-30 to -40 CELSIUS only please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Gammond, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Gammond

    Gammond Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2016
    Central BC, Canada
    I'm not interested in reading post after post of what people do when their 'cold' winter lows are -10 to -18... I'm talking almost -40.
    I want people who actually have COLD winters to tell me if they heat their coops or not.
    I have a regular light on a timer, well ventilated, non-insulated coop.... no wind on birds. I open the coop door when the sun comes out during the day. My dumb, once beautiful, roosters' combs have all half froze from wandering outside too much.
    To heat or not to heat?
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Minus 40 degrees Celsius and minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit are the same degree of cold.
    2 people like this.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I think your confused by posts that are in Fahrenheit. To clear up the two systems a little- they are same temp when both are -40 degrees. My winter will hit -30F which equates to -34.4 C. For those that only reach 0F that equates to -17.8 C. You can start to see a trend here, the higher numbers in Fahrenheit are as cold as the lower numbers in Celsius.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I don't heat at -30F or at the warmer temp of -30 C.
  5. Gammond

    Gammond Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2016
    Central BC, Canada
    OK good to know you don't heat either. I was tempted to put a lamp out there tonight... I'm not confused, I'm just looking for answers from people who have first hand experience with harsh winters like ours.. whether it be in C or F - I'm just talking COLD.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    To start, no free-range when it get really cold. Frost bite starts kicking in with birds outside as soon as temperatures drop below 10 F / -12 C. Windy conditions aggravate it. If you have birds with single combs then frost bite becomes an issue when temperatures lower than 0 F / -18 C even with no wind. If temperatures drop lower than that then I would heat to preserve combs for short-term. For long-term a wiser choice in breed selection is needed.

    Before you jump of your high horse in a huff about the latitude my birds are kept relative to yours, you need to consider most of my birds are kept out in a field with very little if any wind protection even when blizzard conditions are realized with temperatures are below -10 F / -23 C which is a lot tougher than in a wind protected area at -40 F / -40 C. I will often dub comb and wattles to prevent complications stemming from frost bite. The biggest problem for me which you should really appreciate is the effect of cold stress on feed bill. When it get really cold, feed intake more than doubles, water is hard to keep available in liquid / easy to consumed form, and egg production suffers. I can guarantee by chickens are at least as tough as yours when it comes to resisting the elements, yet they benefit immensely when I provide a little heat. If I set up a heat lamp in a wind protected area of the barn when it gets really cold, virtually the entire free-range flock will go to it to loaf and they do not have to eat as much as a result. Cold winters cost me at least a couple hundred additional dollars in feed so I am very sensitive to the problem, especially during the extreme cold when per bird consumption is highest egg production takes a nose dive.

    Look at a way where you can heat a location large enough to warm the entire flock huddled together, not the coop. Make that location somewhat separate from where they get food and water so they can move away from it periodically to meet their needs. My birds are really good at finding warmer locations with their feet. If you can keep their feet warm then they can shunt more blood to the comb and wattles preventing frost bite.

    As a kid we kept hogs and cattle at least part of the time in barn area to give pasture a rest over winter. Chickens would spend time standing on them to keep feet warm. We also had a lot of coon hounds sleeping in dog houses where some of the chickens would actually move in with them to sleep at night and both parties where OK with it.
  7. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada

    I am subject to -40º weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing or heating your coop to help your birds combat the cold.

    Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

    Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.
    This is done by feeding them whole corn as an added supplement in a separate feeder.

    The extra nourishment is more then adequate to bring them through the
    "COLDEST" winter.

    Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

    That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

    I do not add any extra heat or lighting.
    Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

    Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

    I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

    You really do


    have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

    "MAJOR" problems.

    When it comes to lighting if you find you are short on eggs it does apparently help. I personally do not bother in my operation eggs are sold only to neighbours when they are available (if the sign is out I have eggs). Eggs in my operation have a tendency to crack and freeze during the winter months (we do not discard them and are fine but use them in house not for sale) the more eggs you produce during these months the more eggs will fall into this category.

    I have roughly 24 Golden Comet hens the longest I ever been out of eggs can be measured in hours >12<24. You will find that the egg supply in any hen is a finite resource the quicker you milk the eggs out of a hen the faster it will be spent and end up in your stew pot.

    On average one hen produces somewhere between 600 to 700 eggs in its life time. Lighting only effect the speed of delivery of the eggs which at the end of the day would amount to less than a year in the hens life is my guess

    If you do decide extra lighting is necessary have your light on a timer to lengthen the day "MAKE SURE IT IS SECURED BY 2 MEANS OF SUPPORT" one being a "SAFETY CHAIN" in case one fails especially if it is an incandescent bulb or heat lamp.

    I personally raise hens as a hobby; and for their manure to enrich my vegetable garden any thing else the hens provide is merely a bonus.

    Here is one BONUS NOW not many people can enjoy seeing in their back yard on a regular basis.


    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.
    Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

    I have 65 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

    Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.


    I hold the bag in place with these paper binders.

    Easy Peasy Japaneasy

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Lets just say this. The picture of the unfortunate hen's tootsies is identical to the damage axis and allied solders suffered in WWI & WWII.

    The name for it then and now is immersion foot. a.k.a. TRENCH foot.

    One of the benefits that commercial battery chickens enjoy over their non-commercial counter parts is a weather tight, and DRY environment in which to sleep & lay their eggs.

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