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  •  » Winterizing Coop - need input

#16 2010-10-31 19:58:12

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

The Sunporch works very well for shelter and heat in all weather. I think it is making a huge difference in their ability to lay eggs. They can go "outside" even in the middle of the winter, no matter the wind, and enjoy the sun.

The "foyer" entrance was made out of some scrap wood that I had left over from the coop. The size and shape of the entrance is not exactly what I want but it does work. I had almost no snow blow in through it. There was more snow that came in through cracks around my door then through that big open entrance. I never closed it either. Day or night.

I am thinking about another design of both a sunporch and a foyer. I just need to work it out in my head first.


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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#17 2010-11-06 14:01:18

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

Well our snow boards are up for the season, and just as well.  Monster rain and wind storms blowing through but the chickens are dry.  We're getting 5 more days of the rains- but it could be snow!  :waiting:


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

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#18 2010-11-10 13:42:02

ooptec
Banned
From: Hafford, SK
Registered: 2008-05-25
Posts: 1047
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

hey,

IMHO insulating and draft proofing is a waste of time and money, deteriorates your coop in record time and is extremely detrimental to your birds.

People have a bad habit of projecting their comfort on animals. Just like my outside dogs are uncomfortable inside the warm house in the winter, I think that once your birds are winterized moving them from warm to cold screws them up. Also I have never heated a coop even in the coldest -40°c days and in 4 winters of chickens have lost 2 birds that I suspect were not necessarily due to the cold. They lay all winter w/the addition of a 100W bulb on a timer to augment length of day. I have had some frozen tips of combs but I think mainly that shorter combs are more my zone smart tho that being said it doesn't seem to affect them in the least.

I thought this guy summed it up nicely

Recently, I was shocked to learn that tightly closed, Nineteenth-century-style chicken coops are back in fashion, in spite of being unhealthy for your birds and foul-smelling, besides! I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, since there's something about Nineteenth-century superstitions that makes them immortal, but this one is particularly bad for your chickens.

The fallacy goes like this: "Chickens are delicate, hothouse creatures who can't stand the cold. So we will coop them up in tightly shut houses, so they won't catch cold from drafts, and will stay warm. Maybe adding a lot of glass windows will help keep the house warmer."

It's hard to decide which piece of nonsense to attack first. Chickens aren't delicate! They tolerate cold very well, snuggled under a warm coat of feathers and kept toasty by a high metabolism. Lots of people have had their chickens decide that they'd rather roost in pine trees instead of chicken houses, and such chickens usually are perfectly healthy all winter, even in harsh climates -- often healthier than their brethren back at the chicken coop. They don't lay well if exposed to so much weather, and it's hard to protect them from predators, but the outdoor lifestyle is good for them.

Like all birds, though, chickens have a secret weakness: bad lungs. Miners used to use canaries to detect bad air quality, and chickens are just the same. They'll be hurt by poor air quality long before we are. That means that tightly shut houses are unhealthy for chickens, because they have terrible air quality (with high levels of ammonia, for one thing). Such houses are also too damp, and may be too dark as well. Like humans, chickens don't "catch cold from drafts" -- that's a superstition.

Also, you can't keep chickens warm by keeping them in an unheated shed. It's going to be just as cold in an unheated chicken house as it is outside. (Okay, that's not quite true: In an insulated, crowded house, the chickens' own body heat can keep it warm. But for this to work, it takes a much larger flock than most of us have.)

All this was debunked a hundred years ago. The commercial poultry industry moved permanently to highly ventilated poultry houses. First they used open-sided houses, and now they use forced-air ventilation with giant fans to provide even more air movement.(and also to hide inhumane conditions on factory farms ala the movie food inc) The small-scale poultrykeepers adopted fresh-air poultry houses at first, but recently people seem to have lost their way, and are building dank, dark chicken dungeons again. Some of these houses are very expensive. I'd hate to see you make the same mistake, putting your best work into something that won't work out, and harming your chickens when you're trying to help them!

Also

The Classic Guide to Open-Front Chicken Coops For Healthier Poultry
by Prince T. Woods, M.D.
Norton Creek Press
http://www.nortoncreekpress.com
Introduction

To stay healthy, your chickens need plenty of ventilation—probably more than they're getting today. This was discovered over 100 years ago, but has been largely forgotten. Today's small-flock housing tends to be dank, dark, and smelly. Chickens, like miners’ canaries, are easily harmed by poor air quality. Wet litter breeds disease. Darkness forces chickens, like parrots, to be artificially inactive. “Dank, dark, and smelly” is a deadly combination!

