Winterizing a small coop (7 chickens)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CaptainSamH, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. CaptainSamH

    CaptainSamH Chirping

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    We are newbies with a roughly 50 sq. ft. coop that we converted from just a basic outbuilding. The manner in which we got the birds was a bit rushed (to help out a friend who was in a pickle) so we did our best on the fly (and have modified over the course of the year) to put together a coop with a roost, three nesting boxes (which we think might be too small/not private enough because they've been laying in the corners on the floor/bedding), water, feed and grit/oyster shell stations.

    There is no insulation, three badly-installed windows (installed before we moved in) that are very drafty, some screened openings at the top that we have boarded over and the door to the yard that opens downwind. We have a red heat lamp that we only use when it's really cold. I'm sure there is loads of ventilation now, but I understand that draftiness is not the same as ventilation and can be a problem - we woke up to 2 dead leghorns last year (late winter/early spring) kind of out of the blue and someone told us they are particularly susceptible to wind. They also said mentioned that they keep their coop warm enough by wrapping it on three sides in the winter (with stuff like the plastic wrap they use for pallets of bulk products).

    So I'm wondering - given that this is the first winter for most of our flock (they are about 27 weeks), one of them is a leghorn, and one is currently fighting some unknown illness - if I should slap up some plastic around the coop (probably a half day's easy work) and remove some of the boards covering the upper screened-in openings to ensure some ventilation (without wind blowing directly on the birds, which it currently does from the windows).
    Thanks!
     
  2. Ratchnick

    Ratchnick Chirping

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    Certainly you don't want drafts on the roosts. And one sqft of vent per bird i think is typical, moisture and wind make cold air feel colder.
     
  3. CaptainSamH

    CaptainSamH Chirping

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    So maybe I just need to plastic over the windows... they're really bad, you can stand there and feel the air pouring right in and it's at the same level as the roost bar.
     
  4. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Crossing the Road

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    I would cover the windows and reopen all the upper vents.
     
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    How cold does it get where you're at? You definitely don't want cold air gusting across the roost bars, but there still needs to be ventilation open during the winter.
     
  6. Ratchnick

    Ratchnick Chirping

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    In wisconson i'm guessing -20f and wind?
     
  7. Manhen

    Manhen Songster

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  8. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    Wrapping the coop in plastic is generally a bad idea.
    Pictures of your coop, inside and outside, will help a lot.
    It's also very helpful if you could put your general location in your profile so that information displays with every reply.
    How cold are we talking here?
    You do not want drafts across the roost space, this is true. But some leakage of air is good as you need plenty of fresh, dry air coming into the coop moving out damp, stale air. You just don't want to see feathers moving in the wind.
     
  9. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Crossing the Road

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    Yes pictures of your coop would help. :)
     
  10. CaptainSamH

    CaptainSamH Chirping

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    I'll go add to my profile, but we are upstate NY. Just starting to get frost at night. It's been chilly a little earlier this year, but we expect a winter with 20's at night and 30's during the day.
    I think the advice of focusing on the windows and reopening those vents up high (a good 3-4 feet above the roost bar) is what we're going to work on this week - by Friday when it's supposed to be in the low 20's (which is a little bonkers before Thanksgiving). I've also got to spend the week convincing my 5-year old to put on her coat in the morning :/.
     

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