Winterizing coop question


10 Years
May 16, 2009
Pecos, NM
I am thinking of ideas to winterize my coop. Right now I have a wire floor so everything can fall through. Winter is coming soon and I was wondering what the best way to make it warmer. I had thought of using a tarp to cover the wire and then putting wood chips on top. Another person told me to not use the tarp and just put straw. My only concern with the straw is if the hens will make their own nests instead of using the nesting boxes. What should I do or does someone have a better idea? Thanks
How about cardboard with pine shavings on it. You could pull it all out and compost it when it gets dirty. I still have hens that insist on laying on the floor instead of the nesting boxes so you may have a problem with that. Hope this helped and good luck.
I was thinking a piece of linoleum with a thick layer of pine shavings. Is there any ventilation?

How many hens do you have? How big is their coop? How low do the overnight temperatures reach where you are? Will they be coming out at all during the day?

I have a coop that is wire-bottomed (an open air coop for my "teen" chickies that aren't old enough to be out to free-range). I stack straw bales underneath, all around the perimiter of the coop to block any drafts, but still allow the poo to drop through the wire.
i have a coop with a wood floor but lets poop fall through and the whole front is open. that is all in a 8 x 8 dog kennel and all i do is put a tart on top and on the front of the kennel and then load the house with loose straw then put bales in front then i position a couple heat lamps on the sides and itsa like an oven. if it gets too cold, ill go nail a few pieces of plywood on the ends of the house and leave a small openiond in the middle.
Heat will kill them 10 : 1 over cold. I have seen coops with healthy birds in canada that are just sheds with one side open to the south. They do put straw in for bedding if it is too cold to roost. Ventilation, dryness, and no drafts where they roost far more important than any heat source.
We're in Nova Scotia, exactly at the middle of the temperate zone and this is what we did, with pictures-

Where is Ifield?

What is your winter like?

Here in MN, you couldn't keep a wire floor on a raised coop.

Would you be able to put in a plywood floor over the wire, just for winter? Or even under the floor?

I question if a tarp would be sturdy enough (and warm enough - again, don't know where you live) to line your floor with.

I'm a firm believer in deep litter. It's a nice insulator and they like to nestle down into it together to keep warm. By spring, my deep litter is almost 9 inches deep. Deep litter won't work with a wire floor though.
I live in the northern part of New Mexico. We have cold winters often but not too much snow. Lots and lots of wind though. I like a lot of the ideas you all have given. Thanks for your input.
If you get a lot of wind, you might want to consider a piece of plywood to cover the wire and put bedding on, instead of cardboard or tarp, both of which could be "bumped" into the air inside the coop by a sudden gust of wind the wrong way. Plywood will be heavier, more rigid, and if you wanted to shoot a screw or two through it it'd *definitely* stay put til you chose to remove it.

If you use cardboard (a very thick rigid grade), you might want to hit it with a staplegun in a few places.

Good luck, have fun,


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