Winterizing Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cheeptrick, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. cheeptrick

    cheeptrick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Well, its that time again and we will soon be getting our babies ready for a rough New England winter. I am curious just how most New England Chicken owners prepare their coops and chickens for the long winter. Since they will have limited ranging and choice of food what is the best way to keep them well and adequately nourished. Diet is not my only concern, readying the coop and run are also worrying me. We are constructing a new coop and will have 2 coops and 2 runs for them to alternate in. I've got the lamps from the brooder and bought heater bases for the water font. Also, will the chickens be safe out in the snow in the run? Or do most just lock them down for the winter in the coop? Am I missing anything?
     
  2. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    6,967
    22
    291
    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    I just read a very interesting article and plan on using it myself this winter though, here in Missouri, we usually get small amounts of snow but mostly ice storms. Anyway, it said to purchase spoiled large round bales of hay and put them in your run and unroll them. Keeps the chickens up off direct contact with the mud/icy ground and gives them some seeds to forage all winter. sounds like a logical idea to me. I think it was one of the poultry magazines that I read it in. I will have to find it again to be sure.
     
  3. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    I do not go crazy over it. Years ago chickens survived just fine without heated coops etc. I make sure my coops are dyy,draft free,lots of hay or straw for them to cuddle in should they get cold. The doors on their coops have screen and I cover them with plastic to keep out the cold wind at night when I lock them up. Last year I purchased heated dog bowls for their water and they worked great, all I had to do was run an extension cord from the barn to the coops. I do feed them cracked corn with their pellets for warmth in the winter.
    I open their coops everyday no matter what and most times they will go out whether snow or ice. They go back and forth and if it is a cold rain they know enough to get out of it. I have never had a problem. Everyone needs to get out and get fresh air no matter what.
    My only problem last winter was a hawk and with the trees and bushes stripped of leaves they were easier to see. After lockdown in the pen of about a week he went to someone elses chickens.
    It's funny that you posted this becuase yesterday is was hot as hell here with the humidity so bad I wanted to die! I was out there thinking that soon I will have to be getting ready for winter and I do have someone coming to fix one of my coops, it is an old dog house and it needs a new roof and to be picked up off the ground as it gets wet inside. Last year I did not have any chickens go in that one but this year I might so I want it ready and dry.
    Summer is going by fast!
    Remember,dry,draft free, and plenty of unfrozen water and add the cracked corn to their winter diet, you should be all set.[​IMG]
     
  4. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    6,967
    22
    291
    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Standard Hen, you have a lot of common sense there. I was worried about my hen and her new chicks but my DH said leave her be, we didn't separate them when I was a kid. He said, she will take care of them and knows what to do. I do like the idea of unrolling a large round bale of hay in their run though. I was wondering what to do with the doors and windows come winter. I will put plastic up over the windows now and open their door each morning. thanks
     
  5. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Ozark hen, my chickens are pets but outside pets! They adapt just fine and it is all what they get used to. The roundbale idea sounds great, my pen is not huge but sometimes if there is alot of snow I will throw some hay down in there. They kick it all over the place and then it is another mess to clean up!
    The plastic I put over the screen doors is the clear heavy kind but I am sure anything will work as long as it keeps the wind out.
    My horses have acess to their stalls at all times, in the worse weather they will be standing outside! They love it. Yes, chickesn are more fragile but I have never had a problem and they know when to get out of the elements. By wintertime I do not have any chicks, they are already grown and have a little chicken sense I guess....lol The chicks would be a different story because they are so fragile but I do not have them in the winter.
    And your DH was right, let them be, the mom knows what to do!
     
  6. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    11,744
    17
    321
    Apr 6, 2007
    Iceland
    1-Drain out or treat any remaining fuel.
    2-Remove spark plugs and fog cylinders.
    3-Disconnect battery.
    Cover with a tarp or place in a dry garage or shed.


    Oh s**t. You said chickens. I thought tractor. Dang it.
    This won't work with chickens.
    [​IMG]

    Happy Days!!!
     
  7. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    6,967
    22
    291
    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    [​IMG] PurpleChicken, we don't winterize our tractor as we use during the winter on the driveway. [​IMG]
    Your are right Standard Hen.
     
  8. SandyC

    SandyC Chillin' With My Peeps

    This question has been on my mind too. I live in an area where a low of -22 in February is not unusual and the snow comes in ft...not inches. I need serious overwintering ideas!
     
  9. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    897
    1
    161
    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG] No, I guess it won't! Thank you for giving me that good laugh! Think I'll make supper now!
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2007
  10. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    6,967
    22
    291
    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Sandy C. just follow the advice of Standard Hen and keep several inches of pine shavings on the floor. They will be fine. I figure I can always put a small watt light bulb in there if need be and maybe it should be a red one so they can sleep at night. But I will only do that if the temp really drops. I should think your temp would be far below ours here.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by