post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by ChickenHawk12 View Post

Because I told her I wasn't putting a heat lamp in my coop over the winter.  Now I feel utterly irresponsible.  


I have 5 Buff Orpingtons (3 already laying, 2 still not, but I'm wondering if they won't until spring now because the days are getting short) that are 27 weeks old.  They have a 4X8 foot coop which is up off the ground 2-3 feet, and a 8X16 foot run enclosed with chicken wire/landscape fabric (including the door).  Right now their water and food are hanging under the coop on hooks (plus fermented feed in a tray on the run floor), but I imagine I will have to hang at least the water in the coop once it gets cold.


I live in coastal NJ.  Today it's 70 degrees, but most of the winter it hangs out between 20 and 40 degrees, but it's not rare during a cold front to get into the teens and single digits.  We rarely get below zero.  Their coop/run is well protected from wind because it is in the corner of our backyard, 2 sides blocked by a 6 foot vinyl fence, the 3rd side facing the fenced backyard, and the 4th side only about 8-10 feet from the house.


I figure that they are a cold-hardy breed, and are fairly protected from gusty winds.  They aren't tropical animals....the pilgrims had chickens, didn't they?  And most of them survived.....


Do I REALLY need a heat lamp in the coop that will keep me awake all night with worry about a fire?  I wasn't planning on putting a light in there anyway for eggs over the winter.  I don't want to disrupt their natural rhythms.  I can go to the supermarket for eggs for a month or two :-)

I actually brood new chicks outdoors in the run when our temps are in the teens and twenties, and I don't use a heat lamp for them at all....just a heating pad, a wire frame, and a straw cave.  Haven't lost a single one.


My coop is not insulated and I have no supplemental heat out there.  Same with their run.  Their pop door is open 24/7, and the run is covered with greenhouse plastic in winter.  They do just fine.