first winter with chickens

juniper rain

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 5, 2014
I'm looking for some advice on how to set up our coop for the winter. We live in central new york. We are known for bitterly cold temperatures, and record snow falls from the great lakes. Our coop is 32 square feet, has 4 nesting boxes, and is on stilts about 4 feet off of the ground. They have a ramp that goes down to a run that includes underneath the coop. We have 3 hens, and one rooster. Are we supposed to actually heat the coop over the winter? I've read that they create their own heat, and it's not necessary? I'm just worried that the coop is too big for that few chickens to work properly. What would you do? Thanks so much in advance!


5 Years
Sep 27, 2014
Your best is to feed/water your hens in the coop.Be sure to have at least 1 heat lamp.


Apr 26, 2010
North Eastern Md.
Unless you have some kind of thinly feathered exotic breed, you DO NOT need to add any heat. Chickens can handle cold weather. Check out the old book in the link below. On pg-24, you can read about people keeping chickens in Open-Air coops in -40 weather. I have a coop based on the design you see in the book. The whole front wall is wide open, covered only with hardware cloth. I can get temps into the low single digits not including any wind-chill, and the chickens come out everyday, (Unless there is deep snow, then they demand that it's shoveled, before they come out, spoiled as they are). My coop is no where near fully stocked, and in the winter it still is usually around 10 degrees warmer than the outside temp. Sound like you have a properly sized coop for the number of birds you have. Just make sure it's well ventilated, just not so the wind blows through it like a wind tunnel. And forget about heatlamps. All they are good for is running up your electric bill, and possibly burning your coop to the ground.

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