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Do I have enough chickens in the coop for winter nights?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dustbath, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. dustbath

    dustbath Songster

    Jun 26, 2008
    Washington County, NY
    I have a question about cold weather management. I live in southern Washington County, New York, about 40 miles northeast of Albany. It's often in the 20s (F) in the winter and there are some nights that dip below zero.

    I've had four chickens in an 8-foot by four-foot coop for several years. I divided the space in half with poultry netting, so they are actually in 4 by 4 feet but there's nothing blocking off the other half but the netting.

    After a couple of unfortunate events this summer, I ended with four chickens but two half to be separated from the others. I now keep two in one side of the 8X4 coop and two in the other.

    I'm concerned that there aren't enough birds to keep themselves warm in the cold nights. I use an incandescent light bulb to add heat but don't want to use a heat lamp because of worries about fire.

    Will the fact that they are now spread over the entire space mean that they are colder? They can roost next to each other (with the poultry netting in the middle). I could get some more birds, but they'd come from the auction house and I wouldn't be able to quarantine them.

    One of the chickens is a rooster I inherited this summer who has never had access to a coop (he's spent his entire life outdoors, roosting in trees).

    Does anyone have any thoughts?

    Many thanks!
  2. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I use a brooder lamp with a 250 watt red heat lamp bulb. It has a clamp. I bought another clamp that squeezes on to secure it better to a bracket. It is about 3 feet over an area of my birds roost. The birds get as close and far from from the lamp as the want. I have many birds so more warmth. I have two coops one is made of wood and one is metal. I have a lamp in both coops.
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I would think that if the coop is draft free they would be fine.
  4. dustbath

    dustbath Songster

    Jun 26, 2008
    Washington County, NY
    The coop is relatively draft free but is not insulated. Will it matter that they now have access to the whole space (4X8), if in previous winters they were in half the space and separated from the remainder only by chicken wire?

    Thanks again!
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Just put a max-min thermometer out there, at roost level near the roost, and see for yourself [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. dustbath

    dustbath Songster

    Jun 26, 2008
    Washington County, NY
    That sounds workable. Thanks!

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