paul wheaton wrote:Two winter chicken coop designs. Both are designed to warm the chickens so that the chickens won't need as much food.
One is an earth berm design. The other is a portable design that is parked for the winter and surrounded by straw bales.
Clifford Reinke wrote:
My coop is an open air design I modified from a 1919 book on chicken coops. This type of coop was used as far north as Alberta Canada with -20 degree weather. Chickens have nice down coats, and do not mind the cold. The large front windows are covered in 1/4 inch hardware cloth. I have a trap door that leads to the "daylight basement/dusting area". I lock them in every night because we have weasel problems. I use a four paddock system with the solar powered, 160 foot, electric poultry netting which I move once a week. There is no artificial light in the hen house (although I may add solar powered lights later). Food consumption does rise with colder weather, and if it freezes I change out the water more frequently so it does not ice over.
I replace the straw under the roost every week with the straw from the nesting boxes and the front of the coop. New straw is placed in the nesting boxes and the front of the coop. I use the pooped on straw as mulch around my fruit trees. My compost pile is on the border between two of my paddocks. So two weeks out of four, the chickens get to turn my compost pile for me eating bugs and worms. The other two weeks allow the bugs and worms to recover. The compost pile is on a slope, so we throw the new stuff on the top of the hill and shovel the good stuff from the bottom of the hill.
I have 13 Barred Rock chickens, two roosters and 11 hens. I'm averaging 9 eggs a day, even though it is winter. My chickens seem very happy and healthy, the coop does not smell bad, stays dry, takes five minutes to clean once a week. I think for me, I've finally found the right combination.