Winterizing the coop

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
3,377
9,047
487
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
Waking up to a strange white world is a big change. It usually takes two or thee days for chickens that wake up to a strange white world to venture out into it.
Not waking up to it doesn't help either. The first time my chickens saw snow, it fell slowly and gradually over the course of the day. It slowly covered the exposed parts of the run, and I could see the chickens retreating further and further into the covered area. The snow really picked up at one point, leaving only a small corner of the run about 5x5 feet that was completely snow-free. All 5 chickens were crowded in that area, in the corner farthest from the snow, and not a single footprint on the snow even when it barely covered the ground! Of course, it was still a big change for them, but it was a very gradual change that I thought they'd get accustomed to over the course of the day. I thought it would be less traumatic than suddenly seeing everything white when they walk out the door. But nope... They pouted in that corner until I threw a bag of leaves on top of the snow. Then they were fine. They are very familiar with snow now but still refuse to set foot on it. The most they'll do is stand on the edge of the dry area (or on the leaves), stretch their necks out to reach the snow and eat it! :he:lau
 

Sylavash

In the Brooder
Oct 16, 2021
10
25
46
Northwest PA on the NY border
Thank you all for the great answers and pictures. I understand a bit more now and will do my best not to over coddle my chickens.

I did close up a bit of the vents at top by the first poles because when I turn the porch lights on at night some of my hens play peekaboo over the top of the wall. They like the top rail which is about 8 inches from the top of the wall but about 20 from the ceiling. I'm leaving a little more vents on the far end away from the first polls.

Thank you Syl
 

jreardon1918

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
879
1,601
286
Southeast, MA
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you all for the great answers and pictures. I understand a bit more now and will do my best not to over coddle my chickens.

I did close up a bit of the vents at top by the first poles because when I turn the porch lights on at night some of my hens play peekaboo over the top of the wall. They like the top rail which is about 8 inches from the top of the wall but about 20 from the ceiling. I'm leaving a little more vents on the far end away from the first polls.

Thank you Syl
As others have said, the cold is unlikely to be a problem. Keeping raining and snow out of the coop could be an issue. We keep the windows and pop door open year round to give maximum ventilation. The temperature and humidity in the coop stay close to the outdoor temps and humidity . I would imagine western, PA and South East mass have similar temperatures. Here is a an article we did for the winterizing of our coop

Preparing the girls for winter
 

DRussell

Songster
Jul 28, 2021
120
504
146
Texas
Just put up tarp on my run on the Northwest side to keep cold winds from coming in. The North side is blocked by the coop, and east and south side are open. I have a tarp available for the east side if needed, but we are in Texas and usually don't have harsh winters. The tarp allows light thru. I am attaching pictures, for any suggestions...I did put air-conditioning vents on 2 windows on the north side to keep rain from blowing inside the coop...the other 2 windows just have the screen, and their door is open in the coop to run.
 

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Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,455
37,119
933
Belding, MI
I used heavy duty tarps over the top of my run last year, and they kept it dry. I put clear shower curtains over the prevailing wind side (west), and wrapped it about 3' around the NW and SW corners. They had a nice wind break and usually snow free ground, so they came out almost every day. The stayed inside when we got a below zero cold snap that lasted about 3 days.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,455
37,119
933
Belding, MI
I forgot to add:

I took some thin spun polyester material (sold as a filter material) and put it over the west side opening in my coop. It cuts the breeze, but is not air tight. I also put the same thing over the openings to the south and north that are close to roost level, and over the bottom half of the larger openings that are above roost level.

This way any breeze is only up at the top of the coop, about a foot above the chickens' heads. There is some air exchange from the lower openings, just not a draft.

The breeze from the lower openings was wonderful last summer when it got hot.
 

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