Cheap ways to he a chicken coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by backwoodsman4life, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. backwoodsman4life

    backwoodsman4life In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2010
    El Reno, Oklahoma
    I am looking for cheap ways to heat my chicken coop. solar power? propane? any ideas? My situation is my mom wont let me run electric cords for lights to heat the coop. She is afraid it will make her electric bill to high. If now ideas I will be forced to harvest my entire flock cause I will not let then suffer thru a Oklahoma winter.
  2. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    I'm in MI, and we do have some wicked winters.

    I don't plan on heating anything other than the water when winter comes. The coop is insulated, I can board up the giant vents I made to leave the adequate grates, and I made sure the roost boards are nice and big so they can keep their feet covered ( I went the 2x6 route because I had tons of scrap wood that width).

    They generate a lot of body heat, so as long as it's not drafty, they have non-frozen water, and there is ventilation to keep the moisture down, they should be dandy.

    I think patandchickens has a great page on cold.

    I know when I grew up, we did NOT heat the chicken coop for our chickens at all. Everyone was fine. I don't plan on heating this one.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  3. glenolam

    glenolam Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    We have some pretty cold winters in CT as well and we don't heat our coop at all. The only thing we do is keep a light on for about 16 hours to increase egg production, so the bulb gives off a little heat, but other than that our birds just huddle together and they're fine. We haven't lost one to the cold in over 4 years. We do sometimes have issues with frost bite on the combs, but that's when they decide to stay outside in their runs during a blizzard rather than going inside...
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    See my "cold coop" page, link in .sig below, for exactly what you're looking for [​IMG]

    The main thing though is to choose your breeds intelligently and then to manage the coop well (good management of poo and ventilation, so as to have air as dry as possible). With that, you do not necessarily even need supplemental heat. Although solar is free so my feeling is it's silly not to take advantage of it [​IMG] Engineering your coop to HOLD heat as well as possible is the biggie.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. Hecate

    Hecate In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2009
    Our coop is slightly smaller than what would be recommended for the number of chickens we have. Consequentially, our hens like to roost outside in the run when it's nice weather, and stay huddled close together in winter to keep warm. We have small vents to keep heat in during the winter, and we leave the coop doors into the run open during the summer to allow for more air when it's hot. We've never added a light or other supplemental heat, and we've never had any trouble with freezing temperatures. The hens are happy and healthy all year long.
  6. henney penny

    henney penny Songster

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    I live in Northeren Maine and it gets really cold here sometimes and the wind blows a lot.I have an insulated coop and no heat.But I also have hardy breeds(SEXLINKS,EE`S,BUFF ORPINGTONS,)I aslo have silkies in a smaller coop that I keep a heat lamp on when its really cold and at night its on a timer so as not to use to much electec.My dh made a box with a 40 waat light bulb in it and cut out the top and the waterer sits on that and it keeps the water from freezing.My biggest problem last winter was condensation from the body heat of the chickens but hy dh put in more ventaltion this spring and hope that takes care of it.
  7. ND

    ND Songster

    Jul 20, 2010
    I'm sure others will be far more experienced, and will chime in...because I'm a total newbie to chickens, BUT--

    From all of my reading and talking to others (some that live in MUCH colder climates that do NOT heat their coops), I really don't consider Oklahoma winters to be harsh for a properly constructed and ventilated coop. I live in S.E. Kansas and have no intentions of artificially heating the coop. However, I'm not going to be keeping any 'fragile' breeds, either... I think I'll have to be more concerned about the hot, humid temps we can get in the summers.

    Actually, the biggest thing I've come across is that there must be adequate ventilation (above their heads)-- no drafts, but ventilation-- because the humidity within the coop (from their breathing and their poop) is the biggest issue... humid air plus cold is the danger. DRY cold air is tolerated by most breed fairly well-- much lower than our average winter climate. Everything I keep reading says that winter ventilation is usually underestimated... that you need a LOT more than you think to keep the humidity down.

    On the flip side, around here... you see chickens in a huge range of conditions. Everything from literally being tied to a rope (around a leg) and having only a barrel with a hole cut in it for shelter/roosting, to 100% free roam- roosting in trees, to roosting in big open barn rafters... all of them year 'round. Predators can be a problem, I'm sure, but they apparently weather the cold quite well. I'm getting some 'raised eyebrows' at the 'lavish accommodations' I'm building for my birds...
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    "Lavish accommodations." Yup, that's me. Err, my coops. Even the wonky A-Frame has been admired by some folks who are "impressed" with how much I put into coops, construction-wise.

    I've seen some AWFUL chicken lodging in my drives around the country near where I live. The chickens look happy and healthy, if not as gorgeous as mine. (She said, buffing her fingernails in pride.)

    They're remarkably resiliant.
  9. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    Quote:Check out my BYC page, I live in Missouri and for over 15 years do not have water or electricity run to the coop. The chickens do just fine so long as you have ventilation without drafts. I use the deep litter method on a sub-ground level dirt floor--it does contribute to the henhouse heat in the winter. I do have a thermometer in the coop and the chickens can keep the coop 15 -20 degrees warmer then outside with just their bodyheat.
  10. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    We've got a great big thread around here some place about using popcans and heat inversion, blah, blah, blah. Really simple to do really. Do a search of this section, I'm sure you will find it.

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