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Is Your Coop Winter Ready?

As January settles in, the responsibility of providing a safe and warm haven for your chickens takes centre stage. Whilst we very rarely get prolonged extreme cold temperatures in Britain, we do get some sharp cold spells which can lead us worry about our fury and feathery friends. In this cold weather guide, we’ll explore how you can keep your chickens cosy and comfortable when the temperature plummets.

1. Insulated Chicken Coops: A Winter Haven

Smiths Sectional Buildings understand the importance of providing a secure refuge for chickens during the winter chill. All our chicken coops are made with timber, which is a natural thermal insulator, keeping your hens warm in winter and cool in the summer. Chickens are well adapted to deal with the cold and struggle more with excess heat, so it is important to keep the house ventilated but not draughty. Our high quality chicken coops are designed with flock health in mind, offering a cosy retreat that shields your chickens from the biting cold. We advise positioning your chicken coop in a sheltered location to keep your hens out of the winds. We don’t suggest adding insulation to the inside of your coop as this is more likely to cause problems than offer benefit to your feathered friends. They will snuggle up together on the perches and be quite happy in a timber coop. As you can see in this photo, the cold winter days will not prevent them from laying big and beautiful eggs:

2. Proper Ventilation: Balancing Warmth and Fresh Air

While it’s important to keep chickens warm, maintaining proper ventilation is crucial to keeping hens happy. Smiths Sectional Buildings’s chicken coops are crafted with ventilation features that allow for a steady exchange of air, preventing moisture buildup and ensuring a healthy environment. This balance between warmth and ventilation is essential to ward off respiratory issues and maintain optimal chicken well-being during the winter months. It may be tempting to block all the air vents to make it warmer, but it is essential that fresh air can circulate in the hen house to reduce the chances of your chickens getting respiratory problems.

3. Adequate Bedding: Cosy Comfort for Cold Nights

We recommend providing ample bedding in chicken coops during winter. Straw or hay serves as excellent insulation, keeping the coop floor dry and providing a warm and comfortable surface for your chickens to rest. Proper bedding not only enhances warmth but also contributes to the overall cleanliness and hygiene of the coop.

4. Winter-Ready Feeding Stations

Winter demands extra energy for chickens to stay warm. Adjusting your chicken’s diet during colder months to include more grains and high-energy feeds is recommended. Additionally, ensure that feeding stations are protected from the elements, preventing food from freezing and making it easily accessible for your feathered companions.

5. Frostbite Prevention: Caring for Combs and Wattles

Chickens can be susceptible to frostbite if temperatures fall below -10˚C, especially in extremities like combs and wattles. Applying petroleum jelly to these areas, creating a protective barrier against the cold can help prevent this in these extreme circumstances. Naturally insulated wooden coops and well-ventilated spaces contribute to an environment that minimises the risk of frostbite.

Here are a few pictures of our chickens roaming free and happy in winter even in frostier temperatures when the grass is looking a little less green.

And happy chickens also mean happy children… all enjoying a wintry walk together.


Winter need not be a time of worry for chicken keepers as chickens trap warm air in their feathers. Timber coops have natural insulating properties that keep your hens warm in winter and cool in the summer. Adequate ventilation is key to keeping your birds healthy and happy. Explore the range of naturally insulated chicken coops and winter-ready structures offered by our family business to provide your feathered companions with the comfort and security they deserve.

For more information on winter-ready chicken coops and other premium structures, head to our poultry pages and embark on a journey to create a cosy haven for your chickens this winter.

Quality Field Shelters, Chicken Coops and Other Animal Houses From the Heart of Shropshire

Crafting Excellence

Welcome to our world of bespoke craftsmanship, where every detail is a testament to our dedication to quality. Whether you are a first-time chicken owner or experienced keeper, let us guide you through the exceptional features of our meticulously crafted structures.

At Smiths Sectional Buildings, we take pride in the craftsmanship behind our buildings. Masterfully built on our family farm, each chicken coop, hut, livestock shelter is carefully crafted by our experienced team. From the specially selected wood to the precision of our construction, we ensure your livestock have not just a shelter but a shelter built to last.

