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Keeping Chicken Coop Warm this Winter - Page 2

post #11 of 19

Oh no no no, do NOT try to heat your run tongue  I wouldn't even try to heat the COOP!! As long as it is less drafty than a seive and there are a reasonable number of chickens in it, you will actually find it stays a good bit warmer than the outside air (chickens put out a LOT of body heat!). Chickens are FINE down to freezing or so anyways.

You might tarp the roof and upwind side of the run for winter, but I absolutely would not advocate doing any more than that (will be counterproductive!)

Trying to heat it a) will waste a lot of electricity (thus $); b) is an unnecessary fire hazard; and c) may actually lead to weaker sicklier chickens.

Just give them good draft-free well-ventilated shelter and you will have no problem, honest!

It is day-length and breed (and individual variation) that affects whether they lay in wintertime, not really temperature, btw. And as long as you are going to collect eggs regularly, you will have few if any that freeze at your temperatures -- the freezing point of an egg is actually considerably lower than the freezing point of water, and remember they start out hen temperature and are sitting in a nice insulating bed of shavings (or whatnot) in the nestbox.

Have fun,

Pat

post #12 of 19

My henhouse is a chalet style, raised above the ground house about 9 feet square. I have three hens (RIR, Marans, Black Sexlink). The house is made of plywood, has tarpaper and cedar shingles for a roof, and pine shavings on the floor. I'm wondering if I need to worry about heating it. It can get below freezing here in the winter, but that isn't typical. More often it is just cold and rainy.

I brought an extension cord out and hooked up a red flood light, thinking that would add some heat but the light keeps them awake at night. Do you think I need to bother with heat? The henhouse is not insulated or airtight, but it is well sheltered.

post #13 of 19

Really, if the temps are just below freezing at night, such as the 20's. As long as the birds aren't damp, they'll be fine. It only gets into maybe the 20's for a week or so out here, but my birds mostly choose to sleep outside in the run area of their coop. Yep, outside... not a single case of frost bite and they are still kicking. A heated coop and birds going out into the cold is worse.

Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

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Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

Reply
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by silkiechicken 

Really, if the temps are just below freezing at night, such as the 20's. As long as the birds aren't damp, they'll be fine. It only gets into maybe the 20's for a week or so out here, but my birds mostly choose to sleep outside in the run area of their coop. Yep, outside... not a single case of frost bite and they are still kicking. A heated coop and birds going out into the cold is worse.


I agree.  Our temps. in Arkansas are very similiar to Tennessee's.  I know because I've lived there. 
I do nothing different in the wintertime, except to put the shutters down over the large coop windows when temps. drop below 40 and keep a check on their water to make sure it's not frozen.  It only froze once last winter and that was when we had a stretch of 16 degree days.  I keep the waterer in the coop.

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people.
A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, cochins, sebrights, and call ducks.  R.I.P. Dragon, the crossbeak.  Thank you for teaching me so much about life.

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If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people.
A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, cochins, sebrights, and call ducks.  R.I.P. Dragon, the crossbeak.  Thank you for teaching me so much about life.

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post #15 of 19

Todays high was 48, low will be around 36 tonight, as is has been for a couple of weeks.  Mine are happy in the Chick-n-Hutch that has one side completely open right now.  Here is my pic of my current set up.  We are using this while we build a coop inside our barn, as temps here drop in the teens to twenty below zero for stretches in the winter, with feet and feet of snow.  My chickens are doing great in this set up in similar temps that you are talking about, so maybe yours would be ok?
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/22059_img_0538.jpg  I do tarp everything over at night, but one side is still open.

SAHM to two boys, 8 and 4, one very DH, one lab/golden mix-Mattie, and four sweet brown Hyline gals-Penny, Polly, Priscilla, and Petunia(RIP Pattie), and 8 baby chicks in late June 2010 from MPC (Austrolorp, Spec.Sussex, Black JG, BR, White and Partridge Cochins, and White Leghorn).
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SAHM to two boys, 8 and 4, one very DH, one lab/golden mix-Mattie, and four sweet brown Hyline gals-Penny, Polly, Priscilla, and Petunia(RIP Pattie), and 8 baby chicks in late June 2010 from MPC (Austrolorp, Spec.Sussex, Black JG, BR, White and Partridge Cochins, and White Leghorn).
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post #16 of 19

Aaack!  Don't heat the run!  Your chickens will be just fine!!!  They are after all wearing custom fitted down jackets, and will acclimate naturally as the temperatures drop in the fall.  If they're reliant on artificial heating, they'll suffer if the power goes out, but if they've gone au naturel they will be happy as clams.  Really.  I'm in Canada and we commonly have four feet of snow on the ground here.  It gets down to -25C (about -13F) in my neck of the woods and I don't heat my coop (it's well insulated and well ventilated at the top of the gable ends, thanks to patandchickens).  I don't use supplemental light, either, and my girls lay all winter.  They slow down a little but not much, and they never go into the coop from their roofed run to warm up (they just go in to lay and to sleep at night).

Chickens need food, water, access to draft free well ventilated shelter, and fresh air.  Unless they're a delicate breed, they don't need (and really don't *want*) to be cooped up and overly sheltered.  You have *warm* winters (lucky you!) and have nothing to worry about. 

Oh, your roosts should be wider than a 2x2.  I know lots of people use 2x2s or wooden doweling, but chickens don't naturally grip with their toes when they sleep; they sit down on their feet and balance on their breastbone.  If you use a wider roost, like a 2x4 placed wide side up, their toes are covered with feathers and will stay nice and toasty.  Narrow roosts can result in frostbitten toes. 

You may need to go outside at dusk every day and put your chickens into their house, on the roost, until they get used to it.  They are creatures of habit and will start going in on their own after awhile.  They'll be safer if you shut them in there overnight anyway. 

As for your frozen water question, a lot of people use a low wattage bulb to keep it from freezing; others use a heated (electric) water dish.  Sill others (like me) use a rubber pan and refill it a few times a day.  I have a heated dish but prefer the pan because the water is always clean.  It flexes so it's really easy to pop out the ice before refilling it with warm water.  Anyway, I suspect that with your relatively warm winter temps, if you leave the water in the henhouse their body heat will keep it from freezing overnight. 

Enjoy your chickens - but don't worry about heating them for the winter unless they're babies!

Ameraucanas and EEs, two Andalusian cross horses, some cats, a dog, a DH who is outstanding in his garden ...
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Ameraucanas and EEs, two Andalusian cross horses, some cats, a dog, a DH who is outstanding in his garden ...
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post #17 of 19

I'm wondering the same thing in the winter because mine don't sleep up in their hen house.  They prefer to perch on the branch that is out in the main part of the coop.  They only go up in the henhouse to get to the nesting boxes and lay.  So when everyone says "draft free" I worry that they won't go up there when it's cold.  Our coop is similar to this one but they henhouse is about twice as big:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/23331_playhousecoop.jpg   So they just sleep in the open part.  I was thinking about putting some paneling around a couple sides just to help with wind going across.  Should I worry that they won't be draft-free if they won't go sleep up top?

post #18 of 19

Maybe think of using bales of straw? Straw stacked 2 bales high make great insulation. They are usually good for 2 years. Then put the straw on the garden or the flower beds. Using the straw bales still gives room for air flow. I have three sides with stacked straw bales and the chickens have been quite happy and healthy for 2 yrs. this way and in Northern Indiana weather.

post #19 of 19

Great idea.  I think I will do that.

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