Winterizing

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by Darkhairmama, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Darkhairmama

    Darkhairmama New Member

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    I live in south jersey and we can have pretty nippy winters. So far the temps in the mid to low 30's. I have put up heavy plastic up around the outside of my run. Is there anything else I should do to keep the girls warm. I also been using the litter method for the roost. Should I keep the food and water in the roost?
     
  2. Lissa

    Lissa Junior Member

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    I also live in central NJ. I have been struggling with this too. Everything I have read says they are cold hardy (but I still worry about my smaller bantam/less cold hardy breeds). Some say to heat the coop and others say no. Just read the thread under beginners forum called "chickens in winter". It has some good information. I have been coating combs with vaseline this past week since temps have dipped into 20's. I keep food in coop but keep water outside coop (mainly bc they kept spilling it or getting litter in it) in run and change it out several times a day bc it has been freezing but I have a heated dog bowl/extension cord ready for when I am not around all day. Chicken magazine says to give scratch in the morning and early evening which is supposed to help them stay warm. I also have been giving them warm mush/oatmeal in the morning too. Spoiled!
     

  3. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    Chickens are a very hardy critter ... Just a fact.

    Till we as humans interven. (IMO) If you add heat to the coop via lights, lamps and/or a heater, what would then happen if you have the power go out in the middle of a storm? Now not only do you need to think about keeping you and yours warm but also the chickens.

    I have watched as 4 horses were kept in a thermostat controlled barn till the owner pasted over and they were sold, giving them a dose of the real world and the weather that comes with it. (it was not pretty) Two of them passed within 2 weeks and the other two made it but it was a long hard road. (and maybe that is the reason I stand where I do on heating a coop/barn)

    Give them a place to get out of the wind, rain and/or snow. Give them food, water and grit.

    Again this is IMO :)
     
  4. RandR

    RandR New Member

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    I'm in Minnesota and so far my chickens have been fine. The coop is insulated (but not heated) and the temps have been dipping into the negatives with wind chill. During the day it's been single digits but the chickens still hang out in the run rather than in their warm(er) coop. I've been told each chicken gives off about 60 watts of heat so they cuddle up and keep each other warm. =)
     
  5. Darkhairmama

    Darkhairmama New Member

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    Thank you for all the very useful information. I've made vegetable soup I just feed to them when it's really cold. So no one has a problem with the plastic around the run?
     
  6. chickflick

    chickflick New Member

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    The plastic will protect them from the wind. It's good.
     
  7. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    Our last wind storm blew the plastic off. I had about 100 staples in it too. Back to the drawing board I guess.
     
  8. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    I keep losing the plastic on my strawberries. Lol
     
  9. dragon_lady

    dragon_lady New Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I live in Nova Scotia raising my first ever flock of six layers and one roo.

    We insulated the coop and have added tarpaulin around 2 sides and over the roof, then plastic around another side leaving the outer gate uncovered.

    My flock are quite hardy and happily live in a run and coop that is well protected from the icy winds and snow that we are having, although they refuse to come out to free-range in the snow lol!

    I feed them crumb in the mornings in the run. Their water is also in the run and I have had to raise the water feeder up off the run floor as they kept filling it with wood shavings and droppings! It works nicely raised up on an up-ended 8 inches high log.

    The flock enjoy treats each afternoon which vary eg natural yoghurt, kitchen greens, pumpkin or squash, oatmeal with dried fruits and sunflower seeds, dried millet grains, cooked rice.

    My 6 girls are all laying an egg each day even in icy wintry conditions, and thats with no additional heating in the coop.

    Hope that helps ;-)
     
  10. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    Strawberries, in winter....so jealous :)
     
  11. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    No. Strawberry plants that need to be protected from the cold. Strawberries in June. :)
     
  12. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    Well that makes more sense.
     
  13. CharlieEcho

    CharlieEcho Junior Member

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    Single digits; burrrr;

    My grandparents and parents raised chickens for the eggs, of course, and meat. They never had heated coops or waterers. They fed twice a day and watered as needed. We do too.

