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our egg mobile in the winter--is it warm enough?  RSS feed

 
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We built a small cattle panel hoop house in the garden for the chickens to live in this winter. They have already done their job of fertilizing and tilling. I would like to get them out of there asap so I can plant earlier. Do you think our egg mobile has too much ventilation for them to live in the rest of the winter? The whole floor is screened as well as the top foot or so. We could staple some plastic up top to make it less drafty if that would be better. What do you think about the floor though, should we add some plastic to the bottom too? Or is the amount of shelter good enough. We are in mid Missouri. Thanks!
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Do you happen to know what your location's USDA Plant Hardiness Zone is? You shelter looks warm enough for chickens in my zone, but it rarely ever gets under 20 degrees F here. How cold does it get where your at?
 
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Chickens are remarkably hardy creatures and can keep themselves warm with their soft down beneath their feathers. The key is to keep them out of the wind. I suggest covering the upper vents in the coop so they're in an essentially draft free environment when they roost, and they'll do just fine. My concern with covering the floor as well is creating stifling conditions with all the poop as they need fresh air too.
 
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I think it comes down to the breed.  My chickens could handle it no problem but they're designed to handle cold, not Missouri summers.
 
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I would cut and install hinged plywood  covers for the vents at the ends, and perhaps draft proof around the bottom with straw bales instead of plastic.
Plastic will create a sound problem for the birds unless you stretch it tight plus, it can turn a house into a sauna when the temps get above 32, which will be most of the winter.

chickens have a 102+ normal body temp (not like the human 98.6), so usually keeping warm only means no drafts directly on them.

Redhawk
 
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Like the idea of skirting bottom with straw bales. As far as top would want to block one end that faces prevailing wind.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Do you happen to know what your location's USDA Plant Hardiness Zone is? You shelter looks warm enough for chickens in my zone, but it rarely ever gets under 20 degrees F here. How cold does it get where your at?


With good breed selection and some wind breaks one doesn't actually need a 'warm' shelter at all in our climate

My 7 Delawares live* in a 16x8 dog kennel (with chicken wire wrapped around the bottom for extra security, a roost two and a half feet off the ground and nest boxes) with a simple roof to keep the rain off the side with the roost and nest boxes.

* I say live, but they're let out in the morning to forage more often than not.

In mid Missouri the OP might be dealing with zone 6. No clue if this system would work with there with this breed, but I can say with confidence that unless the OP has a 'hot weather chicken breed' (huge wattles and combs, thin feathering, no fat stores) they will be plenty warm in that structure if there are enough of them.
 
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Like others said, it's a matter of stopping drafts.  I had 6 of my "landrace" chickens in a shelter made of straw bales on three sides with one side open, and a couple old doors with straw bales on top for insulation as the roof, and they were fine when it hit -20F.  I put roosts in the back where they were out of the wind and they had lots of ventilation because the one end was completely open.  I did cover a larger area for them because they dislike walking in snow.
 
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