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Old 08-04-2017, 05:58 PM
mlbfanatic0317 Male mlbfanatic0317 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Posts: 108
Default Raising Chickens in Alaska

Good morning from Alaska!

It's been a while since I have posted on here. The military has moved me to Alaska a few years ago, and we just decided to buy a house up here. With that, we are looking at raising a few (4-6) chickens. We have about an acre of land and we could build a decent sized coop, but with the harsh winters we have here in the interior of Alaska, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience raising them in harsh winter environments. Any suggestions would be welcomed!

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Old 08-04-2017, 09:08 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Gender: Male
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Just choose the right breed(s) and have good housing during the winter. I'm sure the Extension Service at UAF can give you some pointers on housing, and local breeders/hatcheries or feed stores can help you select breeds. We don't get quite as cold as Fairbanks here, but we have long, cold winters. At the moment, we only have barnyard crosses, but they survive well and even lay eggs some in the cold and dark. We have had Jersey Giants, Australorps, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, the much maligned (here on the forum) Orpingtons, and several other breeds. I don't believe we have ever lost a bird to cold, but we have had a few toes lost, and if a rooster has a large comb, it always freezes.

My chicken housing is a "house-within-a-house" arrangement, with a coop built inside a shed. It thus has double walls with space for insulation between.
I filled the void with sawdust obtained from a local sawmill to fill the void. It was what I could afford at the time and has worked quite well, but it does allow places for rodents to winter, so I might mix borax in it or find rodent-resistant insulation if I were to do it again. We always have some predation losses, but they are usually not terrible since my winter yard is covered with poultry netting.

I don't remember all the feed stores in Fairbanks, but I know there is one on College Road that should be able to help you out. Tanana Fair should be soon, if it hasn't already happened, and you can consult with the poultry people there. I am old, and many of the sources we had in Fairbanks have passed away, but I know there are new folks who know the ropes of cold weather poultry. Good Luck!!!
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:07 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the bush of BC Canada
Posts: 6,089

I mostly like my chicken fried.... But do help to maintain our small flock here in north central BC, CA...

On the order of what Don said. Good winter housing is crucial. My observations on that is it seems our insulated housing could text book house 40 birds, only keep 20. Being confined that long the extra room per bird makes it easier on them.

Keeping feed is not a problem. A couple old freezers filled with scratch and what ever else you use are easy to manage. Mice are easy to trap with enhanced traps. More on that later. Any weasel type predators are easy to catch with a chicken proof trap box right in the pen with the chickens.

A big thing I have found to keeping them happy and productive is to provide light. An average of 12 -15 hours a day. I use a 100 watt bulb on a timer morning and evening to make up the time without natural day light. Our building has large east and west side windows for the most natural light. Again, more on the light set up later.

Netting over an outdoor run here is a pain in the neck. Snow load make it hard to maintain and expensive to keep replacing. While the birds can be outside, most all our losses have been to Great Horned owls and immature eagles.
Always fresh.
Keep your stick on the ice. Red Green
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