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Keeping chickens warm

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi, I haven't decided to get a chicken yet, but I think I really want one.  My question is, how do you keep them warm.  I don't have any way of running a heater where I was going to put it.  And how do the Amish people keep there chickens warm, they don't have electricity at all!
Please help so I can make up my mind.
Thanks,

Sorry I'm new to this, I was going to get 1 adult chicken for eggs.  I have read that they have to be kept very warm.  So what do you do in the winter, like I said, I can't run any electricity to where it would be.
Thanks again.


Edited by BONJOVI1 - 5/18/07 at 2:29pm
post #2 of 10

Are you going to get chicks or adults?  If you're asking how the Amish keep chicks warm I'm sure they let the hen raise the chicks and in that case the hen keeps them warm under her wing.

If you're getting chicks you'll need a brooder and a heat lamp. 

Give us more info on what you're thinking of getting (chicks or chickens) and I'm sure someone here can help you.

post #3 of 10

Can I also ask a question about keeping them warm?

I'm going to be keeping chickens soon, in Nebraska (we're moving) I heard you need to keep a minimum of 10 chickens, in order for them to keep each other warm in winter, is this true? 

I will also have no way to have electricity in the coop... I guess we could run an extension cord or something, but I would prefer not to do that... perhaps we could build the coop up against the house or something?

post #4 of 10

If you're getting a hen you'd be getter off getting two -it won't be that much more trouble and they will keep each other company and cozy up for warmth. smile

Adult chickens don't need artificial heat as long as they have a coop that's suitable for their size and is "tight" against the elements. Of course, it also needs ventilation for fresh air and to keep cool in summer. You can find a lot of good information on this site just by looking through the coop section (and all the other sections!).

Let us know more about what you have in mind for your chickens and you'll get lots of good advice! wink

Standard Girls: 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Australorps, and 2 Gold-laced Wyandottes
Bantams: 1 black Cochin hen, and one red roo
Ducks: coming again soon!
Others: 3 Nigerian Dwarf wethers, 1 cat, 2 dogs, 4 pond goldfish, and one India Blue peacock
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Standard Girls: 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Australorps, and 2 Gold-laced Wyandottes
Bantams: 1 black Cochin hen, and one red roo
Ducks: coming again soon!
Others: 3 Nigerian Dwarf wethers, 1 cat, 2 dogs, 4 pond goldfish, and one India Blue peacock
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post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelly 

I will also have no way to have electricity in the coop... I guess we could run an extension cord or something, but I would prefer not to do that... perhaps we could build the coop up against the house or something?


I had electric wire run to my coop I just dug a small trench with a shovel. That way when we mow its out of the way. I added  a outside plug to it and then ran the wire inside coop and added a light switch & outlet inside. I can plug it in or unplug it from the main house. Bought the wire from lowes for a few dollars. Probably didn't cost me $20.00 to do it.


Edited by Poison Ivy - 5/18/07 at 7:06pm
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Do chickens think rubber humans are funny?

Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your character and your character is everything.
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post #6 of 10

Questions Questions Questions. Chicks or full grown birds? How many? How big of a coop? Insulated or not?
The answers to your questions will determine what you need to do.

Coyote

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Through time .. and space .. each faith .. and race.. let there be peace! http://www.peaceful-spirit.org/
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post #7 of 10

Well for me, I don' t have chickens YET - we're moving in a couple of months to NEBRASKA - I will happily keep the chickens indoors till they're 8 weeks or so, but then they will need to go into the coop - which is not yet built! lol

BUT if i get my chickens in August (if I'm lucky) it will be October/November when they go outside, getting colder there.
WOuld building an insulated (with what?) coop be the best thing to do? 

Will I need at least 10 chickens, or MORE?

Tks

post #8 of 10

Insulate with standard insulation or styrofoam. The white stuff is cheap and works well. Both keep the moisture down. Keep lots of straw on the coop floor and have a chicken door you can close at night and chickens will do fine. I am in canada and lots of people winter chickens without extra heat. Drafts are your biggest enemy with cold weather. You really don't need ten in order to facilitate warmth. Three or four do fine. But since you are relying on body heat to keep the chill out of the coop you will have to build with the number of chickens in mind.

For cold climates I like dirt or wood floors. They don't hold the cold in, the way concrete does.

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"If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, love what you do."
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
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post #9 of 10

Also, get chicken breeds with smaller combs, to prevent frostbite.  Roosters usually have more trouble than hens.  Henderson's breed chart mentions which chicken breeds are cold hardy.  http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

If
you don't have electricity for the coop, you'll need to knock the ice out of their water dish and refill it.  Sometimes, even if there's no electricity installed in a coop, people will still run an extension cord out to the coop in the winter, just to run a heater for the water.

post #10 of 10

Up here in Alaska an insulated coop is a must.  We used "blue board insulation" their sheets of styrafoam that come in sheets 2'by 8' and 4' by 8' and anywhere from 1/2" to 4" thick you can get it at building supply stores.  Be sure to cover it or the birds will peck at it.  If you decide not to provide them with a heat lamp for the colder months you should design your coop so you can close it up at night to seal out any drafts.  we put a burlap curtain over their door to keep out daytime drafts but use a styrafoam plug to seal their door at night.
Also be sure to give them purches that they can sit on.  the rods from an old closet are ok in warmer weather but in colder months when they squat down their toes are left exposed, something like a 2"by4" layed flat so they can perch on the 4" side works well, when they perch on this their toes are completely covered and protected.
One last thing to point out is that most chickens come equiped with there own down jackets so you dont have to worry about them to much unless there going to be exposed to temperatures below freezing for extended periods.  We have found that our girls dont like to go outside into their run when its below 0 degrees F so on these days (or weeks as the case may be) we keep their coop closed up so be sure to give them plenty of floor space to move around in.
Good luck

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