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Winterizing the coop. Have questions....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JNorth, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. JNorth

    JNorth Chirping

    Mar 7, 2012
    Western New York
    This will be our first winter with chickens. Our coop is a good distance from the house and we are planning on running electric out to a heat lamp inside the coop, if needed. When DH built the coop he insulated all of the walls, except for the door. The door is a 2-in-1... big door for cleaning and human access with a smaller opening for chickens when the door is closed. There are also three vents, one on either side at the top that are small and one long skinny vent that runs along the entire face of the coop just above the hatch for the nesting boxes. We use sand as the floor of the coop.

    Here are my questions:
    1. How can we winterize the door? Will chickens go through a "flap" of fabric if we cover their access hole? I was thinking that I could cover the entire door with fabric/tarp and cut the sides where the access hole is (and add some weight to the bottom)to make a flap.
    2. How many of the vents need to be left open during the winter? The long one is going to be closed for sure. We have plexiglass cut to fit each of the vents so that we don't lose any light.
    3. Will hay on top of the sand be enough "insulation" on the floor? We use hay in the nest boxes already.
    4. Do we need to heat the coop? We are located in Western NY, winters can get harsh if the lakes decided to kick up the snow consistently.
    5. If we do need to heat the coop.....We saw these: http://www.tractorsupply.com/thermo-cube-reg-thermostatically-controlled-outlet-2170275 at TSC. Would it be better to use this to control the heat lamp or is plain old timer better

    Here is a pic of or coop (wasn't quite "cosmetically" finished yet):

    You can see the one long "vent"/window in the front above the nest boxes and the vent at the peak of the roof (it's the same on the other side).
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  3. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Those chickens will do perfectly fine without a heatlamp. They don't need it, all you are doing is running up your electric bill and creating the possibility of starting a fire in the coop(Every year, we read about that here on this site) Also, the birds need to acclimate to the weather, and the heatlamp prevents that. I would run electric out to the coop to keep the water fount ice free. I use the cookie tin heater for that myself. With eight chickens in there, I would be careful with how much of that ventilation I block off. Sometimes during the winter, the birds may be stuck in the house for days, or weeks. You don't want them stuck in there with poor ventilation. You could end up with sick, or even frostbit birds. It looks like the vent slots are high up on the coop, and may be no problem left as they are. If you do block off the vent slots, on cold days, if you see frost forming inside the coop, that is a sign of poor ventilation, and you need to get more fresh air into the coop. As far as the door goes, some people have installed flaps over the popdoor, and the chickens adapt to it. The pic below shows the winter ventilaton of my uninsulated and unheated coop. Open air coops like that were used up into Maine and Canada. The chickens are built to handle cold weather, they don't need much help from us.
    2 people like this.
  4. Chukarbuds

    Chukarbuds Chirping

    Jul 29, 2012
    Is there a way to know whether or not the ventilation is good in my coop before the freezing starts outside? Please explain?
  5. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Look at the two links Flockwatcher put up. They are full of good info.
    1 person likes this.

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