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  •  » Winterizing Coop - need input

#1 2009-11-30 15:56:35

SheriM
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From: Canora, SK
Registered: 2009-02-11
Posts: 188
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Winterizing Coop - need input

My coop is an old wooden grainery. It's not the greatest, but overall, it works.  With the mild temps we've had so far, the chickens are still eager to spend the day, or at least part of it, outside.  I'd like to give them this option as long as possible, so I'm thinking of building an "air-lock" of sorts inside the coop to keep the draft from blowing straight in through the pop door.  Think of it as a U shaped wall in front of the pop door so they have to go around a corner to get outside.  Will this be enough, or should I plan on locking them in and blocking the pop door completely when the weather does turn really cold?  The door faces south and is just a short distance from a dense stand of trees so the wind rarely, if ever, blows straight that way.


SheriM, Mountainport Farms, home to 50 some-odd goats, 4 Great Pyr. LGDs, 1 crazy Australian Shepherd, 2 cats, a rabbit, a chinchilla and a dozen chickens.  (Oh, and two humans!)

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#2 2009-11-30 16:27:28

shutt40
Growing Member
From: Coronado AB
Registered: 2009-04-24
Posts: 125

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

That's the way mine is set up and it works for me. You loose a little heat but gain some fresh air.
I don't open the door on very cold days, they won't go out anyway.

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#3 2009-11-30 16:36:27

d*****
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Registered: 2008-11-08
Posts: 2925

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

I have a chicken door on the east side and one on the west side of my coop. If it is to breezy from the east I open the west side, they have a choice should they decide to go out.

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#4 2009-12-01 14:05:40

SheriM
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From: Canora, SK
Registered: 2009-02-11
Posts: 188
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Thanks for the input, everybody...even you, Ranchcookie, although that's not really an option, considering I moved FROM somewhere warmer. :D
As for ventilation, I'm wondering about that, too.  Because this was a grainery, there are two openings about 2 ft square, one above the door and one in the opposite wall.  They are high up, in the peak of what would be the attic area if this thing had a ceiling.  I've had those open all summer and was thinking I should leave them open in the winter, too.  Because of where this building is in my yard, it rarely, if ever, gets wind directly from that side so I don't think they will create an actual draft, but I'm wondering if the openings are too large...if they will let too much heat escape.  The coop is about 11 x 14 and houses only 7 or 8 chickens, so their body heat isn't going to do much to begin with.  The openings have trap doors that slip into place to close them up and I was thinking of attaching these to make them into proper doors.  That way, I could open them part way, all the way or close them up tight if need be.


SheriM, Mountainport Farms, home to 50 some-odd goats, 4 Great Pyr. LGDs, 1 crazy Australian Shepherd, 2 cats, a rabbit, a chinchilla and a dozen chickens.  (Oh, and two humans!)

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#5 2009-12-01 17:08:12

LynneP
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From: Nova Scotia
Registered: 2009-08-08
Posts: 3135
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Sounds like the overhead ventilation is more than adequate- can you close it in whole or partly during a blizzard?  It's funny you should mention a wind-baffling porch, hubby and I were discussing that yesterday as we measured the barn for our second coop space.  Another thing you can do is build a solid barrier inside the pop door if the design allows, or an interior and exterior porch- good for summer shelter, too and for keeping birds dry on those days when mud get dragged all over the place.  People who use formergraineries seem to like them, they tend to be well-made and adaptable.  Another optoin is interior huddle boxes for those impossibly cold days.  :goodpost:


Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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#6 2009-12-02 13:08:31

SheriM
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From: Canora, SK
Registered: 2009-02-11
Posts: 188
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

LynneP, I'm seriously considering a huddle box, too, and it looks like those impossibly cold days may be on their way.  It's supposed to go down to -25 later in the week and, just like the rest of us, the chickens have been spoiled by our so far mild winter.  They aren't gonna be ready for the deep freeze that's coming.


SheriM, Mountainport Farms, home to 50 some-odd goats, 4 Great Pyr. LGDs, 1 crazy Australian Shepherd, 2 cats, a rabbit, a chinchilla and a dozen chickens.  (Oh, and two humans!)

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#7 2009-12-02 14:41:33

LynneP
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From: Nova Scotia
Registered: 2009-08-08
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

I have a dozen birds too, and even with the coop insulated, it's not a lot of creature heat- may equivalent to a 120 watt bulb.  We don't get prolonged cold like you  but lat winter was an exception and it was brutal.  Everyone was fine though, no comb problems and I had an electric dog bowl for the water and a layer lamp on from 5 am - 8 am.  The coop is 9' x 11' with two platforms of 15 sq ft each and a roost, plus the nest boxes.  I thought they would huddle but never caught them doing that.  You'' have the brutal cold every year and the possibility of wind at the same time.  I think a huddle box is an excellent precaution, and I was giving more thought to your pop door, thinking some bales of straw might be a good interior porch for the pop door.  Would love to see pics:coffeebusy:


Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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#8 2009-12-02 14:54:34

d*****
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Registered: 2008-11-08
Posts: 2925

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

just another 90 days left :rofl:

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#9 2009-12-02 18:38:46

Dan Smith
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From: Calgary, Alberta
Registered: 2009-05-08
Posts: 4440
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Keep in mind that heat will always rise so if you have openings they should be at floor level ( in winter) and up high in summer when you are trying to remove heat from living area. Also remember that the poop is already on the floor so a breeze over the floor will carry away unwanted gases while drying the shavings and you will not loose your heat because it rises above the openings at floor level as long as the walls and ceiling are insulated and not drafty. I use this method and have been doing so for over 11 years now and it always works. You may have to experiment with the size of openings to have on the floor. A sliding type door works well so you can adjust the size of opening. If the openings are too small it will probably become too humid , sweaty and the shavings will not be dry and if the openings are too large then your floor area will become so cold that your floor water dish's will freeze. I use tip over pails in side up on cement cinder blocks, high enough so shavings don't easily get into the water and low enough so the birds can drink from them. In warm weather I have all watering containers outside as well as the feed.


