Spent the afternoon getting my little barnyard all tucked up and cozy before the big Blizzard ’16 strikes. First on my list: preventing cold drafts. Birds can stand cold temperatures in their massive feather coats, but not so much a chilling breeze or condensation. With that in mind, I put up a whole bunch of weatherstripping around all the doors and gaps, but was careful to leave a good ventilation gap at the very top of both my coops.
I put up plastic and tarps around the entire run in an effort to keep out driving winds and sleet. I’m hoping that I can manage to keep the run relatively low in snow so that the chickens can get out of their little coop to get some fresh air and exercise even if they’ll be locked in during the next couple days.
I was careful to put my limited clear plastic a) on the South side so we might get something of a greenhouse effect for a bit more warmth and b) on the side near the house so I can easily how the girls are doing in there without leaving the house. It was pretty cozy inside once the winds were cut off. Noticeably nicer than outside.
Playground complete with jungle gym and swingset!
The duck house I lined with plastic all around the inside – again with the ventilation gap on top – to block the many little drafts that come with building from old pallets.
For some reason the ducks prefer to shiver outside than sleep inside the much warmer coop. I’ve been told that they’ll be fine. I hope so.
I used ratchet straps to pull all the bee boxes nice and tight. While loose stacked boxes might blow off, strapped tight together they’re heavy enough that they’re unlikely to budge. And even if they get blown over, at least they’ll all stay together and not expose the bees to their deaths in the cold.
They had already been winterized before, of course. All three colonies have sugar boards and there is a thick cap of pine shaving insulation on top of each stack. The hive on the left is two smaller colonies I’ve stacked together to help them both keep warm (there’s a screen board in between to keep them from attacking each other). The boards screwed across the fronts reduce the entrances down to two bee-sized holes and also help keep out drafts. I put clear packing tape around a couple of the biggest gaps for the same reason. So they should be able to keep themselves fairly warm.
Now we just sit back and wait.