Does coop need to be heated thru winter??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by figaro78, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. figaro78

    figaro78 Out Of The Brooder

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    Its our first winter with our birds and I'm wondering if we ought not to be heating our chickens & ducks?? We live in Oklahoma and our winters aren't that bad. Lows generally are in the 20-& 30's. A few times a year, we might get down to the teens or so. They are all about 8 months old. At the moment, we have a 250 Watt red heat lamp on the inside of the coop and a 125W clear lite on the outside of the coop, still inside the pen though (b/c our ducks dont go into the coop to sleep. However, they go into the coop to lay their eggs at times.)

    Since we have added the lites, the chickens have all started roosting on their outdoor perch and not in the sheltered coop. This past summer and up until the lites were added, they would go into their coop at nite & not emerge out until daybreak.

    So, are we overkill on the lites?? I kinda think so, but I would like to here it from experienced chicken lovers! Not to mention, I'm a bit worried what November's electricity bill will be?! [​IMG]

    BTW: This pic was taken this summer. Since that time, we have also added clear corrugated plastic up 4' all the way around the pen to give them a wind block.

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  2. LilQtBear

    LilQtBear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard and read heat isn't really needed, the birds will "feather up" for winter. If kept too warm may have hard time adjusting if power goes out for any reason. We are generally in the 30's here in oregon at night and my birds are roosting in barn not in coop at no heat in there...small heat lamp lower for younger birds but they don't even try and get under it cuz they are used to not having it
     
  3. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope. You do not need to heat your coop. For some perspective, you might try looking up the thread titled, "Think it's too cold for your chickens? Think again..."
    It was started by someone in Alaska. It sure calmed me right down about any cold weather we might have.
     
  4. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey Figaro,
    I live in Texas, and like you, have usually very mild winters. Last winter was one of the harshest winters I have ever seen here in North Texas. I have a converted dog run for a chicken coop. The ONLY thing I did for my chickens last year (record breaking freezing temps, rediculous amounts of precipitation [sludgy snow]) is provide them with a wind break, and lots of straw. The wind break was a simple tarp and walls, leaving one side open. Here is a picture for you:

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    I used the cinder blocks to keep the tarp in place, and loaded lots of straw (still baled) up the sides to keep the draft out.

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    I added straw as extra insulation between the wall and the wire mesh, and used plastic to cover the gap at the top.

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    I put a plastic dog house under the nest box rack, just in case they wanted the small space to keep warm. More bodies in a small area equals more warmth for everyone.

    Honestly, I prefer the less is more approach when it comes to the question of suplemental heat and light. Every one of my chickens (including my bantams and my rooster) did fine. No frostbite, no issues. Keep in mind, I have a simple converted dog run with a nest box "rack", some cinderblocks to keep the feed and water elevated, and free of debris, and I simply created a tarp wind break with straw bales at the bottom.

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    His comb looked bright red and healthy all winter long. My friend who keeps New Hampshire reds had several roosters loose all the points of their combs to frostbite, but she has pure free rangers who roost in trees at night.

    I don't have any suplemental light or heat at all in my "coop". I think your flock will be fine without heat [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  5. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

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    For grown chooks, heat isn't really necessary. The winters are certainly never overly cold over here, but chickens usually keep themselves warm with all that feather!
    I would however be careful of cold winds blowing through the coop, I've heard that's more dangerous than the cold temps themselves, so like Kari said I'd put in some sort of wind break. [​IMG]
     
  6. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Provide a dry, draft free shelter for your hens and you should be in good shape. Ensure they have free access to a quality feed formulated for their nutrient needs and fresh, clean water.

    Jim
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Yay Chicks! :

    Nope. You do not need to heat your coop. For some perspective, you might try looking up the thread titled, "Think it's too cold for your chickens? Think again..."
    It was started by someone in Alaska.
    It sure calmed me right down about any cold weather we might have.

    This. Very informative.​
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay :

    Provide a dry, draft free shelter for your hens and you should be in good shape. Ensure they have free access to a quality feed formulated for their nutrient needs and fresh, clean water.

    Jim

    Simple, good and to-the-point advice. I agree. Healthy, well-feathered chickens should do quite fine all winter long with these guidelines.

    The only maybe exception to this I might add would be for much older, infirm, bare-naked molting birds, which many backyard chicken folks do have, but still, body heat from the other birds and them sitting together at roost time will keep those warm, even when they themselves are missing some feathers. I never heat my coops and we get down to near zero here at my elevation in the mtns of N. GA. I did add a heat lamp over the one roost location for one special elderly hen with severe arthritis in her feet last winter, but that is not the normal situation and she has since passed on. If I was not going to put her down, I saw no reason to make her suffer for a principle.​
     
  9. figaro78

    figaro78 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Everyone! You have surely made me fell much better about my chickens. I read the post on Think your Chickens are cold in ALaska and now I feel like an idiot... lol! If they can survive an Alaskan winter without supplemental heat, I'm sure my Okie chickens will be just fine! [​IMG]

    I posted a few more pics of the winter retro-fitting we did this past week to keep the wind off the birds when they are getting some sun. Also, I do not give my chickens free roaming passes becasue we live in an urban setting with MANY neighborhood dogs that run loose. But they ALWAYS have fresh water and good feed & seem really happy. Is free roam time neccessary???

    They are ALL laying almost everyday. lol! I get 2 duck eggs & almost always 4 chicken eggs EVERY day, (3 brown eggs & 1 easter egg). So I guess we are laying at our 100% potential! LOL! We may not have any food in the fridge, but we wont starve, bc we have PLENTY of eggs to live on! [​IMG]

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  10. figaro78

    figaro78 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 9, 2011
    @Kari: Beautiful birds! We have a red one & a speckled black & brown one like yours too! Love the close up of your rooster! No roosters in our flock, we are all females here!

    @Speckled Hen: Thanks, all the advice I got was great! I did not think about older birds possibly needing heat, I will keep that in mind as mine age. How long can happy, healthy chickens live? We did have a bird that molted completely this summer and we named her Mrs. Ugly. She looked like some kind of prehistoric dinosaur. lol! But she has since grown in all her feathers and is the prettiest chicken in our flock. Go figure! LOL! [​IMG]
     

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