Freezing eggs and getting ready for winter


6 Years
Aug 7, 2013

This will be our first winter with chickens, so I'm planning to learn a lot about winter and chickens over the next 6 months.

But, since I don't want to make any HUGE mistakes, I thought I'd ask a couple of questions.

We're in Manitoba, so the girls will be looking at average daytime high temps of -20 or so, with regular dips into the -30's. Pretty darned cold. Mid December to the end of February will be the worst.

Our coop is 5x6 feet, and about 6 feet tall on the inside. They tend to spend their nights up in the rafters. We have 7 chickens.

My plan is to hang a heat lamp at one end of the coop, over their water and food, which should keep the water from freezing, and the heat from the lamp should rise and keep them toasty up in the rafters. If they're too hot, they can come down. I'll be watching to make sure it's warm enough but not too warm. the coop has no drafts at all, due to the way I built the doors, and the walls and roof are made from plywood. The coop is not insulated mainly due to our hot gets into the high 90's pretty regularly, and I think they'd die in an insulated coop in the summer, regardless of ventilation.

We'll open the small door to their run pretty much daily, untill they tell us it's too cold to go outside. We'll learn what the 'cutoff' temperature is.

Does this sound reasonable?

My primary question is about the eggs. The floor will obviously be the coldest part of the coop, and the nesting boxes, because they are built out from the main coop will be even colder, so I'm concerned about the eggs freezing. Does it matter if an egg freezes? They pretty much all seem to lay their eggs around noon or early afternoon, so it may be a few hours before someone gets home to collect them. I will be piling straw bales around the bottom of the coop, so there will be SOME insulation down low, and wind won't be an issue. I'll be putting some foam tape around the lid of the nesting boxes to prevent any drafts from coming in there.

So, between the lamp and the heat from the birds themselves, do you think the nesting boxes will remain above the freezing point?

Thoughts? Advice?

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