1st winter with 4 girls & 1 roo

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by susieq5353, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. susieq5353

    susieq5353 Hatching

    May 30, 2011
    This is our first winter with chickens in Idaho. Even though we are a high desert it gets really cold here.....last night below freezing. My question is: we have a small coop meant to house 8 but 3 died. We do not have a heater in the coop but we do have an extra layer of bedding on the floor and in the brood boxes. Will this keep them warm enough or should we be concerned and put a warmer of some kind in the coop? Any help would be greatly appreciated because we are still too new to this but having a blast with the girls. [​IMG]

    2 Rhodies
    1 Buff
    1 silkie
    1 golden sexlink

  2. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    My first winter with chickens, too, but I gather that chickens do very well in the cold if they have adequate non-drafty ventilation, e.g., at least the standard 1 sq. ft. per bird up high under coop eaves. Moisture and condensation buildup in a confined or insulated area is a problem. A wide roost should allow them to cover their feet at night. They are livestock, and do not need or thrive in people-type housing. They have super individual insulation pre-installed.
  3. bufforp89

    bufforp89 Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    Chenango Forks NY
    AS long as the coop is well ventilated you have no worries [​IMG] All of the breeds that you posted are more then capable of keeping warm. Here in NYS we have a wide variety of weather [​IMG] are I have never lost a single chicken to the cold. We actually just had out first snowfall of the year last night. Ventilation is the key though, if you don't have any moisture will build up in the coop causing frostbite on combs/toes etc.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    The extra bedding is nice and all they need is a heated waterer for winter. I also treat our birds to sunflower seeds on the real cold winter days. A few hand fulls for 6 birds will take the chill off. Black oil sunflower seed or BOSS to those at BYC contains near 30% fat, perfect winter fuel.
  5. mommissan

    mommissan Songster

    Jul 4, 2011
    I'm going through my first winter with the girls. I have 10 birds, all heavy breed mixes. This morning it was 21 F out and 35 F in the coop. To my surprise, they preferred to be out in the cold morning air rather than the warm coop. I just had to bring out a fresh bucket of water for them to drink out of, since their trough (was frozen solid) I think they'll be fine. I've read MANY times that they should NOT be heated and should instead, acclimate to the seasons.

  6. JodyJo

    JodyJo Songster

    Sep 27, 2010
    I also live in a high desert here in Colorado...we don't add heat, we have already been in the teens...if you add heat, and the electricity goes out, they can freeze, they won't be acclimated to the cold...they are wearing down, they snuggle and deep litter plus eliminate drafts, they will be fine. Make sure they are fed and have water...they will do great!

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