Biggish coop, few birds, will it stay warm enough?

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
269
490
167
DeWinton, Alberta
My Coop
I'm beginning to think about winter, as here in Southern Alberta, Canada it is already beginning to get pretty chilly in the mornings. Though I'm guided by those who have already experimented with open air (Woods) coops in cold climates I can't help but worry that with only 4 chickens, they may not stay warm enough in my 6 x 10' coop.

They tend to roost all on one end of the 6' roost so are only taking up about 18" of the space, leaving an awful lot of cold air space around them. The coop is insulated but open. Ventilation should not be an issue, though yesterday morning we had an ambient humidity of 75% which extended into the coop. This is not normal, we are normally very arid. It sure felt cold to me...

Will they really stay warm? We are blessed to generally get somewhat mild winters - for Canada - but last year for example we got a solid 30 days of very cold (-22 F) weather. Yes, it sucked.

Should I be planning for emergency heat? Creating a roost divider to hold the heat? or just chilling the heck out and waiting to see how it goes.

#nervousnewbie
 

BigBlueHen53

Peace, fear not.
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
7,557
26,355
817
SE Missouri, USA
Others may chime in and probably will ask for pics of your coop, but in general, as long as your birds don't get wet and high humidity is not a factor, leading to frostbitten combs, they should be fine. So if you have adequate ventilation and no drafts, no worries.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
22,557
169,396
1,592
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
I'm beginning to think about winter, as here in Southern Alberta, Canada it is already beginning to get pretty chilly in the mornings. Though I'm guided by those who have already experimented with open air (Woods) coops in cold climates I can't help but worry that with only 4 chickens, they may not stay warm enough in my 6 x 10' coop.

They tend to roost all on one end of the 6' roost so are only taking up about 18" of the space, leaving an awful lot of cold air space around them. The coop is insulated but open. Ventilation should not be an issue, though yesterday morning we had an ambient humidity of 75% which extended into the coop. This is not normal, we are normally very arid. It sure felt cold to me...

Will they really stay warm? We are blessed to generally get somewhat mild winters - for Canada - but last year for example we got a solid 30 days of very cold (-22 F) weather. Yes, it sucked.

Should I be planning for emergency heat? Creating a roost divider to hold the heat? or just chilling the heck out and waiting to see how it goes.

#nervousnewbie
Conveniently enough, chickens come equipped with their own built-in furnace and insulating down coat. As long as that coat isn't being blown open with windy drafts, they can sit on their feet and the coop is DRY, they will be just fine.
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
2,000
6,378
427
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
Yes, keeping them dry and draft free in the winter is the key and the birds will mostly do the rest in keeping themselves warm. Also, some breeds are more cold hardy than others.

Having said that, last year was exceptionally cold here in northern Minnesota where I live. We had 2 weeks of -40F at night and days were only -30F. I talked to a number of chicken owners, who, for the first time ever, ended up buying those Cozy Coop Heaters because of the high loss rate of their chickens. Our local farm store sold an entire shelf full of those heaters in a few days. It was just too darn cold and birds were dying. I don't know how well they work as this will be my first winter with laying hens. I did buy one after talking to some people who had a high bird loss for the first time. Those Cozy Coop Heaters heat the chicken via radiation, don't take much electricity, and are not designed to heat the coop itself.
 

BigBlueHen53

Peace, fear not.
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
7,557
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SE Missouri, USA
It is my understanding that birds with a pea comb do better than those with a big, floppy comb, as the latter is more subject to frostbite. Also it seems to me that bare-legged birds would fare better than feather-legged birds, as the latter would be more likely to have mud and snow accumulate, causing problems. But having only bare-legged birds, that's just my opinion, I don't speak from experience.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
84,199
97,487
1,677
SW Michigan
My Coop
Will they really stay warm?
Yep...because....
Conveniently enough, chickens come equipped with their own built-in furnace and insulating down coat. As long as that coat isn't being blown open with windy drafts, they can sit on their feet and the coop is DRY, they will be just fine.
or just chilling the heck out and waiting to see how it goes.
Yep....it'll be alright.
You have the best cold weather coop design out there.
 

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
269
490
167
DeWinton, Alberta
My Coop
Yes, keeping them dry and draft free in the winter is the key and the birds will mostly do the rest in keeping themselves warm. Also, some breeds are more cold hardy than others.

Having said that, last year was exceptionally cold here in northern Minnesota where I live. We had 2 weeks of -40F at night and days were only -30F. I talked to a number of chicken owners, who, for the first time ever, ended up buying those Cozy Coop Heaters because of the high loss rate of their chickens. Our local farm store sold an entire shelf full of those heaters in a few days. It was just too darn cold and birds were dying. I don't know how well they work as this will be my first winter with laying hens. I did buy one after talking to some people who had a high bird loss for the first time. Those Cozy Coop Heaters heat the chicken via radiation, don't take much electricity, and are not designed to heat the coop itself.
The local woman who I took a basic chicken keeping course from bought one of these last year as well. It was her first time too as it was just so cold for so long...
 

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
269
490
167
DeWinton, Alberta
My Coop
It is my understanding that birds with a pea comb do better than those with a big, floppy comb, as the latter is more subject to frostbite. Also it seems to me that bare-legged birds would fare better than feather-legged birds, as the latter would be more likely to have mud and snow accumulate, causing problems. But having only bare-legged birds, that's just my opinion, I don't speak from experience.
Yes, I've heard the same and all of my breeds are smaller combed for better cold hardiness. They've come from a breeder who lives in a similar climate to me.
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
2,000
6,378
427
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
The local woman who I took a basic chicken keeping course from bought one of these last year as well. It was her first time too as it was just so cold for so long...
Could you ask her at what temp she turned on the Cozy Coop Heater? From what I understand, it's best to let the chickens keep themselves warm, but when it gets down to -40F, a lot of people started losing birds around here.
 

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