Closed chicken houses are so harmful that knocking out a wall can cause an immediate improvement, even in winter. Chickens, after all, have a thick coat of feathers to keep them warm, but are vulnerable to poor air quality and pathogens in the litter; and their unwillingness to eat in the dark means they can starve in the midst of plenty. Fresh-Air Poultry Houses was written by Dr. Prince T. Woods, a noted poultry health expert. Dr. Woods describes not only his own poultry houses, but those of many of his clients, giving the book a breadth of experience that makes it a unique resource. This 1924 book is old-fashioned and a little eccentric, but in a good way. There are plenty of photographs, plus drawings showing the framing of each house, with construction notes in the text. He does not give the dimensions of every piece of wood, however, or provide lists of materials; you’ll have to figure these out for yourself. But it’s not hard. Knowing what you’re doing and why is the hard part, and this book will tell you that. This book was written before modern materials like plywood or metal roofing, but you will find that this hardly matters. Fresh-Air Poultry Houses tells you what good chicken houses are all about. Any modern introduction to building techniques will bring you up to speed on materials. So by the time you’ve read two books, you’ll have the best of both worlds, and a better knowledge of the whys and wherefores of chicken-house construction than practically anyone who hasn’t been dead for fifty years.

Fresh-Air Poultry Houses is a good example of the Norton Creek Press motto: “Most of the best books are out of print and forgotten, but we can fix that!” Check out our other offerings at http://www.nortoncreekpress.com.

Robert Plamondon
October, 2008

cheers

Last edited by ooptec (2010-11-10 17:49:41)

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#19 2010-11-10 14:36:15

FeathersforFun
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From: Essex County, ON, near Windsor
Registered: 2010-05-25
Posts: 1170

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Ooptec...good post.  We have an insulated trailer for the birds.  What would you recommend for that?  It has windows and vent holes and whatnot...right now we put plastic on the windows, leaving the vent holes around it open, but now I am concerned that it is too much.  We live by the Great Lakes and it is sooooo humid here all year long.  This is leaving me wondering just what to do...we are newbies at this.


Blue/Black/Splash Standard Wyandottes; BSW Turkeys, Leghorn/Exchequer Crosses and our Yummy Meatie Crosses.

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#20 2010-11-10 17:44:52

ooptec
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From: Hafford, SK
Registered: 2008-05-25
Posts: 1047
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

hey FFF,

I grew up in indy.

If were me I use the trailer for cold/dry storage and build/convert/drag/recycle in a 3 sided shed for the birds w/a pen on open side so you can confine when needed or keep babies contained for awhile (that is if you free range them)

cheers

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#21 2010-11-11 02:07:32

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

Good Post Ooptec!! :thumbsup:

Last year I had the big window for my coop closed. This window seperates the insulated coop from the sunporch. In the spring I pulled it out and I have left it out. Last winter I had a small amount of extra moisture in the coop that just didn't leave even with our really dry air. I'm going to leave the window out to increase the air flow and see how it goes. If it works well I might look at doing my next coop as a three sided and a sunporch on the front. I like the idea of maintaining the air quality and trusting in the birds ability to adapt. I will only keep breeds that are cold hardy though. I'm not cruel.


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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#22 2010-11-11 02:17:11

ooptec
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From: Hafford, SK
Registered: 2008-05-25
Posts: 1047
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

klorinth

Good plan, BTW I have guinea's that are from sub saharan africa where it never gets cool nevermind cold and they seem to be the tremendously cold tolerant, even w/the bare head/neck

cheers

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#23 2010-11-11 02:41:50

klorinth
I Love A.C.E.
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Registered: 2009-02-22
Posts: 1566
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

I've heard that from others as well. They are raised near me as well. Kind of makes sense considering how much feathers they have. Insulation is for hot as well as cold weather. I've hunted them in the sub-sahara and can confirm that they have to have protection against the heat.


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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#24 2010-11-20 16:38:22

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

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/LynneP/Barn%202008/Wintermods002.jpg

We haven't solved our pop door situation completely yet, but we did adjust the run on the windward side to create shelter outdoors and therefor baffled the wind that creeps into the raised pop door above the concrete foundation.  We used 6 ml vinyl, framed, and placed it above the red snow boards and also created similar frames for the new door to the run.  On the door the frames are fastened with butterfly hardware for easy removal when warm weather returns.  There is plenty of ventilation at the top to get air out, too.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/LynneP/Barn%202008/DSCF1326-1.jpg

Because we have both an inside and outside predator door on each pop hole and because they hinge to fasten above the door, the offset porch is tricky.  I like that idea best, though and when we open up the wall on the newer coop alongside this one we can modify to allow ventilation but to minimize drafts.

