winterizing the coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lionpearl, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. lionpearl

    lionpearl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2008
    Hi, I have chickens for the first time in about 20 years and live in the Northeast and was wondering how you guys winterize your coops? I plan on doing the deep litter method but want to know what the rest of you do, are your coops insulated? Any ideas would be appreciated. I know myself and if it gets really cold I will have them in the garage just so I won't worry about them.lol I also know rhode island reds do well in the cold and chickens in general do better with the cold than heat. But you do have to watch out for frozen combs. I have to insulate the coop with something and am looking at what you seasoned chicken lovers do. Thanks. lionpearl
     
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    We use part of our old barn for hen house, so we have a huge area inside the birds can "forage" in when wind chills and temps make it dangerous for people to be outside. Our birds will go out in winter, but won't stay out long if too windy or too cold, especially if there is no green outside.

    We have insulated the outside walls near the roost areas. If you can't afford to use insulatation, putting up plastic sheeting will help.

    - first install a thermometer inside at the level of your birds so you know what the temp is at their level
    - on a windy wet day, sit on the floor inside and feel for drafts and seal what you can
    - make sure you have adequate ventilation near the roof so condensation and humidity don't build
    - deep litter - we start piling in late October and add more straw and wood shavings every week until Memorial Day or June 1st (depending on our weather) and then clean out the hen house
    - straw bales along the walls help block drafts at floor level if kept indoors can be used for deep litter bedding
    - snow piled up on the outside walls helps do the same
    - heated waterers or lamp over the water when temps inside hit freezing
    - good nutritious feed
    - plenty of clean water
    - hay or greens inside when there is no grass outside for forage
    - make sure windows can close tightly or be left open without causing a draft on the birds
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  3. lionpearl

    lionpearl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2008
    Hi, thanks for your input. I do have a thermometer there now because in the summer I was concerned about the heat. I will take your tips and incorporate them. Does anyone one know what temp. they can handle? Thanks again, lionpearl
     
  4. I plan on the deep litter method as well. I dont plan on insulating the coop though. Just lowering the ceiling, and producing a light in the early am for egg laying purposes. The breeds I have (sexlinks) should be just fine for this area. They can keep each other warm.
     
  5. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    We have one Rhode Island Red hen. She was injured as a chick and has bouts of what appears to be asthma when the weather is really damp or brutally cold. She is one of ours that refuses to go out when we have 4 or 5 feet of snow on the ground, the wind chills are nasty or it is well below freezing outdoors. (I don't want to go out then, either, so I don't mind) [​IMG]

    We try to keep the hen house temps above freezing, which isn't always possible. We have put a small space heater in the barn when the weather is brutal, but that was more for me warming my hands while filling waterers than for the flock.

    Our hen is over 2 years old and has never had any frostbite issues on her comb, wattles, feet or legs. Aside from the injuries as a chick already mentioned, Patsy is one of our healthiest birds, calm and friendly. She lays beautiful, very large, brown eggs.

    As long as you can get rid of the drafts and make sure you have adequate ventilation and provide good feed and clean water, I'm sure your birds should do well.

    Our flock is completely spoiled and they love warm buttermilk mixed with their feed in winter as well as warmed grains. [​IMG]
     
  6. lionpearl

    lionpearl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2008
    Thanks for your input also. We do have ventilation on the top of the roof and we will lower the ceiling also by putting something on the eaves that are there. I actually call it the chicken palace, lol. Plenty of room for 6 chickens with 2 windows, ventilation, and a little door to open and a walkway for them to go out into their protected pen. I have a very handy boyfriend. I forgot to ask what greens can you give them in the winter. I am all ready thinking of that. They love their weeds and grass. lol. They can be very funny. One day I walked out into the back yard and thought I heard something in the woods and my body language was all on alert I guess. I didn't say a word but looked over at the chickens who were all standing like statues with their ears cocked my way. I can only laugh when I think about it because I never expected them to react to my body language, I never said a word. They only started moving again when they saw I wasn't concerned anymore. lionpearl:D
     
  7. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    lionpearl, sounds like you already got a good start to winter.

    For greens, cabbage, kale, spinach, romaine, swiss chard, and you can sprout grains and feed them the sprouts. Timothy, alfalfa, clover, plantain, purslane are all good. You could even put them in pots indoors. I put my herb garden in containers in the barn during winter. The first year with chickens, I found out this was a BIG mistake! The flock ate the parsley, basils, oregano, thyme, sages, sorrel, tarragon, garlic chives and rosemary. I had to start over with the herbs the next spring [​IMG]

    Our flock hangs out with our Great Pyr and if he starts barking, they all run for cover, as they are sure he is chasing away hawks. They are funny! Looks like you are having similar experience...... [​IMG]
     
  8. lionpearl

    lionpearl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2008
    Hi thanks will print it out and keep it on hand. I could grow sprouts also but would have to hide it from my cats, lol. I guess this winterizing thing is a work in progress and trial and error. It is not only the chickens comfort level but my level of worry warting , lol. lionpearl:D
     
  9. bearzhere

    bearzhere New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2008
    pa
    I have lowered ceilings and I store hay up there for most of the winter so it helps with the insulating. I also use lights , I hang one in each coop, it helps alot.
     
  10. drliz

    drliz New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2008
    Hi I have a Chick n Barn by Ware. Does anyone know if it is possible to put some kind of light in there or is it too small? It's about 4ftx4ftx3ft And if so, what kind of light would work? Thanks
     

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