Wisconsin Winter Feeding

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kneit099, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. kneit099

    kneit099 In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2011
    Hartford, WI
    Unfortunately, here in Wisconsin, mother nature likes to grace us with her wintery mix!

    Do you keep your feed and water in the coop or in the run during the winter?!?
    We're building a new coop and trying to build for winter friendly feeding.

    This is our first winter with our sweet flock!

    Any and all suggestions welcome [​IMG]
  2. mstricer

    mstricer Crowing

    Feb 12, 2009
    I always keep my feed year around in the coop, wild birdies like it too. As for the winter last year I left in the coop, I didn't have a heated dish or waterer. It makes a mess, I didn't have a poop board over it so you guess that one. This year it will be outside unless we are have one of those winters like last year, lots of snow, no let up, then I will leave it in the coop.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Across the big pond from you. Not really practical to feed and water outside, eh? Not when it is like this. [​IMG]

  4. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Definately search here and on you-tube for 'heated poultry waterer' - lots of great ideas (on the cheap!). I'm in northern Illinois and trying to re-configure the water system so it's less maintenance and more frozen-proof also! I'm not sure I'll ever get it 'just so'...gotta tinker with something 'round here. But do take into consideration prevailing winds - you don't want to be working in that or your birds fighting against it to get nourishment. Yes, there will be days they're stuck inside (especially breed dependent) - so you want to make sure they have everything they need - water, food, something to do (like hang a sunflower head just out of reach - or a lettuce head hidden in the litter). There might even be days it's difficult for you to get to them, unless your coop is directly outside your door! Plan accordingly in terms of foodstuffs on hand, size of waterers, etc.

    We have two water containers: one in the run as well as one inside the coop.
    We have a pvc feeder in the coop which holds pellets, and a homemade grit/oyster shell dispenser adjacent to the feed - so all are available indoors at all times.

    There are days I don't get the coop open until 8am - and if you've been up since 5:30, wouldn't YOU get hungry?! So it's all available and accessible to them first thing THEY wake up. Too many years of getting up with babies means I'm enjoying the sleep now, and no, I'm not getting up for the chicks!

    I do offer treats in the run, but that's so I can sit with them. I call it 'chicken bonding time'. They've also come to associate me with treats, so when I'm doing things for them/with them (like checking for bumblefoot), it's easier for all of us.

    Whatever you choose - make sure any roofing/covering will be sturdy enough for your average snow-load. The 6x8' roof section I just put up this fall is made with 2x6's and 4x4' posts...surely sturdy enough for our anticipated snow load. It will also help keep a portion of the ground available for 'scratching'. I'm planning on putting out sunflower seeds there once snow flies to encourage their continued foraging. It'll give them something to do.

    Also, our set-up is such that the coop is 15' from the back of the barn - their run is attached to the barn end with a door directly into the run from the barn. In REALLY bad weather, even if I cannot get around to the front of the coop, I'll be able to get into the run (via the barn) to give the chickens attention. The run is on the eastern side, typically down wind in winter gales, and I've attached 4x8 sheets of plywood against the fencing on the north side to give them even more protection from the winds.
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I always have the food and water in the coop. This keeps the food dry and away from wild birds or animals. In the winter I have heated water in the coop, which has electric.

    In hot weather, I also have water in the run and on the other side of the property, to make it easier for them to stay hydrated. Large bowls are easy to clean and refill with the hose, when I'm out in the garden.

    Are you planning on covering your run? That eliminates a lot of shoveling. As Life is Good! mentioned, you do need to make sure it will stand up to the snow load.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by