1. Mikee1948

    Mikee1948 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    I've read some posts on winterizing the coop and run. I placed two small roof type vents in my coop to aid ventilation in the warm weather. They are about 3 by 10 inches. Would you reccomend sealing them with plastic for the winter? Also, how much snow will they stand in, literally? My run is about 6 by 12 feet, and was wondering if I should cover with a tarp. Their food source is about four feet from the door, and is covered. Or just put the food inside? And I was planning on putting in a heated water supply in the coop. Coop is about 4x4 ft with a sloped roof, from 30 inches to 24 inches.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It helps to know more accurately your location in giving guidance.

    You cannot, should not block off your ventilation in the roof. The vapors, which can be strong, ammonia laden and humid, must vacate the coop. That is ventilation= the gasses rising and exiting. Drafts are gaping holes, cracks and seams down in the siding and doors that let the wind whistle right in and blow on the chickens.

    I have to feed inside, because we get days and days when the chickens are snowed in.
  3. Fowel Frenzy

    Fowel Frenzy Out Of The Brooder

    May 24, 2011
    I think the first thing to know is your climate and then are your birds hardy for that climate? Act accordingly.

    I live in a colder zone (Wyoming) so I made sure to install only cold weather hardy birds. I do not heat the house, afterall they are all wearing down coats, but I do ensure that they have adequate protection on all sides from wind/snow and rain as well as sun(summer) and vermin (lol). I have 17 chix & 3 ducks that occupy my hen-house and they produce a fair amount of body heat among themselves but if you only have a couple you may need to add a bit of heat if shared body heat isn't an option in COLD climates. Again, you will need to assess this yourself. Ventilation, even in the winter is critical, natural gasses need to be allowed to escape, amonia etc. but excessive drafts, gaping holes and the like should be covered. for pests as well as wind and cold. Your roof vents should be fine as long as they have caps to prevent precipitation from falling down through them. I place straw or shavings down inside the hen house and bank it up where the house meets the ground to help minimize drafts. I also scatter some around the outside run area so that they dont have to stand on ice/snow. They think this is a food treasure hunt...love it (bonus) The wind direction is often from the NW so I covered that end of the run with a tarp and secured it in multiple spots to help create a wind break. Fresh, fluid water is critical, a heated dish or tank heater is important.

    Hope this helps you get started winterizing..I will be anxious to see what others do for their brood. Good luck![​IMG][​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  4. Mikee1948

    Mikee1948 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    Here is my set up. The far side faces west. I am thinking of enclosing that side and a portion of the top with a tarp to cut down wind and snow in the run. Maybe some straw on th eground so they can get to the feeder. Any input is welcome.

  5. Snack Giver

    Snack Giver Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2011
    personally, I would use corrigated plastic on top. Let the rain run off.
  6. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    If you can tarp off the West side (the long side) as well as the North side (short side furthest from coop), that would eliminate some wind - and therefore some blowing snow or rain. I'm placing straw bales alongside my coop sides (it's 20" off the ground) after the third hard frost (thinking early November here in Illinois). I don't wish vermin to join my hens for the winter! This will help with drafts under the coop, as well as providing some extra supplies for when I need more straw in their run!

    Because our coop is behind our barn, the barn protects the western section of the run. So just today, I pulled down some old barn doors to cover the northern edge of the run. This way, the north and west are protected from harsh winds. As for snow, I've got to replace their plastic tarp covered section with pvc plastic roofing (think greenhouse). That's the next project after buttoning up our own home (removing screens and replacing with storms!). If you've got some plywood sheets hanging around, you might put a section on the outside of the run just next to the coop on the west wall (screw it to outside 4x4's). This way, that section is protected really well.

    I agree with the other poster - pvc roofing will help you a lot - at least the section closest to the coop. If you're in a seriously snowy region, put lattice or 2x3's down first, then the pvc, then the pvc won't bend so much (and lattice this time of year is cheap!)

    I'd move the water to where it's easiest for YOU to refresh. Yes, heated water bowls work great - but remember, the heat also increases evaporation, which means refilling it more frequently. Personally, last late spring, I was refreshing water 3x/day - but they were chicks and made a mess of it quick too! Hoping that now they're older means less refills! And whatever sort of electric connection you have - make sure that's waterproof also! Don't want to find out the water's frozen because the plug got wet with rain/sleet/snow and threw the breaker.

    As for food location, you might wish to put it closer to the door. Inside if you can - just because then there's no chance of it spoiling due to getting wet. Darn stuff's too expensive to let go to waste.....

    Hope these tips help you. Again, depending on your flock, and your location - prepare as best you know how and see what happens.
  7. Mikee1948

    Mikee1948 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    Do you just lock your hens in so they can't get out in bad weather? The coop door has a latch, and I'm thinking if they have food and water inside, they won't want/need to go out. Thanks for all the suggestions.
  8. SouthDakotan

    SouthDakotan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Your question brought back memories for me (I'm almost 50) of my aunts always locking their hens in at night (regardless of season) and releasing them in the morning once they felt it was weather suitable. The Hen house was large enough for the flock to stay in all day, if needed and they had feeders and water fountains for them inside also. But if the weather was suitable, they were free range for the day.

    As for myself, I'm not on a farm, so mine have the option of going to a large run or a small "winter" run. If its winter with all the snow drift issues and arctic winds, I keep them confined to their three sided "winter" run that only opens to the south with a wire panel. It allows them sunning, but keeps them protected from the extreme winds. If it really gets windy & cold, I'm able to place a panel of reclaimed window that allows in light, but reduces the drafting to a minimum.

    I also have to close mine in every night, regardless due to skunks. Once they find your coop, its hard to deter them unless you have made it truly fort knox and they NEVER get in. I had a skunk so determined he even started moving brick that was along the fence line, trying to be able to dig under. I fortified the barrier by digging a "ditch" system that I poored broken up cement hard wall-plaster that had been taken from our 1840s house. Then buried the ditch over with a small amount of dirt and then paved with brick to mainly make it look nice and keep weeds from growing at fence edge. The skunk was NOT happy when he hit the shards of plaster! But it did the trick. I'm looking for more construction shard material currently to create more parameter mote systems for expanded yard areas and aviaries. I've got access to a potter and will also ask people for glass bottles, etc. They can all find new life as barrier patrol items, in my opinion. They won't be at the surface, so no one will get hurt (that I'm not wanting to have discouraged).

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by