I plugged the electric dog bowls in for the first time today.  Winter has arrived!


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

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#25 2010-12-08 18:56:27

Head Over Heels
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From: Vancouver Island, BC
Registered: 2010-10-13
Posts: 915
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Love this thread...and yes, I know I'm late here but dare I suggest using bales of local hay, rather than the straw folks. I'm finding that all my poultry love the hay, as both a bedding & a food source. It tends to compost down a lot quicker than the straw, & can often be bought for much less dollars than straw. Just a suggestion.


Pocket Poultry Paddocks...White Bearded Silkies, Pied & Fawn Muscovies, East Indie Ducks,  Mandarins, Jersey Buff, Royal Palm & Sweetgrass Turkeys, Buff Brahmas, Golden & Silver Pheonix & White Ring-Necked Doves!

Pocket Pony Paddocks...proudly owned by 2 Spotted Mini-donkeys, 3 horses, Marble & Pebbles the Nubian goats....lol! 3 beautiful dogs...Wookie, Bailey & Arwynn!

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#26 2010-12-08 19:10:10

ooptec
Banned
From: Hafford, SK
Registered: 2008-05-25
Posts: 1047
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

hey,

hay is good for bedding only probs is using for compost as it has TONS of weed (weeds as far as garden) seeds and may be shooting yourself in the foot.

Last year spread all the straw and poop and ashes (used to knock down ammonia) just as it came from floor of coop and rototilled into garden. The straw was so thick spread out that took 3 rototillings to even get it worked in. But 3 weeks later when did final rototill for planting had pretty much all dissolved, Boy howdy, what a garden it produced. W/the ashes and poop was like 'raw' complete fertilizer. Also as 'gumbo' here the straw seemed to loosen the soil too.

Don't think would do 2 years in a row in the same spot, but have more garden than old bedding so n.p.'s

cheers

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#27 2010-12-08 19:55:06

Head Over Heels
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From: Vancouver Island, BC
Registered: 2010-10-13
Posts: 915
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

true enough, but hey....thats what the goats are for...awesome weeders those guys!!


Pocket Poultry Paddocks...White Bearded Silkies, Pied & Fawn Muscovies, East Indie Ducks,  Mandarins, Jersey Buff, Royal Palm & Sweetgrass Turkeys, Buff Brahmas, Golden & Silver Pheonix & White Ring-Necked Doves!

Pocket Pony Paddocks...proudly owned by 2 Spotted Mini-donkeys, 3 horses, Marble & Pebbles the Nubian goats....lol! 3 beautiful dogs...Wookie, Bailey & Arwynn!

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#28 2010-12-08 20:18:59

ooptec
Banned
From: Hafford, SK
Registered: 2008-05-25
Posts: 1047
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Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

do you think stuff w/bird poop is good for the goats?

If work in garden then put goats on for weeds then will be pasture not garden as they erat the garden too no?.

Also even tho goats eat what grows, the roots remain.

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#29 2012-11-11 21:41:03

tasha_love
New Here
From: just outside calgary ab
Registered: 2012-11-10
Posts: 5

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Just a note about the dog bowl. Where could I get one to try out?  we bought a floating heating element meant for horses and sheep. I put this in a low cut feed bucket and it keeps the water from freezing during the winter. We just finished the new coop today. Caught the neighbors going into the old coop and helping themselves to eggs. We found hey behind the nesting box's , between the box's and in the bottoms topped with shavings work great. We get our shavings in big bricks from ufa for 6.00 a brick.  We built the nesting box's out of milk crates with one side cut out. Open on top and side. I like the idea for the door im going to add that next.


Proud owner of : 20 brown hens , 1 oversized rooster , to many rabbits , 6 sugargliders , 2 cats ,2 Dobermans

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#30 2012-11-12 16:00:48

Brandi
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From: near Winfield, Alberta
Registered: 2009-08-19
Posts: 1020

Re: Winterizing Coop - need input

Tasha, you can get heated dog bowls at UFA or Peavey Mart, or Petsmart and Petland have them as well but they cost more there even though they are exactly the same as the ones farm stores sell. I hate the way they rip consumers off on almost every item, pets included. Not a fan of big box pet stores. lol
Your neighbors actually steal eggs from you?? The nerve of some people!


A strange stillness dwells in the eye of the horse, a composure that appears to regard the world from a measured distance...It is a gaze from the depths of a dream...
                                                                   -Hans Heinrich Isenbart

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