In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 26, 2014
Winnipeg, Manitoba
I live up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where temperatures in the winter go down to -40°C. (No, I'm not kidding. ) Typically, I only keep my hens in the spring through fall and give them back to my uncle in the winter to live in his heated, insulated and very large coop. This year, I'm considering keeping them through the winter. To do this, I am aware I will need to take several steps to keep them cozy and have already started a few as the weather is averaging at roughly 4°C this week. (insulating with thick layers of straw for bedding and foam inside the walls, blocking out large drafts, etc)
But now I'm turning to the next obvious step: a heat source.
I know many people like to avoid electrical heat and are very against it, and that's a lovely thought and I wish I could avoid it too.
I have a slight fear of heat lamps. I own one but have always feared turning it on. I dont think I need to explain why. Especially since my coop is not very tall (3 feet or so) and a feather could easily catch fire. Has anyone ever used a heat mat? What are your thoughts? How did you use it?(against a wall, on the floor?) This seems like the safest option to me. I've been looking at one by K&H pets that I would likely place on the floor where they like to cuddle and cover it with some straw. Do you think there's a risk of straw catching fire? How warm to they get? We get plenty of snow here, enough that I can actually shovel it onto of the coop to create some good old fashion Canadian insulation, so I'm not insanely worried about generating massive amounts of warmth. Just wanting to hear others experiences before I order something that I may regret.

Thank you to everyone.


Hoppy Spring 🐇
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
They do sell heat plates that can be mounted to the wall, as well as heated roosts. I haven't tried any though. We get wind chills as low as your temperatures, but not the actual temperature so I can't say if they would be okay without heat or not.


Sep 3, 2016
In the mountains of Southern California
My Coop
My Coop
I would just go without and see how it goes, I bet they come through it fine. Well ventilated and heated would be nearly impossible to accomplish without using a LOT of energy, most of which would go out the vents. So even if somehow you can heat it while keeping it well ventilated what happens if the power goes out and you are not around?

Good luck



Jul 24, 2018
I'm in Ontario so while not as consistently cold as Winnipeg, we regularly dip below -30C without the wind chill. When I forget to plug my car in I boost it with the tractor to get to work!
I don't heat my coop. It's insulated and has lots of ventilation up near the roof. The shortest coop wall is 4', the tallest wall is 5'. I've got 5 hens and no one has ever gotten frostbite. My coop has power (hubby is an electrician, yay!), so I use a heated dog bowl for water, and there's a light so I don't have to do everything in the dark. The power goes out here at least a few times per year, I'd rather not have to hook the chicken coop to the generator too.

My neighbours son lives in Alaska and they rely on their chickens for eggs year round. They don't heat their coop either. It's insulated and they just carry warm water out a few times per day as it doesn't have power.

If you're set on heating the coop then I'd have an electrician check your coop wiring, and have a plan for if/when the power goes out.

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