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  1. iloveberry

    iloveberry Hatching

    Feb 15, 2015
    Hey everyone,
    I live in New Hampshire, and it's starting to get pretty cold. It's the chickens' first winter, and I am considering a heat bulb for the frigid hours of the morning. What wattage is best? There are 17 chickens, but the coop has very little insulation. Thanks! Also, now that the chickens have reached their full size, a few have resorted to sleeping on the outside perch. They are all pretty weather-proof breeds, but should I build a third indoor roost? Sorry for all the questions, this is kind of my first time. Thank you!

  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    What are the dimensions of your coop and can you take/post photos showing the interior so we can see any potential causes to the recent aversion to going to roost? Fully feathered, healthy birds of most common breeds have no need for heat and, in fact, stand to have more harm than good come of having it offered to them provided they have a suitable shelter to allow them to be out of direct drafts and allow their natural insulation/heat system do it's job.
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    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 if available or cracked 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 disguard 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.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana

    I took this photo when the temperature was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. The wind was not blowing so they were outside enjoying the sunshine. If the wind had been blowing at that temperature they would not have been standing where the wind could hit them. Much like the wild birds you see in winter, they can keep themselves warm if you can keep a stiff breeze off of them.

    How old are your chickens and how much roost space do you have in the coop? There can be different reasons some want to sleep outside, but a common problem is that some of them can be brutes and bullies, especially on the roosts. Where they sleep is decided by pecking order. The ones on top get to sleep wherever they want. Sometimes they can be pretty rough if a lower ranked bird is in their way or even too close. It’s pretty normal for mine at the top of the pecking order to sleep in one area while the ones at the bottom arte as far away as they can get. The ones in the middle may sleep in the middle.

    Most of the time this gets sorted when they all mature, though not always. But it can be a real problem when you are integrating younger or new birds or if they are still maturing. They mature at different rates and it sounds like yours may be in this stage, almost adults but not quite.

    Adding another roost may be a real good thing to do. It’s not to come to any specific inches per bird number but to give the weaker room to avoid the stronger without having to sleep in your nests or leave the coop.

    As OGM said, photos and dimensions might help us spot something that could be causing a problem. It could be something totally different.
    1 person likes this.

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