Tailored to Perfection

Our philosophy revolves around tailoring our structures to meet your unique needs. Whether you envision a cozy abode for a few hens or a spacious haven for a larger flock, we have you covered. Our bespoke approach allows for modifications, such as additional boarding, alternate pop hole placements, or adjustments to the roof pitch — because your vision matters

Curious about our craftsmanship? We invite you to come and meet us to see our workshop and see the quality of our buildings. While we recommend contacting us before your visit, you’re more than welcome to see firsthand the precision and attention to detail that goes into every structure we create.

Our workshop is on our family farm nestled in the Shropshire countryside, a truly family run business with farming at the heart of our operation. Descending from generations of farmers we understand the need for quality animal housing with easy maintenance and management built into the design.

Creating shelters to stand the test of time

Our team of skilled carpenters brings decades of collective expertise to every project, each cut, joint, and finishing touch reflects not just technical mastery but a genuine passion for creating structures that stand the test of time.

Our materials are carefully selected and sourced from sustainable forests in Scandinavia. We only use timber of a high-quality grade, meaning fewer smaller knots for strength and durability. 

The safety of your animals is paramount and decisions such as strategically placed pop holes, options like wire floors or skirts add an extra layer of security. The weldmesh wire used in our structures is all galvanised prime quality and sourced from Italy, recognised for their commitment to producing robust and reliable wire products. Many manufacturers use Chinese weldmesh in their structures which is sadly of lesser quality. These choices significantly reduce the likelihood of intrusion, offering enhanced security for your animals.

The Journey from Workshop to Your Doorstep

As we craft each animal building to order, you’re not just receiving a standard structure; you’re investing in a personalised structure and we can offer, for example, bespoke chicken houses or any other type of animal shelter made to suit your specific needs.  

Whether you choose delivery or opt to collect, our team ensure a seamless process. We deliver all our buildings on our 3.5 tonne vans, ensuring that your building arrives safely on an arranged day.

And we like the look of our new vans!

Our friendly team are able to assemble your structure in your desired location, ensuring quality build from end to end. 

For the DIY enthusiasts, assembling our buildings is a gratifying experience. With carefully pre-drilled holes and comprehensive instructions, the process is straightforward. However, if you prefer a hands-off approach, our team is just a call away, ready to assist.

Does my chicken coop need a run?

If you’re considering keeping chickens one of the questions you might be thinking about is whether you need a chicken coop and run or simply a standalone hen house. In this blog post we run through the pros and cons of chicken houses with runs as opposed to standalone hen houses to help you decide what might work for you.

What is a Chicken Coop with Run?

A chicken coop with a run is a hen housing solution which incorporates a covered indoor area with nest boxes and an enclosed outdoor space (generally wire fencing) for your hens to roam in.

The Thicket High House – walk in chicken house with covered chicken run
The Thicket High House – walk in chicken house and covered run


  • If you have pets that might attack your hens or a problem with foxes or other predators, you might choose a hen coop and run to keep your chickens safe.
  • If you keep your chickens on an allotment or somewhere else away from home, you might choose a chicken coop with an integrated run to keep them safe when you’re not there to keep an eye on them.
  • During Avian Flu outbreaks the government can often make chicken keepers keep their hens inside. A covered chicken run is ideal in this situation to give your chickens an outside area where they can be safe from coming into contact with wild birds (see our blog on Avian Flu here).
  • During periods of bad weather, a covered run offers your chickens the space to roam whilst sheltered from rain or snow.
  • A chicken house with run gives you options and flexibility. If you want to keep your chickens safe when you’re away you can keep them in the run, but have it open when you’re around to keep an eye on them.


  • Chickens have limited space in a run as opposed to roaming free. If you’re planning on keeping them permanently in a hen house with run, make sure you choose a size which offers enough space for your hens.
  • The ground within the run will quickly get worn, offering less pasture and enrichment for your hens. This can be rectified by choosing a mobile chicken coop which can be easily lifted or wheeled onto fresh grass.
  • Your chickens need partial shade so they can enjoy the sunshine and escape the heat, or be protected from bad weather whilst enjoying some fresh air. A raised chicken coop is a good solution if you can’t position your run somewhere with partial shade or shelter. That way your chickens can shelter under the raised living area.
Bespoke Haywood 25 Chicken House with an 18’ Covered Chicken Run
Bespoke Haywood 25 Chicken House with an 18’ Covered Chicken Run

Why Choose a Chicken Coop with no Run?

