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Winterizing a coop.........

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gavinandallison, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Songster

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    I know it seems a long time away but I am already starting to think about preparing to winterize my coop. I was looking to place bales of straw around the outside of the coop to keep the wind out. There will still be access space to allow air around and also collect eggs. Also been looking at a heated panel to mount on the wall with an outside thermostat plug which will turn on as/when it gets too cold. Also a heated waterer so not have to worry about frozen water.

    Does anyone know how well Barred Rock's fair in cold weather?

    I look forward to the masses of information and ideas that will come my way......

  2. turtlebird

    turtlebird Songster

    Dec 11, 2009
    Barred Rocks have single combs so you will have to watch out for frostbite if you don't have adequate ventilation. It is the humidity build-up coupled with cold temps that freeze those combs. Also, if you don't have the 4" side of the 2x4" up for roosts, you might want to change that. They are then able to lay their toes flat and cover them with their feathers to avoid freezing their tootsies. YOu probably knew all that.
    My coop is in the corner of a semi-heated pole shed, so it doesn't get much colder than 25-30 degrees during the day and the heat rises back up to 40 overnight. But here is what I have done to make the MN winter more pleasant for the ladies, and gentleman. I have a 250 watt heat lamp situated safely and SECURELY above their waterer (at least 18 inches above and securely chained to the ceiling). That keeps their water from freezing. The run has a roof over it. So I double wrap the entire run with two layers of poly, except the south only has 1 layer of poly. Thick layer of straw in the run.
    I think rocks do fairly well in the cold, my white rocks did beautifully.
    Sounds like you have a pretty good plan. before you know it, winter will be here. Good to think ahead!
  3. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Kentucky, Cecilia
    This is only my second winter with them but in reading a bit some had suggested coating their combs with petroleum jelly. Last year I just made their bedding a bit thicker. Many of mine skipped roosts and cuddled down in clean bedding together. Was a pretty cold winter. We also had some spare insulation so my hubby slapped some inside the walls when he put inner walls up. So wood outside wall. 4 inches of insulation and then more wood wall. They were pretty warm. We also during the day hung strips of towel over the door. They could walk through it easy to get out but it kept some of the chill out till the doors were closed. I also saved bags of leaves in the fall and had them around out outside of the coop. Not for more insulation but to store so I would have stuff to throw onto the snowy ground so they could enjoy the sun and not freeze their undersides. I also kept a heat lamp running for them inside the coop. It has a cage around it and is securely bolted in place to keep everyone safe. It started to look like a massively huge brooder box. I kept my vents open and just hoped this was sufficient.
  4. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    What part of the country do you live in? I live in middle TN and mostly the winters are fairly mild, but we have had several weeks of single digit or even below 0 weather before. I plan on wrapping my run with a tarp that goes all the way to the ground. I have a tarp over the top now to keep the rain out. I may use the clear plastic for solar warming. My run is under trees, so it has shade in the summer, but will get sun when the leaves drop. I will also block off the big vent in the front of the coop, either totally or partially. There should still be enough ventilation from the 4" gap of the roof eaves. I also plan on running an extension cord with a drop light to put inside the hole of a concrete cinder block and set their waterer on it to keep the water from freezing. If I get a chance I may make the Christmas tin light thingy also for their plastic waterer. I will use the metal waterer in their run and the plastic one inside the coop. Mine free range all day now, but I don't know what they will do when it gets cold.
  5. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Songster

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    I am in southern NC, close to the SC border..... It does get cold, not as bad as the north, have thought about purchasing another outbuilding and placing the coop inside that. I do like the idea of the heated panels that attach to the wall of the coop....

    There is already a couple of tarps coveing the roof of the smaller run, I'll probably keep them in there over winter or let them out in to the larger run when it is dry and we have some warmth. But having Barred Rocks they are a northern breed so should be fairly cold hardy I would have thought.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    The best winterizing step I've ever taken was to start deep litter. I haven't had a frost bit comb since doing that. I also plastic my windows but the coop itself has some pretty large cracks in the walls and I leave the pop door open all the time, day and night.

    Barred Rocks are a pretty winter hardy bird, so don't worry about that single comb.
    We had the worst winter we've had since the 70s this year and my chickens did great, even when they had to stay inside the coop for 3-4 wks because the snow was so deep.

    Be careful with all the insulating and heating if you do not have good ventilation...this is a recipe for high humidity.
  7. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    hi galvinandallison, I don't think you need to heat your coop where you are. You'd be surprised at how tolerant chickens are of cold. You do have to think carefully about ventilation though. Look at this thread for a thorough discussion: https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION Insulation is a good idea too. Does it get cold enough where you live that water freezes overnight?
  8. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I would insulate first, then see if supplemental heat is really necessary (unless you live someplace really, really cold, or have cold sensitive bantam breeds, it probably won't be necessary). I'd insulate the roof first because that's where you'll be losing most of your heat.

    Make sure there are no gaps in your walls where drafts can come in, particularly at chicken roost level. Vents up high at the top of the wall can be left open or partially open for ventilation, which as others here have mentioned is critically important even and especially in the winter to prevent frostbite.
  9. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Songster

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    Can i just insulate the roof of the run, and the use bales of straw around the outside of it, so that there will be a 2 ft space around the hen house which opens up in to our inner run area. I was planning to just raise the roof of the henhouse a little just to assist ventilation through the holes already cut in the house. The girls are tame enough to allow me to use petroleum jelly on their combs.
  10. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    Elmo was right, start with the roof of the coop. I wouldn't insulate the run at all. Straw bales would help dramatically around the outside of your coop (might want to change those out in the spring though). Being on the NC/SC border, you have a very mild climate compared to the midwest or the north and I think your birds will be content with insulation and a way to avoid cold drafts. Somebody correct me, but I can't imagine frostbite being a problem where you are. [​IMG] Your weather in Feb. would sound down-right tropical to someone in MI or WY.

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