Getting ready for winter with Chickens in NJ - overboard?


10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
Jersey Shore
I have been thinking about getting ready for winter - esp. when we suddenly went from 70's down to 50's. I am thinking about making the cookie tin heater for the water - even though I only needed the water heated for a month last year as we don't get that many really cold days in NJ. However, I was thinking maybe we get overboard with this. In the old days they didn't have heat in the house (except fireplaces) let alone worry about chicken coops being warm. Are we (modern chicken pet owners) overdoing this? I'm sure some chickens froze in the midwest and north during extreme weather but they must be hardy little things?
Last winter I worried constantly

I went out to frozen water every day

Then I learned to bring the water in at night and put it back out during the day and that was it

As for the cold, I never lost one to cold, but I have lost them to heat
The only reason I see for insulating or heating a chicken house is so the eggs are not frozen when you collect them.

I see the same thing with the new horse owners. They barn and blanket their horses non stop and end up with horses that are getting sick all the time.
Mine are out 24/7 and are the healthiest horses around. They only need the barn when you get freezing rain.

Proper ventilation and protection from drafts and moisture and most chickens will do well. If they don't then you have the wrong type of chickens for your
area and climate.
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this was last year.... i only use a heat lamp when temps are very very low.
i cover the runs tho.
i have added a second run and more coops. (this is last years pics)
everyone did well here in ct.
i have more chickens more body heat!
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We do have a running stream 25 to 30 yards from the coop that "never" freezes. It slopes very gradually and the birds have been drinking all summer from it. They will be using it through the winter also.
My Great Aunt is an old farm lady...she chuckles at the city girl (me) and her hens.

I told her I was worried about the winter...she laughed & said that once she came outside to find 2 hens FROZEN to the fence!!
She thought that the funniest thing

Obviously, she didn't make me feel any better!
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