A coop without a run is a covered indoor space for your chickens incorporating nest boxes. You can shut the chickens in at night time and then allow them to roam freely during the day.


  • If you have a large, safe area for your hens to roam in you might choose to get a chicken house without a run. You hens then have lots of space to forage and pursue their natural flock behaviour.
  • You won’t need to keep moving the run around your land to give your hens fresh pasture – they can just roam and forage as they like.


  • Without an enclosed run your chickens are vulnerable to predators so it’s a good idea to shut them in their hen house overnight.
  • During an Avian Flu outbreak your hens may have to be shut in the coop due to government regulations.

We hope this blog helped you decide what sort of chicken house is right for you. We have lots of high quality wooden chicken coops and runs (including covered and moveable chicken coops) on our website. We also have a wide selection of standalone chicken huts, sheds and houses. We can also make bespoke chicken runs. You can order one of our brochures here, and you’re welcome to get in touch with any questions.

Bespoke 14’ x 9’ Covered Chicken Run
Bespoke 14’ x 9’ Covered Chicken Run

Avian flu – how to keep my chickens safe

Avian influenza, or flu, is a worry for poultry owners. So in this blog post we wanted to share a few tips on what you can do as a chicken owner to keep your hens safe.

Firstly, what is Avian Flu?

Avian flu is a disease which occurs naturally among wild aquatic birds. It’s caused by infection with avian influenza Type A viruses, some of which can cause severe disease and high mortality.

Unfortunately, Avian flu can infect domestic birds too. Symptoms can include a swollen head, discharge from the eyes and nose, respiratory distress, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and fewer or no eggs. Sadly there’s no treatment for Avian Flu, so once it is identified as active, the entire flock must be culled. It’s therefore important for chicken owners to know how to reduce the risk of Avian Flu infecting their flock.

What the rules for Chicken Owners?

Bird flu is a notifiable disease in poultry and other captive birds. This means that if you do not report it, you’re breaking the law. If there are any symptoms in your flock which may be connected, you should inform Defra. If you have more than 50 poultry and game birds you must also register them. If you have fewer than 50 birds you can still register them and Defra will contact you if there’s a bird flu outbreak in your area.

What can I do to Help Keep my Chickens Safe?

  • Keep Wild Birds Out

Infected birds can shed avian influenza A viruses in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. It’s therefore important to keep wild birds from having contact with your chickens. This is especially the case during the winter when there’s generally a seasonal increase in the UK because of winter migration patterns.

If you have your own water birds – ducks and geese, for example – make sure their pond doesn’t attract wild birds. Be aware of migration times and be on the lookout for wild birds taking up residence.

  • Fence Birds in if necessary

If your birds are usually free range and allowed to roam free in your backyard it’s a good idea to fence them in during an outbreak. Consider switching to a covered chicken run and keeping their food and water in the enclosed area so wild birds cannot access it.

  • Maintain Chicken Houses and Sheds

There’s several measures you can take with your chicken house to help keep your hens safe. It’s important to repair any holes or gaps to stop wild birds getting in and to fix leaks to stop contaminated water getting in. It’s also a good idea to remove moss from the roof since it can attract wild birds.

  • Practice good hygiene

Clean and disinfect regularly. This includes not only your chicken hutch, coop or shed, but also tools and equipment such as such as wheelbarrows, crates and buckets. Keeping a bottle of hand gel in your coop will make it easy to clean your hands regularly. Foot dips can also be a good idea, especially if you have other areas on your property where wild birds land and mix.

  • Put new birds into isolation

If you buy new chickens or ducks, check their health before you bring them to your property. It’s also wise to keep new birds separate from the rest of the flock for 10 days to check they don’t develop symptoms of bird flu.

We hope these tips help to keep your birds happy and healthy. Keep up to date on cases of Avian Flu in your area by looking at Defra’s interactive map or the NFU’s case finder.

Made In Britain
All of our buildings are made to order


Smiths Sectional are manufacturers of Chicken housing, Goat housing, Field Shelters and other animal houses. A family company, we are specialist British manufacturers of high quality chicken houses for gardens, free range chicken houses, duck houses, goat houses, mobile field shelters, horse stables and lots more.

We make the chicken houses and other buildings on our farm in Shropshire. Each building is made to order and can be tailored to a customer's specific requirements. We are well known in the trade and an established business for over 25 years.

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