Cold weather is coming....

Mr Grandcanyon

In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 14, 2010
36
0
32
St. Johns, AZ
At 4:30 this morning it was 43. So not long until we start hitting freezing temps and lower.

My FLOCK! is Speckled Sussex. They are allegedly hardy cold weather birds. Their coop is compact, built for 10 but I only have 5. They seem to roost together on one of the 2 roosts all facing the same way (the line of poop confirms that).

Will I need to put some heat source in there or will they do fine? Because I occasionally will be gone and relying on the neighbors, I'm trying not to have to close up their small door to the pen. I also like the ventilation it provides (there is another vent at the roof line).

There is plenty of straw inside and they keep rearranging it to their changing tastes....

Heat or not???
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Tomhusker

Songster
10 Years
May 28, 2010
601
66
201
Carson, Iowa
Info in your bio would help us know what kind of winter you can expect. Where are you located, how cold does it get?
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That would make it easy for those smarter than me to answer your question.
 

Mr Grandcanyon

In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 14, 2010
36
0
32
St. Johns, AZ
Sorry... I'm in Northeastern Arizona... St. Johns area. Elevation is 6300'. Winter nights can reach teens. Days USUALLY get back above freezing. Occasional storm dump snow which usually melts in a few days. Last winter was the heaviest in recent memory (where is Global Warming when you NEED it?). I've already ordered a heated water dispenser. The coop/run is on the east side of the house... right near the house so it gets some shade from the direction most storms usually come in from.... the west.

Hope this helps...
 

Kittymomma

Songster
10 Years
Sep 9, 2009
3,873
31
204
Olympia, WA
You shouldn't need to add any heat for adult, fully featherd birds at those temps. Mostiure is more of a problem then cold, as long as your coop has good ventilation but is not drafty they'll be fine. We got down into single digets last year (Not the norm for the pnw) for a week or two last year and my flock did great--they were even wading in the pariall frozen creek that runs thru the field.

ETA: The heated waterer is a great idea! My coop is about 200' from the house and hauling water out there a few times a day got old fast!
 
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ella

Songster
13 Years
Jan 18, 2007
1,209
34
204
Aboard the the Heart of Gold
As long as they have all their feathers (no amorous roosters around) they'll be fine even far below freezing. But if it makes you feel better you can provide heat, they do appreciate it.

I always have heaters going when it gets below freezing here. I try to keep it around 30* F minimum during the winter. I have several smaller breeds and they spend most of the winter happily indoors. I know they like the warmth.

Just observe their behavior and they'll tell you what you need.
 

woodmort

RIP 1938-2020
9 Years
Jul 6, 2010
3,524
977
301
Goodness 43! We had frost yesterday and the birds were fine with the coop windows still wide open. I doubt you'll need to heat for them if your temperatures stay above 20 below--mine seem to do fine at those temps with no heat except what they supply. The danger from possible fire or loss of power and their not being accustom to cold, far offsets the need for an extra heat source. Just because you're cold doesn't mean your down cover birds are.
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Mr Grandcanyon

In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 14, 2010
36
0
32
St. Johns, AZ
Thank you all for your replies.

I think I now have the courage to NOT heat the coop. I agree the danger of a short circuit fire far outweighs the benefit. They all are full feathered.

One of my goals if for the FLOCK! to live as natural a life as possible. This includes normal day/night cycles (no artificial light) and normal seasons.....

I'll tell you this forum is great
 
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Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
594
448
South Georgia
If it makes you feel any better, heat presents another problem. They get used to it. Which means if the light bulb burns out, power goes out, heater dies -- they will be in trouble because they won't be accustomed to it.

I agree, think low moisture and no drafts on the roost. And unfrozen water. Forget heat.
 
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SmittenChicken

Songster
9 Years
Apr 23, 2010
300
7
128
Thanks for this thread, this will be my first winter with chickens and I've been told by a few people (landlord, feed store "expert") that I need to put a heat lamp up in the coop this winter. I've been worried about the fire hazard and have wondered if it's really necessary, since I read that chickens are fine to -20F as long as they're dry. Our 13 girls have no rooster so they are fully feathered, and we made a point of getting breeds that are said to do well in cold weather - Black/Red Stars, Light Brahmas, Speckled Sussex, White Rocks, Easter Eggers. Their coop is pretty large, maybe 20' x 15' but has south facing windows and we've been doing the deep litter method which I've heard puts out a fair amount of heat. We're in Colorado, so we get a lot of sunshine and not much humidity.
I like what others have said here about keeping things as natural as possible and allowing the birds to adapt to colder temps. I think I'll just be sticking with a heated waterer unless the cold gets really extreme.

I'd love to hear everyone's recommendations for a good winter water setup.
 

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