beeliz(2)April 21, 2009

I'm converting the old gazebo/goathouse into my hens house. I noticed that there are some cracks here and there but really small...no rain gets in and there are no drafts. Is this sufficient enough for them? I will provide a heating lamp over the roosting area during the winter,,,is it ok???

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I'd say as long as it's predator proof, that should be fine. If you can find some long slats you can nail them across the cracks, that's what we did with our one coop that was made from crappy mill lumber. It had cracks everywhere, I nailed long slats over them using small nails on the inside of the coop.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:28PM
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ok great thanks!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 6:10PM
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I read something very interesting about natural farming or the Fukuoka Method. They use the deep litter method in the coops and the heat generated keeps the chickens comfortable and unnecessary for supplemental heat.

I know I did not use any supplemental heat during the winter but zone 2 winter is harsher than 7.

Here is a link that might be useful: I could not find the specific article again...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 10:01PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Zone 7 gets down to 0F which isn't very cold for animals like chickens, zone 2 is down to -50F. I doubt deep litter would provide enough warmth for the birds unless the structure was very well insulated. The article (based on the first page) seems to have been written about the mountains of the Ehime Prefecture, so they will be zone 8a or 7b.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:28AM
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I am in Cdn zine 5 and we get occasional days at -30c. That is as cold as it ever gets here and that's only occasional. I have "deep litter" and I can tell you that you will have to add additional heat for them in zone 2. I provided my chickens with a heat lamp about 4' above their roost in the very cold winter, to help them keep warm and to prevent severe frostbite on combs and wattles. I also rubbed vaseline on combs and wattles when I knew severe temps were coming. This helps too, but they still had frostbite from the occasional nights when it dropped suddenly and the heat lamp was not on. I found that frostbite occurred when the temps got to be at or below about -15c.

You will also have to do someething about the water freezing. In the temps you will be getting, it will freeze immediately. Even a very thin ice layer on top will keep them from being able to drink and they need a continuous supply of fresh water. I put a heating pad under the metal waterer and put it on a timer so it goes on and off just enough to keep the water liquid. I have a friend who wrapped his metal waterer with electric roof heating cables and that worked too. You can also buy a heated, electric base especially for that purpose at a farm supply store.

Frostbite and freezing water were the only two problems that I had in the severe cold temps. I kept the coop closed during those days. The girls never wanted to go out then anyway and don't like walking in the snow. On the warmer winter days, I would shovel out an area for them in their pen and let them out. They would come out for just a bit, but still stayed in the coop most of the time. They don't like the snow and cold.

Also, if you leave the eggs in the next overnight, they will freeze. Same day collection wasn't a problem but you will be getting much colder temps then I get here on the coldest winter days.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:50AM
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I put vaseline on the wattles as well on really cold nights,,and I have a heated bucket which at the freezing temp it turns on and prevents freezing,,it's awsome!
also,,I have hung their heat lamp over their roosting area,,not using it till novemebr,,but it's there!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:28AM
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I tried to find that website again but to no avail. I found one through the another forum on here and one link led to another. LOL.

Sorry.I am glad my winter only lasts a couple of days. LOL.

If you use a heat lamp please make sure it is very secure. I have heard too accident stories.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Farming

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:27PM
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