Do you think they need supplemental heat?

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


Sep 6, 2020
Berkshire County, MA
Hi Everyone,

I live in New York City. We originally got our chickens as 4 week olds in March when the pandemic hit. At the time, we were at our country house in the Berkshires (Western MA). They had a pretty small coop, and we got an omlet coop and run about a month after. We came back to NYC in August (and deconstructed, packed into our car, and reconstructed our omlet coop and run) and took the chickens with us. The small starter coop is still in the Berkshires, and we moved it into the garden. We took the chickens back to the country for Thanksgiving week, and they enjoyed living in the fenced in garden with bird netting over the top. We are planning on going there for a month from mid-December to mid-January.

Anyways, my question is how can we keep them warm in that thin wood coop? I don't think it will get below 15ºF. There is a little window (like the one pictured below) which I plan to keep open for ventilation. I have an RIR, Ameraucana, Light Brahma, and Leghorn. How can I check for drafts? Should I get one of those heater/brooder things to keep them warm? Do you think they will need supplemental heat at all?


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I have a coop that is thin wood, too. We put hay bales around the coop for insulation. You could also use straw bales. I throw my chickens a handful of scratch before they go to bed to keep them warm at night. A dry chicken is a warm chicken!
That's not enough ventilation but it's probably difficult if not impossible to add more in a small unit. They should not need supplemental heat at those temperatures, but humidity + cold is a bigger issue than cold by itself.

The way to test for drafts is to place something like a thin light ribbon at roost height, with all vents open, on a breezy day. Some small movement of the ribbon is fine, but if it's dancing around then that's sign of a draft.

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