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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicken vs duck, Sep 1, 2014.
We have a medium sized barn and 17 chickens
NO - healthy, feathered chickens do not need supplemental heat - they simply need a draft free (but well ventilated) shelter.
We get as low as -20F at night here in the winter. I have never used supplemental heat in my coop. I've never had a chicken freeze to death. I know a lot of people in my area lost birds this last winter but I have never had a problem. My "coop" is only 4'x4' and I have 9 birds that sleep in it. It's pretty cozy in the winter. Just make sure you have good ventilation. My coop is roosting room only. During the day all the birds hang out outside. The food and water are not in the coop.
I've seen too many coops burn down in the middle of the night due to heat lamps. Remember, chickens survived the coldest winters before electricity was discovered.
This was what happened the 2nd or 3rd day after my 5.5 week old chicks went out to live in the coop:
No supplemental heat and they did just fine. We are often below zero here in Northern Wyoming. The cold isn't the biggest enemy - drafts blowing directly on them, ruffling their feathers and taking their insulating layer of warmth away and humidity are the culprits, which is why a well ventilated coop is critical. Warmer, moist air has to be able to escape and fresh air needs to be able to come in to replace it. Another thing that I think is important is to make the roost a 2x4 placed flat side up so they can sit on their feet and keep them warm.
LOL - same thing happened here - moved the kids out at 5 weeks and three days later we went from days of 70/50 to 29 degrees and four inches of snow, lol.
don't think WARM, think DRY....... You want your coop DRY. Think of a car with people in it in the cold. The car is pretty much air tight and within minutes, water starts collecting on the windows. WET chickens are cold, and frost bit chickens. WARM air holds more moisture.
When I started, I just kept thinking if I could just get it more tight, less drafty, it would be warmer. However, the dampness takes away from the insulating factor of the feathers.
DRY chickens are warm chickens. No heat lamp is needed for feathered chickens. Heat lamps are only for chicks still in the down.
I love this analogy!