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Help! Winter chicken keeping in certral Alberta Canada!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickens really, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I need as much info as I can get.
    I have an insulated coop. All walls, floor and ceiling. Its 8x8. I blocked off the west facing top vents for winter. Will leave the east vent open. I have to block the vent on the north side also because too much draft blows in.
    I have 11 hens and one rooster. All duel purpose breeds.
    My question is, how cold is too cold?
    Sometimes here the temp can drop to -40 or colder.
    What temperature outside should I turn a heat lamp on? if at all?
    Also my coop floor is sand for easy cleaning. Should I use pine shavings or straw over the winter instead?
    I don't plan on using light in my coop to continue egg laying. I will give them a rest over winter.
    I just really need some advise so my chickens are happy all winter.

    Temp outside this morning was -1
    Temp inside my coop was +8
     
  2. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Irish Colleen Premium Member

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    Sounds cold! I would switch the sand to pine shavings or straw to try and do the deep liter method to create more warmth. Since I live in VA our winters don't get very bad at all so I'm not the one to say how cold is to cold [​IMG], you could read this article Winter Chicken Keeping for more help. I hope you get all your answers!
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Thanks!
    I will pick up pine shaving tomorrow when I go to town. Pine shavings smell better.
     
  4. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Irish Colleen Premium Member

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    Virginia
    I agree :) (I use them also)
     
  5. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    These temperature are in Centigrade?

    Chickens can stand quite cold temperatures. Do not shut down ventilation in hopes they will be warmer. Keep drafts down but ventilation open if possible. I am in Calgary. My coop is not insulated.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Temp is in Celcius.

    Do you heat your coop? What temp do you start adding extra heat?
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You have cold hardy breeds. They can handle cold weather. Don't worry about adding any heat. Each one of those birds are like little furnaces. Well insulated little furnaces too. They really don't need any help there either. In the old book below, you can read about (On pg-24) chickens being kept in open-air coops, in Canada, in -40 temps. So as long as you have a properly sized, and ventilated coop, your birds will be just fine.


    https://archive.org/stream/openairpoultryho00wood#page/n0/mode/2up
     
  8. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be sure you have enough ventilation as the combination of restricted ventilation and cold temperatures leads to moisture build-up, which leads to frostbite on combs and wattles. I also end up having to close the west-facing vent at the top of the coop as the prevailing winds blow right down on the roosting hens. However, I do keep all 3 windows open all winter, although only a small amount when it's -20 degrees F.

    You can protect their feet from frostbite by using wooden 2x4's as roost bars, with the wide side facing up. This gives them a wide roosting area to rest on, which ensures their feet are covered by their breast feathers at night.
     
  9. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Due to ventilation requirements, heating your coop is like opening up all the windows in your house and turning the furnace on. It just is not going to warm your house very much, if at all. That said, I heat the water to prevent it from freezing. I also use a seedling warmer mat. I find the chickens are always standing on it so they must like it.

    An infrared heater may not be affected by the ventalation as other types of heaters.

    See the link for more information seedling heat mat. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/950395/heating-the-coop-seed-warming-mat
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Thanks for all the advise!
    I guess the only time I will use any heat is if it does go down to -40.
    I do have 2x4 roosts with the wide side up for their feet.
    So far their isn't any condensation on my window. I have a drop board under the roost and clean it daily.
    I guess I just worry too much?
     

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