With the heat of summer here, I know it seems like a strange time to talk about cold weather chicken coop plans. However, here in northern Indiana, summer will quickly give way to the dark, blustery days of winter.
So, while the sun is still shining and the days are still long and warm, let's talk about how you can winterize your coop so that your chickens stay warm even when its twenty below zero.
First of all, some breeds are hardier than others, and can better adapt to cold climates. Scots Dumpy, Orpington, and Wyandottes are just a few examples of breeds that will tolerate lower temperatures. If you have not purchased any birds yet, make sure you take some time to research breeds that will do well in your climate.
However, even the hardiest breeds may experience problems with frostbite on their combs and wattles. Coat these with Vaseline, which will protect their skin and keep it from freezing when the temperatures dip down.
Second, think about adding insulation to your coop. There are a number of materials you can use for this. For example, I recently talked to someone that used foam board. Although I have only used "traditional" insulation, I think foam core is an interesting idea, and I just might have to give it a try one of these days. When insulating, make sure you do not cover up any of your ventilation holes. Your birds will still need their fresh air.
Some doting chicken owners even include the purchase of heaters in their cold weather chicken coop plans. To keep things short and to the point here, I will talk about this at a later time. As a matter of fact, there are several gizmos and gadgets you can buy, from heated water containers to microwavable Snugglesafe heat pads and more. When the snow hits, I will talk about these options a little more. Now, getting back on track...
If you want your chickens to continue laying eggs in the wintertime, you may want to install a couple of lightbulbs in their coop. Egg laying slows down considerably during the wintertime due to the lack of sunlight. You can trick your hens into thinking the days are longer by using electrical lights.
Well, there's a quick look at cold weather chicken coop plans. If you think of anything I left out, feel free to leave a comment below...
photo credit: tillwe
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