Heating in very cold temperatures

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickieBooBoo, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    I'm from Winnipeg MB and its about -30 C average through the dead of winter. The coop is always so cold and I'm worrying about my birds now. The ducks are fine but some of the chickens will barely get up to eat now, (they're always snuggled together) I'm worried that they're starve even if theres always food available! [​IMG]
  2. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    I put heat lamps in my coops, seems to work fine for mine.
  3. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    what do you mean, "will barely get up to eat"? Do you mean lethargic? do they have enough access to water and feed? have you adjusted the feed to add enough fat?
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:"Will barely get up to eat" is a pretty bad sign.

    1) You NEED TO INSULATE. Hopefully you could do it properly, but there are some cheap/free "sort of" measures that can be useful too: shovelling snow against the coop walls, stacking up straw bales or bags of shavings against them (although be warned this can breed mice as time passes), scrounging styrofoam packing sheets from stores throwing them away, or even just screwing salvaged plywood against the inside walls of the coop and filling the void with whatever's handy (again, it iwll breed mice over time, but at the moment it sounds like you are in danger of losing your chickens which is a higher priority and you can fix the wall insulation in the springtime). Don't forget to insulate the ceiling too, that is a major source of heat loss. Assuming you have ventilation open, close it down to the minimum you can get away with while still avoiding dampness in there, and have open vents ONLY on the downwind side of the coop.

    2) honestly it sounds like you need to also provide some supplemental HEAT at this point. Several lower-wattage bulbs are safer than one high-wattage one (and no more expensive, after wiring up the fixtures... and frankly buying several regular-lightbulb fixtures w/reflector is cheaper than buying a ceramic-socket heat lamp thingie anyhow [​IMG])

    3) move the food to where the chickens are. I would guess they are probably huddled down into the deepest part of the bedding? Move the food over there. You might add additional bedding too, unless you already have 18" or more. Not only can they snuggle down into it, but it blocks the cold from the earth moving up into the coop. (e.t.a - you might consider adding some cracked corn [also grit] in addition to whatever layer ration you're feeding, as it will up their caloric intake)

    Good luck,

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009

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