Last week Dave and I worked on the coop to get it ready for winter. Can you see the light streaming through the spaces between the boards? That's a problem...
So we put battens on the outside, and now the coop is draft-proof... and stripey!
Some people say that coops should be insulated and/or heated so the chickens don't get cold or get frostbite. I'm of the opinion that if the coop is draft-free but also ventilated, then they'll be fine. It also helps to have fluffy, cold-hardy breeds, which I (mostly) do.
I *am* supplementing their daylight though - as the days get shorter, chickens lay less frequently or go into molt and stop laying altogether. Since I sell eggs (and eat them too), I wanted to avoid this, so there's 2 lights in the coop that come on at 5am and go off at 10pm. That might be a bit overkill, but it's keeping their production nice and high, so I'm happy!
I also had one other thing to do for the chickens to get them ready for winter... take a look at Pippi:
Sasquatch and Little Boy Blue are very... amorous. And because Pippi is a hybrid production layer, pretty much all of her energy goes into making eggs instead of taking care of herself. So she's had a really hard time growing her back and wing feathers back. I didn't worry about this during the summer, but I don't want the poor girl to freeze, so I made her a saddle (aka "apron"):
I won't lie - she kept it on for about 2 minutes. But I think if I just make it a little more secure, she won't have a choice - she will have to wear her saddle/apron/sweater :) I'm not crazy... it's entirely for warmth... so I don't lose my best layer... for economic reasons... and um... yeah, I think it's adorable!
Jen & Dave Paul, owners & operators of Old Post Farm