    Except; we have heated waterers so we cheat a little. If the power were to go out we would have to water as needed. We have a feed box in the hen house that we keep filled. It holds about three gallons of feed. That is our layer mix. We have another feeder we either leave in the barn or place outside, out of the wind, in the sunshine, when possible. This feeder is filled with scratch and a mix of oats. If it's snowing or raining we leave it in the barn out of the weather. We have a "doggy style door" they can go in and out. We also have nesting boxes in the barn as well as the hen house. They use them all.

    Each morning when I open the hen house, I fill our rubber bowls and one rubber bucket with fresh water. These are heavy rubber bowls from the farm store. We have four ducks too. Both the ducks and early riser chickens use this fresh water until it freezes over in the cold. When we put the chickens and ducks up at night I fill a fresh bowl for the ducks in their won pen. It freezes over night of course. We turn the rubber bowls over and let sunshine melt the ice. The bowls are black rubber and a little sunshine makes the ice drop right out. So we alaternate bowls and buckets. We have four bowls and two buckets.

    We have a waterer in the barn and one in the hen house. Both have a heated base. We have each waterer placed on an old truck wheel. We place them on Webber grill grates over the wheel, so the chickens can hop up and get a drink. It keeps the waterer and water cleaner longer. Both waterers hold about two gallons. The use the one in the hen house the most of course.

    We have a timer in the hen house that turns a 40 watt light on about two hours before sun-up. We adjust the timer to keep up with the changing time. Not too much heat from that bulb I don't think. It's surprising though how much warmth you can feel coming from the waterers on these cold days.

    About the horses mentioned in an earlier thread and other animals. I'd just read in a news article that show horses are kept in lighted heated buildings so they will not grow a winter coat. For showing it's less desirable to have the long coat. I can see how the loss of those lighted and heated buildings would be detrimental to the horse or other animals that normally adapt to the cold on their own.

    I think a place out of the weather, wind, or a place to bask in the sunshine, when there is any in winter, and food and water will do them just fine. We have twenty-five hens and get a dozen eggs average a day. Plus one duck egg.

    Long post for me.:eek:
     
  14. TheLazyL

    TheLazyL Member

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    Coop is not insulated but it is draft free. South widows are open 2” at the top. Chicken door is left open 24 x 7. Roof ridge is open.

    Back wall of run is covered with steel roofing. I threw a tarp over the run to keep the majority ofthe snow out. Floor is 100% sand. Feeder and heated waterer are both in the run.

    Monday it was 19 degree F and the 8 Buff Orpingtons hens and the 1 roosterwere scratching in the run like it was summer.

    They are 7 months old and averging 5 or 6 eggs daily.
     
  15. Mamachickof14

    Mamachickof14 New Member

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    Sounds like you all are doing well so far this winter. I was a little worried after hearing the temp tonight would be 5* Its raw!! (here in New York) I locked them all in for the night with food and water so they are all ready to go at 2:30 am when the lights go on. Between the light bulb and 14 hens I pray they will be OK. I don't know if you read it on one of my other threads but my girls combs were sticking to the stainless steal water and feeder from the cold...when they pulled away it was making their combs bleed! I ended up wrapping hand towels around the feeders and masking tape them on...its working!! I get between 12-14 eggs every day...bless their hearts! Jen
     
  16. Darkhairmama

    Darkhairmama New Member

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    So the plastic has been awesome to the girls. They have protection from the freezing winds. But I'm worried about them at night. It's been dropping to 9 at night with a wind chill of 0 or 1. What do you do?
     
  17. realsis

    realsis New Member

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    Hi this is a great subject. I'm new at raising chickens, mine are all in the house as they are too little yet for the coop.but we had a good rain, still raining, and I checked on the coop and It leaks!! To my horror! I'm going to have to do some improving myself. I'm going to shingle the roof and use plastic over the run in winter. I'm worried about the cold. also the wet. I'm going to buy when I can afford it some plastic roof like tin siding but plastic. That might help also. I have cool winters and extremely hot summers so I'm going to have to get it figured out soon! It's one thing to be cold but mixing cold with wet is deadly. So I really have my work cut out for me! I'm going to make darn sure it's dry before they go to that coop! I love reading what others do, it gives me such good ideas! I'm definitely using plastic for part of the protection. Let us know how and what you decide to do to keep the coop a bit warmer. Best of luck to you!
     
  18. coilcove

    coilcove Junior Member

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    What part of MN? We ae just in the planning stages, with our target of this spring. How many chickens do you have and what size coop?