Home to Black Copper Marans,Blue Copper Marans, Barnevelder's, True Ameraucana's, Welsummer's , Autralorp's, and Delawares ,four Doberman Pinscher's, three son's ( two still at home ) and a patient and loving wife.

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#10 2009-12-03 02:49:25

SheriM
Active Member
From: Canora, SK
Registered: 2009-02-11
Posts: 188
Website

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Dan Smith wrote:

Keep in mind that heat will always rise so if you have openings they should be at floor level ( in winter) and up high in summer when you are trying to remove heat from living area. Also remember that the poop is already on the floor so a breeze over the floor will carry away unwanted gases while drying the shavings and you will not loose your heat because it rises above the openings at floor level as long as the walls and ceiling are insulated and not drafty. I use this method and have been doing so for over 11 years now and it always works. You may have to experiment with the size of openings to have on the floor. A sliding type door works well so you can adjust the size of opening. If the openings are too small it will probably become too humid , sweaty and the shavings will not be dry and if the openings are too large then your floor area will become so cold that your floor water dish's will freeze. I use tip over pails in side up on cement cinder blocks, high enough so shavings don't easily get into the water and low enough so the birds can drink from them. In warm weather I have all watering containers outside as well as the feed.

I thought about leaving the pop door open as a way of bringing in fresh air, but I'm concerned it will be just too darn cold and drafty right down where the chickens are.  My coop isn't insulated, so the heat retention is going to suck, no matter what I do.  Even if it were insulated, the chances of keeping water from freezing without electrical means is somewhere on the far side of forget it.  I use a heated water bucket. We tried the dog bowl idea, but it didn't hold enough water.


SheriM, Mountainport Farms, home to 50 some-odd goats, 4 Great Pyr. LGDs, 1 crazy Australian Shepherd, 2 cats, a rabbit, a chinchilla and a dozen chickens.  (Oh, and two humans!)

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#11 2009-12-03 02:52:06

SheriM
Active Member
From: Canora, SK
Registered: 2009-02-11
Posts: 188
Website

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Lynne, I love the straw bale idea.  How quick and easy that would be!  Too bad no one around here makes small squares of straw anymore.  The only straw I could get my hands on this year was large round bales, which are fine for the goat barn, as I can bring them in with my tractor.  I might be able to scare up a couple of weathered hay bales from one of the neighbors, but I'll have to see.


SheriM, Mountainport Farms, home to 50 some-odd goats, 4 Great Pyr. LGDs, 1 crazy Australian Shepherd, 2 cats, a rabbit, a chinchilla and a dozen chickens.  (Oh, and two humans!)

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#12 2009-12-04 14:31:54

LynneP
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From: Nova Scotia
Registered: 2009-08-08
Posts: 3135
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Some great ideas here.
About the hay bales- are they the kind small enough to stuff into a used feed bag?
Maybe bales of peat moss would suffice?
Maybe a barrier made from wood is a more practical option, like the right-angle dog house idea from Fowler.
It's hard to get quality straw here, too, but when you can it's in small rectangular bales.
I got some a few years back and I keep them in the back of the loft to use sparingly!

Last edited by LynneP (2009-12-04 14:38:13)


Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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#13 2010-09-19 12:08:42

LynneP
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From: Nova Scotia
Registered: 2009-08-08
Posts: 3135
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Sheri, you could always make a tiny 'porch' just outside or inside  your pop door.  Baffling the wind brings significant results.


Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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#14 2010-09-19 12:44:44

klorinth
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From: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Registered: 2009-02-22
Posts: 1566
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Sheri,

Here is my version of what Lynne is talking about. This type of entrance forces the wind to try and move around at least one corner that is more then 90 degrees. Because of that it isn't able to "blow" in. Cold air gets pushed in but not with a lot of force. It also helps to keep the snow out. My coop is never actually closed. This door is always open as it is part of the ventilation. I don't recommend that for others, but it works here. The only reason I can do this in the dead of winter though, is because the S that the wind has to do slows it down a huge amount. Means the temps inside do not change quickly even when it is blowing outside. In fact it is quite comfortable in the day time.

http://i722.photobucket.com/albums/ww230/klorinth/Poultry/IMG_2979.jpg

Last edited by klorinth (2010-09-19 12:45:15)


Norrbottenspets, Akbash, Dark Cornish, Cuckoo Marans, Buff Chantecler, White Chantecler, Partridge Chantecler, Ameraucana, Beltsville Small White Turkey, Shetland and Texel Sheep.

"If there is a way to overcome the suffering, then there is no need to worry; if there is no way to overcome the suffering, then there is no use in worrying." Shantideva

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#15 2010-10-31 17:41:11

LynneP
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From: Nova Scotia
Registered: 2009-08-08
Posts: 3135
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

I'm going to steal and modify that porch, klorinth.  Our hens in the new coop will exit to a platform about 3' high, and using the right angle against prevailing wind should make a huge difference. On the ground a porch could also be made with straw bales.  I like how you are using the PalRuf to capture solar energy.  We have it on the roof of the runs.


Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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