Here in Minnesota, Winters can be -35 degrees

Sep 24, 2020
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0
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Hello All,

I live in Minnesota, closer to the Canadian border. It gets very cold. In January and February it seems like the negatives are here daily. I want to keep my girls safe and happy. Last winter, the worst temperature was -32.

Any recommendations on warmer materials to lay in the bottom of their coop? Food recommendations? I will have two heat lamps. I also found a feet warming perch off Amazon for their feet.

Thank you,

Gavin n Chickens
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,345
2,424
243
Maine
Hello All,

I live in Minnesota, closer to the Canadian border. It gets very cold. In January and February it seems like the negatives are here daily. I want to keep my girls safe and happy. Last winter, the worst temperature was -32.

Any recommendations on warmer materials to lay in the bottom of their coop? Food recommendations? I will have two heat lamps. I also found a feet warming perch off Amazon for their feet.

Thank you,

Gavin n Chickens
Why are you putting heaters on mini heaters? Chicken's temperature run at 106F. That's not a typo. What happens when you lose your power in a blizzard. The chickens cool off and then you heat them up again. Chickens lived in the wild and they grow nice down coats. Please don't mess the Mother Nature she's knows better that we do. LOL. I live in Maine I kept 4 chickens in a thin TSC coop in -30 temps and they laid a egg everyday that winter of 18-19. Make sure they are dry and they will be warm. Ventilation is your key here. Good luck.
 

BGcoop

Songster
Aug 5, 2018
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2,052
246
I live in central WI, so just a bit warmer than you but still cold. Our first winter we insulated and had heaters in our coop. despite that we lost a couple combs to frostbite. our second winter we had a new coop built, still insulated, but with better ventilation where there was less drafts, no heaters used(well DH did for like one or two days) and the birds actually did better, no frostbite at all. I was skeptical at first about not heating, I felt bad for them, but I noticed that the coop with better ventilation FELT warmer due to the decreased humidity inside. (I could compare coops as we turned the old one into a goat house)
both our coops are raised slightly. We keep a thickish layer of wood shavings on the floor, but not technically deep litter per say. The second coop has a lower ceiling but both are walk in types and while the pop door is always open during the day, for some reason my chickens refuse to walk on snow so they rarely leave the coop all winter.

edit: I also offer mealworms as treats more often in the winter due to the increased amount of fat
 
Sep 24, 2020
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0
1
We seem to have similar winter temperatures. Tell me more about what you do to keep your chickens safe in these temperatures. What do you use to make sure their coop remains dry? What do you use for ventilation?
 

BGcoop

Songster
Aug 5, 2018
788
2,052
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like I said, no heat lamps. The main door is like a Dutch door, so we keep the top half cracked open for added ventilation. we don’t use deep litter, so we just change that out as needed.
give me a bit I’ll go grab a picture....
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
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USA
Any recommendations on warmer materials to lay in the bottom of their coop?
Wood chips, wood shavings, hay, straw, dry leaves--pretty much any of the usual chicken beddings. Not sand in very cold weather, because sand is not a good insulator.

Food recommendations?
Usual chicken food. They will eat more than usual.

Make sure they have water available--heat it, or carry fresh water regularly.

You can also add water to some of their usual chicken food, to make a warm, wet mush. They like to eat it, and it helps them get both food and water.

Don't leave the mush sitting around long enough to freeze, but it's fine to give them as much as they want to eat in the morning and the evening (or however often you like to do it.)

Yes, I'm assuming the temperature INSIDE the coop will be below freezing. Really, chickens do OK in quite cold temperatures. If you insist on heating the coop, try not to raise it above about 35-40 degrees (farenheit) inside. The chickens stay warm with their nice fluffy feathers, but if you make it "warm" they will not grow as many feathers, or they will decide it's springtime and start to lose feathers.

I also found a feet warming perch off Amazon for their feet.
Check how warm it gets. Burned toes would be a real problem.

And be sure they have a normal perch too, in case they don't like it.
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,345
2,424
243
Maine
We seem to have similar winter temperatures. Tell me more about what you do to keep your chickens safe in these temperatures. What do you use to make sure their coop remains dry? What do you use for ventilation?
Ventilation keeps it dry. Hence your birds are dry. On a cold day wash your hands but dry only one. Now go outside and see what happens to that wet hand. That's the principal of ventilation and dry birds. As you can see from my profile I live in Maine. It's get cold and WINDY here in the winter. I had my birds in a thin TSC in '18-19 winter. They did fine. Check under their wings. Warm isn't it. Check under a hen laying the nest box. Warm to almost hot under their needs to be to hatch and protect chicks. Other birds stay here all winter, blue jays, chickadees, robins, crows etc. None of them have a heated coop to sleep in.
 

wantsomechicks

Chirping
Sep 3, 2017
50
39
73
We had similar temperatures in Wyoming, but likely lower humidity and fiercer winds. We did not use supplementary heat except on very rare occasions. We had weeks on end with daytime highs below zero. We did use an incandescent bulb in the early mornings to increase daylight hours to promote laying. Waterer sat on an automatic thermostatically controlled heat plate to prevent freezing. We had a band of hardware cloth along the top of the coop to provide ventilation. The roof had foam board insulation. Floors and walls were uninsulated. We had pine shavings on the floor. We left the pop door OPEN. ALL WINTER LONG. Never shut it. The pop door faced a fence which cut wind and snow from blowing in. Most of it anyway. Chickens seemed fine., though our egg production was never great through the winter. Got a few eggs a week. White & Barred rocks kept performing. EEs quit from December-late March. The flock always seemed to molt right as the weather got nasty.
 

wantsomechicks

Chirping
Sep 3, 2017
50
39
73
We had similar temperatures in Wyoming, but likely lower humidity and fiercer winds. We did not use supplementary heat except on very rare occasions. We had weeks on end with daytime highs below zero. We did use an incandescent bulb in the early mornings to increase daylight hours to promote laying. Waterer sat on an automatic thermostatically controlled heat plate to prevent freezing. We had a band of hardware cloth along the top of the coop to provide ventilation. The roof had foam board insulation. Floors and walls were uninsulated. We had pine shavings on the floor. We left the pop door OPEN. ALL WINTER LONG. Never shut it. The pop door faced a fence which cut wind and snow from blowing in. Most of it anyway. Chickens seemed fine., though our egg production was never great through the winter. Got a few eggs a week. White & Barred rocks kept performing. EEs quit from December-late March. The flock always seemed to molt right as the weather got nasty.
Also, one of the best things you can do to make sure your flock is safe is to consider the size of your coop relative to your flock. While a smaller coop will be warmer, if it is too small, you invite problems with pecking. This intensifies if your flock is reluctant to venture outside in the snow and gets cabin fever from being "cooped up."
 
Last edited:

BGcoop

Songster
Aug 5, 2018
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This is our current (Good) coop: (Excuse the mess, it needs cleaning and the birds are molting right now. And the missing siding on the front. My DH apparently has an issue finishing projects100%:th)
DBD431B4-35A7-4049-B898-555EBE7B40ED.jpeg

71E9648B-D218-466A-852A-45A837DEBF08.jpeg
E6103F29-E90C-4988-B207-B97043C6EAAA.jpeg
4F68D26F-E071-4195-A01B-FB44BA79D05B.jpeg

is this perfect? No! Does it keep the birds health and warm through the winter? Yes.
 

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