Originally Posted by flower
Originally Posted by MagicChicken
Regarding what to do with the birds when it gets cold, that depends on your coop setup. As long as the birds are in a well-ventilated space and protected from direct drafts (wind), they should be fine. Ventilation is key. If the space is too closed up there will be a lot of condensation inside the coop, which is not good. If you find you are getting condensation in the coop add more ventilation, especially near the top and bottom. Chickens usually have more problems with heat than they do with cold. You do not need to heat the coop if your birds are fully feathered. Young birds that aren't fully feathered are a different story - they need a heated area available as an option if they get too cold. But your birds are grown out and should be fine as long as the coop is sufficiently ventilated.
Up here in the North the winter temperatures freeze the flock's water. My birds are housed in a large space with wide open screened windows. They are long lived and healthy. Think of the tiny songbirds which can bee seen sitting on the electric and telephone wires during very cold weather. Heat is a different problem.
So true about the tiny songbirds. I love to see them all puffed out on those cold mornings. We've even had hummingbirds survive hard freezes here, down into the mid-teens. Amazing.
The water freezes in my coop/run, too. Usually not a solid freeze. Just an ice layer over the top. Usually the birds can chip through it. When we get hard freezes the birds can't get through the ice in the morning. I take out a kettle of boiling water and pour a small amount over the ice in the water founts. Doesn't take much to melt it. When we're expecting a really hard freeze I add those black rubber water bowls you get at the feed store. (They double as chicken wading pools in the summer.) It's easy to kick through the ice in those.
We're lucky here in Tucson. It can freeze at night but is usually above freezing during the day. Once I deal with the ice in the morning, the water containers usually don't refreeze until the next cold night. I'd probably put the water fount on a small heater on a thermostat if I lived in a colder area.