Winterizing a coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SheptheRooster, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. SheptheRooster

    SheptheRooster Just Hatched

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    This is my first year with chickens and living up north in Saskatchewan I know the winters can get mighty cold. We have a coop that is insulated and it seems to seal up well. Any advice or helpful hints on keeping things working properly through these cold months?

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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    'Sealed up' is not what you want.......good ventilation is paramount.

    You'll enjoy a heated waterer....https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/aarts-heated-waterer-with-horizontal-nipples
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
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  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    I live in Canada as well New Brunswick to be more precise.

    [​IMG]

    I am subject to -40º weather. I have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing or heating your coop to help your birds combat the cold.

    Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

    Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.
    This is done by feeding them whole corn as an added supplement in a separate feeder.

    The extra nourishment is more then adequate to bring them through the
    "COLDEST" winter.

    Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

    That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

    I do not add any extra heat or lighting.
    Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

    Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

    I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

    You really do

    "NOT"


    have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

    "MAJOR" problems.

    When it comes to lighting if you find you are short on eggs it does apparently help. I personally do not bother in my operation eggs are sold only to neighbours when they are available (if the sign is out I have eggs). Eggs in my operation have a tendency to crack and freeze during the winter months (we do not discard them and are fine but use them in house not for sale) the more eggs you produce during these months the more eggs will fall into this category.

    I have roughly 24 Golden Comet hens the longest I ever been out of eggs can be measured in hours >12<24. You will find that the egg supply in any hen is a finite resource the quicker you milk the eggs out of a hen the faster it will be spent and end up in your stew pot.

    On average one hen produces somewhere between 600 to 700 eggs in its life time. Lighting only effect the speed of delivery of the eggs which at the end of the day would amount to less than a year in the hens life is my guess

    If you do decide extra lighting is necessary have your light on a timer to lengthen the day "MAKE SURE IT IS SECURED BY 2 MEANS OF SUPPORT" one being a "SAFETY CHAIN" in case one fails especially if it is an incandescent bulb or heat lamp.

    I personally raise hens as a hobby; and for their manure to enrich my vegetable garden any thing else the hens provide is merely a bonus.

    Here is one BONUS NOW not many people can enjoy seeing in their back yard on a regular basis.

    [​IMG]

    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.
    Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

    I have 65 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

    Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  4. PingoBags

    PingoBags Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2016
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I'm in the same boat as you my fellow Canuck.
    From reading through the forum, people suggest multiple things.
    Keeping them dry
    Well fed (cracked corn at night or something like that)
    Good ventilation to keep moisture down.
    No breezes directly on the chickens while roosting.
    Heat only really needed if you have a non hardy chicken breeds, mine are hardy.
    Unfrozen water, use something to heat it or just keep changing it out.
    Cold isn't the issue for most chickens, it's when they are wet/damp and cold at the same time.

    The only thing extra I plan on doing is making a winter run.
    Not necessarily needed but my coop isn't huge and that will allow them to be chickens without the snow.
    This was my yard last year. That pile has a jeep under it.
    My coop will be buried for sure but keeping my other run clear is just not an option.
    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Not a Canuk, but live in a snow belt.....snow loads and clearing access paths for peoples and chickens is definitely an aspect to plan for.....roof rake.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  6. SheptheRooster

    SheptheRooster Just Hatched

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    Aug 22, 2016
    Grenfell, sk
  7. SheptheRooster

    SheptheRooster Just Hatched

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    Aug 22, 2016
    Grenfell, sk
    I am not worried about predators, our dogs quickly take care of those.
    I like a heated waterer idea. As my main concern is about keeping things warm in there.

    At this point we have not decided if we are going to put lights on timers or not, with that being said we do have very limited light up here.

    Are chickens really that good at keeping themselves/each other warm?
    Special diet? Do yu add corn all year or put them on a strictly corn diet?

    Thanks, we are new at this and feel kinda dumb but work our butts off to make sure our feathered friends are happy.

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  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,820
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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They keep themselves warm with all those feathers.
    Avoiding added moisture in coop is key(thus my closed waterer), so lots of ventilation without strong drafts (feather ruffling - literally) on roost areas.
    Their respiration and poops create moisture that needs to escape the coop.
    With adequate ventilation you're not going to 'keep it warm in there'.
    Tall coop with good ventilation up high above roosts is best.

    Good article on ventilation linked in my signature.
    This is a pretty good thread too https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081361/ventilation-vs-draft

    and here's a bunch more.......good or not, I don't know, you'll have to weed thru them:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/ne...&order=descending&Search=SEARCH&Search=SEARCH
     
  9. SheptheRooster

    SheptheRooster Just Hatched

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    Aug 22, 2016
    Grenfell, sk
    Excellent! This is all making much more sense! Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk
     
  10. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    I live in Northern Montana. It gets pretty cold here. My coop is not insulated at all. I do not heat the coop. There are several holes for ventilation. First there is the pop door that is open year round. Then there are 2 8 inch by 3 feet vents that are covered with hardware cloth just under the eaves. Last there is a 2 foot by 2 foot vent covered in hardware cloth in the back of the coop that is only a few feet from the house (so no breeze blows in) that is open year round but could be covered if needed. Roosts are 2 by 4s with the wide side up so they can cover their feet when they roost. There is a good layer of wood chips on the floor. My run has a tarp over the top and clear shower curtains on the sides except for close to the house. This gives the chickens a wind free area to go out into each day. Food and water is kept outside. The girls must have liked it because they laid eggs all winter long.

    By the way, for water I used a 15 gallon tote I bought at Walmart. Added horizontal nipples to the front. Added a stock tank heater. Only needed to give them water once a week and their water never froze. Coldest we got was minus 10 F. Sorry, in a hurry or I would have converted the sizes.

    If you read around the forums you'll find other people who live in colder places than I do and they do not heat or insulate their coops. As others have said, keeping them dry and draft free is the key to keeping a chicken warm.
     
    1 person likes this.

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