Heating your coop in winter

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jakell2010, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. jakell2010

    jakell2010 In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2011
    Hi,,I am very new to this, and have had many questions answered here,,,,first off,,I am in upstate NY, and we can get nights in the neg numbers and Jan thru deb rarely above freezing.

    I was looking on the web at Shop the coop dot com, they sell ceramic wall heaters and mats, my coop is 4X6, and one wall heater or even 2 mats would cover the entire coop, they are supposed to be fire. Resistant or proof with limit settings.,,,,,

    What should I do some people say just keep the water thawed, some say the birds are better left cold. The cost for 2 heaters and thermostat was like $300, I have $1500 into the setup so far so a little more is no. Issue. I just want what is best

  2. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    The concern with keeping the coop heated is that the chcikens acclimate and then if the heater goes out, they freeze and die where if they never have heat, they can handle the cold and do fine in the coop with their body heat. Of course it depends on the breed but I would think you would have hardy breeds in upstate.

    I would just focus on keeping the water from freezing. If you are using a system with a 5 gallon bucket, they sell heaters that you can put in the water in the center of the bucket.
  3. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    it gets very cold here in ct. we use a red heat lamp. have for a few years now. when the animals are outside, i do shut it off. its mostly on at night.
    this year, i am going to be buying bales of hay. and place them around the coops. to keep the warmth in. dont know how many ill need. i hope to be using the heat lamp a little less over the winter. my coops are half insultated tho. that does help. i also use the deep litter method. this will be my first winter with 4 ducks, so just gonna plan out for them too. they are going to miss their pool water.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You are likely to get all kinds of responses on this one from people in all kinds of climates with all kinds of different set-ups and management practices. You need to try to match the responses to your set-up and conditions. A walk-in coop on the ground is a lot different than a small elevated coop. Breeds make some difference. Your ventilation makes a difference. Prevaling winds and exposure can make a difference. Is your coop insulated or not?

    Instead of me telling you that you need to do certain things or that you will be fine, let me give you a link to an article that might help. I'll give you a few since the articles are so good, but the cold weather coop is obviously the one you want.

    I'm glad you have the foresight to think about this now as I wait for it to get over 100 degrees again today. If you are uncertain after reading Pat's article, you can do it safely, and you don't mind spending the money, it may be worth it for your peace of mind to heat it some. But try to not heat it too much. If power goes out and they are used to the heat, the sudden change might be hard on them.

    Good luck!

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

    Cold Coop (winter design) page:

    Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
  5. jakell2010

    jakell2010 In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2011
    I have an elevated 4x6 Amish built coop with three window, no insulation, but I was planning on putting foam board on the bottom and roof, then taking hay bales and surrounding the base ( I use to live in a mobile home) so I learned that trick,

    Exposure,,,I am on top of a mountain and we regally see 30 mph sustained winds in winter, I have a weather station, and we had a solid week of negative #'s w/o wind chill,,,,,basically it can get really cold

  6. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    We are planning on using a 250 watt ceramic heat emitter or red 250 bulb. I'm leaning towards the ceramic emitter due to safety reasons. It gets down -20 and I'm making an area where the snow can't fall on the ground in the run. I'll keep them cooped up in subzero temps, but they will go outside if wanted during the nicer days. Our coop is in our garage and the run along side the house. Our coop is also 100% insulated as well. We don't want the waterer to freeze either.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  7. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Ridgerunner, excellent article on the cold weather coop. Now I have something to work with for our winter here. In our neck of the woods it rarely gets much below zero, and then only for a couple of nights deep into winter. It can get very windy in out high elevation and we made sure our coop has the northern side (prevailing winter winds) protected, both for the coop and the run. This will be our first winter with chickens, and I agree, the eye of the master is the key to keeping chickens healthy in winter.

    Thanks for posting this.
  8. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I have only used a heat lamp 1 or 2 nights here in PA over 18 years. Always have had dual purpose breeds. We had a week of -20s in 1994 (first year of raising chickens) and all my barred rocks survived with no problem without heat. Moisture & cold is your biggest problem. Keep the coop dry.

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