Winterizing Coop and Pen, NC Sandhills Version

3KillerBs

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Jul 10, 2009
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North Carolina Sandhills
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We've had a couple frosts, tonight we're expected to get our first hard freeze, and I had the day off so it was a good time to get the ladies' home ready for winter.

First, I hauled two Gorilla carts of dirty bedding out of the coop down to the compost area and gave them 4" of fresh shavings (in the permanent coop I'd throw them in the run, but this area will go back to lawn once we've built the new coop so DH doesn't want the heavy layers of shavings piled up there). Every couple weeks I toss in either some more shavings or some pine straw -- cleaning out about every 6-12 weeks depending on the conditions so we should be back to half-decent weather by the time I need to do it again.

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Next, I pulled the chick-tight inner fence of plastic garden netting since they're big enough now, at 22 weeks, to not just scoot through the electric netting. (Chipotle, the California White, might be able too, but she just flies over when she wants out).

Next, I morphed the pen to give them access to fresh grass and more winter sunshine.

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Finally, I set out some intact straw bales to act as wind baffles. This area can get storms from any direction so I laid them out to provide shelter from any direction.

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The only thing I'm lacking is a means of heating water so I'll just have to keep rotating out waterers when we get our few weeks of freezing-during-the-daytime weather.

BTW -- I know that horizontal nipples work with heated water, but do they break if they freeze in an un-heated waterer if one gets left out too long by accident?
 
I bet the flock loved all the change and new additions to keep them busy.
I'm not sure of the horizontal nipples without a heater, when I used nipples, I had a heater in the bucket.
 
I bet the flock loved all the change and new additions to keep them busy.
I'm not sure of the horizontal nipples without a heater, when I used nipples, I had a heater in the bucket.

One of the straw bales was "Free because the strings are coming loose -- if you can load it you can have it". They're busily engaged in spreading the straw around. :D
 
The guy in the warehouse said that anyone who wants to come with a pitchfork or a scoop shovel and clean the loose straw and broken bales out of the trailers is welcome to all they can haul.

I have no need of loose straw, but it's a great policy.
 
BTW -- I know that horizontal nipples work with heated water, but do they break if they freeze in an un-heated waterer if one gets left out too long by accident?

Many of the stock tank heaters keep the water just above freezing. We leave ours plugged in December-March. Nothing freezes. Each morning and evening we check the water station to make sure each nipple is working. The stock tank heater we use is shown in this winterizing article. Preparing the girls for winter
 
BTW -- I know that horizontal nipples work with heated water, but do they break if they freeze in an un-heated waterer if one gets left out too long by accident?
Ehhh....might, might not...more likely if anything is damaged it would be the vessel not the nipple itself.
 
Yesterday was nasty with constant cold rain and a moderate amount of wind. The sort of weather that's actually more chilling and uncomfortable than snow would have been.

DH was out in it working with a contractor at his workplace and then meeting with another contractor who was working on our house-in-progress. He reported that the ladies were making use of their wind baffles and I had just enough light left when I got home to see that they'd been digging in one of the sheltered areas.

I haven't discovered anything that needs to be adjusted yet.
 

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