Cold coop

jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
Ok.
I’m sure folks who have had chicks for a long time are tired of answering this question.... BUT
This is our first winter with chickens - my husband spent all spring and summer building them a coop that is insulated, draft free and well ventilated. I put a thermometer in there because it’s getting cold her (Massachusetts) and was expecting a toasty coop.

NOPE.
It was 28 degrees in there this morning 😫 which was almost 10 degrees warmer than outside but NOT warm. The girls seemed perfectly content when I let them out, went right to eating veggies and didn’t even bother with their scratch.
SO
My questions are: the coop is elevated (so it’s not on the cold ground), insulated (floors, roof, walls, nesting boxes all have thick insulation inside), the windows have weather stripping so they aren’t drafty, we have a functioning cupola for ventilation. I do NOT want to use a heater, but is there anything I can do to make it warmer?
Also:If the coop is only staying8-10 degrees warmer than outside, what happens when it’s below zero out?
I know that wild birds live here in the winter and survive nesting in trees... I KNOW. But also?? I’m worried 🤣🤣🤣 Any thoughts?? ❤️ 🐓
 

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DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,739
283,421
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Ok.
I’m sure folks who have had chicks for a long time are tired of answering this question.... BUT
This is our first winter with chickens - my husband spent all spring and summer building them a coop that is insulated, draft free and well ventilated. I put a thermometer in there because it’s getting cold her (Massachusetts) and was expecting a toasty coop.

NOPE.
It was 28 degrees in there this morning 😫 which was almost 10 degrees warmer than outside but NOT warm. The girls seemed perfectly content when I let them out, went right to eating veggies and didn’t even bother with their scratch.
SO
My questions are: the coop is elevated (so it’s not on the cold ground), insulated (floors, roof, walls, nesting boxes all have thick insulation inside), the windows have weather stripping so they aren’t drafty, we have a functioning cupola for ventilation. I do NOT want to use a heater, but is there anything I can do to make it warmer?
Also:If the coop is only staying8-10 degrees warmer than outside, what happens when it’s below zero out?
I know that wild birds live here in the winter and survive nesting in trees... I KNOW. But also?? I’m worried 🤣🤣🤣 Any thoughts?? ❤ 🐓
The ideal coop temp is the same as or slightly higher than outside the coop. You need a dry coop, not a warm coop. The chickens keep themselves warm.
 

jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
How old are your chicks and how many?
We have 4 girls about 8 months old. Are you thinking more chickens to increase the heat? Well guess what?? We actually also have 4 more who are 8 weeks old that I still have in the house because I’m not sure how to acclimate them to the cold- and by them I mean I’m too worried because it’s cold. So- maybe I am too crazy for chickens??? 🤣🤪
 

jreardon1918

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
879
1,601
286
Southeast, MA
My Coop
My Coop
Hi neighbor. We are near Foxborough, MA. The coop has no insulation. We leave the windows open year round. The coop got down to 23F & 78% humidity last night. Same as the outdoor temperatures. Right now the coop is up to 25F and the humidity is the same as the outdoor air. The lowest I recall for a temperature in the coop is -4F. The girls did fine. Windows open, no heat. Here is an article I did on prepping for winter. Preparing the girls for winter

Your setup is similar to ours. The run protects the coop. You could open that window in the coop that opens to the run. That will be great ventilation. The chickens will be fine. Really. Promise.
 

TJE

Chirping
Aug 14, 2017
59
49
83
I know what you mean, for some crazy reason they steal our hearts. Rest assured 28 degrees is not too cold for your flock. Think of birds in the wild, they handle much harsher weather. My current 16 week old chicks are experiencing 10 degree temps and they are thriving. Your coop is dry and has good ventilation, they will be just fine. I might add a little supplemental heat if it goes to minus temps but some don't even do that. Your 8 week old are fully feathered and can handle colder too. Start putting them out during the day to get them acclimated. I would be more concerned about integrating them with the older girls. They must be separated for several weeks in the same coop before they have physical contact with each other.
 

GemmaGA

Songster
Jun 11, 2020
138
436
146
NE Georgia (near Athens)
It's been pretty cold here and I have 8 chickens who are about the same age as yours (7 1/2 mo). Similar coop set up, no heater. My chickens seem to be doing just fine - we put up some 4mil plastic around the bottom of the run that is directly under the coop (raised coop) and raked leaves around the base for some insulation so that will hopefully help trap some warm(er) air during the day. We also blocked off the two exterior windows with the 4mil plastic because we have good ventilation overall. It's been high 20s/low 30s here in GA also, and no issues so far.
 

TJE

Chirping
Aug 14, 2017
59
49
83
Oops hit the button too quickly. If you havent integrated chickens before, look up how to integrate. The older girls will be brutal on the younger if you dont do it the right way.
 

jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
I know what you mean, for some crazy reason they steal our hearts. Rest assured 28 degrees is not too cold for your flock. Think of birds in the wild, they handle much harsher weather. My current 16 week old chicks are experiencing 10 degree temps and they are thriving. Your coop is dry and has good ventilation, they will be just fine. I might add a little supplemental heat if it goes to minus temps but some don't even do that. Your 8 week old are fully feathered and can handle colder too. Start putting them out during the day to get them acclimated. I would be more concerned about integrating them with the older girls. They must be separated for several weeks in the same coop before they have physical contact with each other.

I know I REALLY want them to be nice to each other!! we had a few unseasonably warm days late last month and I let everyone free range together and they seemed to do well. I was thinking about putting the littles out during the day in a dog crate so they can all see each other and spend some time together. But if they’ve been in the house (which we keep at about 60 because we have big dogs who get hot 🤣) can they just go out for the whole day?
 

jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
Hi neighbor. We are near Foxborough, MA. The coop has no insulation. We leave the windows open year round. The coop got down to 23F & 78% humidity last night. Same as the outdoor temperatures. Right now the coop is up to 25F and the humidity is the same as the outdoor air. The lowest I recall for a temperature in the coop is -4F. The girls did fine. Windows open, no heat. Here is an article I did on prepping for winter. Preparing the girls for winter

Your setup is similar to ours. The run protects the coop. You could open that window in the coop that opens to the run. That will be great ventilation. The chickens will be fine. Really. Promise.
Hi neighbor, we’re in Carver! That’s a great post- thanks for sharing!! I LOVE that cute little snowman you put on your run ❤️ Which I know is totally not the point, but it’s adorable :)
 

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