Help me with winter!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NewChickener784, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. NewChickener784

    NewChickener784 In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2016
    Son my 6 girls, 2 are Buffs and 4 are RiR, and about 9 months old. I live in the upper Midwest where it can be a harsh winter, and have been getting 5-6 eggs a day and such.

    I am wondering if they will molt this winter? Do I need to hear their night time area? I have a heated dog waterer outdoors so they have fresh water. They have sand on their floor, in the coop, and outside is dirt, where they are penned. Their run area has no covering from snow or moisture accumulation.

    What should I and what should i NOT do? Again, this is my first winter with the girls and don't want to lose any! They are about 9 months old, give or take. I have had an infrared light on them a couple times for an brief amount of time, and they shied away from it.


  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    They do not need heat. Heat sources out in the coop are a serious fire hazard. Also, birds can become dependant on the heat. If the power goes out, they will not have acclimated and are at risk of death. Heating birds usually causes more problems than it solves.
    Ventilation is much more important. People tend to close up coops too much, thinking that it will help the birds stay warm if the warm air stays trapped in the coop. However, this is problematic due to moisture and ammonia build up. The coop needs ventilation above roosting level to move that bad air, and the warmth, out of the coop.
    You girls are not likely to molt this year, as it's getting to the point where days begin to lengthen again. And most pullets lay right through their first winter.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
    2 people like this.
  3. mich9510

    mich9510 Songster

    Jul 21, 2016
    Southwest PA
    This is my first winter with chickens too. I have its gone as low as the mid teens here in PA and my flocks are just fine with no heat source. They're all under 5 months of age. I wouldn't risk it.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Work on getting the first few feet of the run covered so they can go outside and sit in the sun. An old sliding glass door propped up and secured to the coop makes a nice dry and toasty sun room.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Really any shelter from the wind will make your bird more inclined to go outside. I leave my chicken door open 24 / 7 . Their choice to go in or out. A sheet of plywood, propped up securely on the south side, with some hay bales around it will be a great sunny spot for them to be outside in fresh air, but protected from the wind. A large tupperware bin, laid on its side with a bit of hay inside, will work for 3-4 chickens.

    When it comes to winter and chickens, THINK DRY. More than likely you need it way more ventilation than you think. Not enough ventilation equals damp chickens. Damp chickens are cold chickens, but they do need protection from the prevailing wind. We get way below zero, and if my chickens are dry and protected from the wind, they are warm.

    Mrs K
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016

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