23,730
13,039
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
What is real temperature and real wind chill at a given latitude and altitude that the chickens are actually exposed? That is where you get at actual truth of what you dealing with.

How do you measure the windchill where the birds are versus what the weather experts post for you region?
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Jul 26, 2008
29,587
51,989
1,282
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
My Coop
This will be our first winter but I understand wind is the most important thing to controll Chickens will do well as long as they are dry and not in drafts This is our coop and attached , covered run . I just purchased plexi glass sheets from a local supplier and will cover my run with clear plexi . I intend on covering the area below the coop completely and for the other, tall areas, I was going to cover all sides up to about 12 inches from the top That will allow air flow and ventilation , but well above the girls heads. I have a window on each side of the coop and two more facing into the run as well as the poop door into the run these two windows and door will for sure stay open all winter to allow ventilation I have soffit vents in the coop and also the cupola on top . I think this should be a good set up View attachment 1942238
If the top 12 inches all around the run are left open... that might blow snow right in.... that is if you get blustery wind storms where you are.. ....

That is why I like the idea of one or 2 sides fully open, and 1 orv2 sides fully closed... since then the wind isn't blowing through....

However... I have never gotten around to putting anything on my chicken run walls.
 

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