How cold is too cold?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by papeine, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. papeine

    papeine In the Brooder

    Sep 25, 2010
    I live in central Minnesota... at what temp should I turn my heater on for the chickens.. I have 12, in a coop that's 12x12. It is insulated. I did not plan on closing the chicken door all winter.. I have a spce heater that I put in a wooded box with wire on each side, it has a thermistat for temp control. Or would a ligth be enough to's a shop light, right now it has "plant" bulbs in, which does not throw heat.. any advice for this rooky chicken "farmer" would be appreciated

  2. erlibrd

    erlibrd Crowing Premium Member

    Oct 8, 2010
    I'm also central MN and this is my first winter with chickens. I got them and the coop from an uncle he used a bulb and kept the temp at about 40.
    My coop is smaller than yours with just 3 hens and isn't very well insulated so I have some straw bales around just 2 sides for now. Right now the 100w bulb on from 445pm till 8pm, then again 5am til 9am. The in coop temp gets maybe to the mid 30's @ night when lights are out....&(door closed) I will have to either put in a higher watt bulb or keep it on all night like uncle did because it will get way colder soon! He would turn it off during the day and open the coop door. He told me once it snowed they refused to leave the coop and sure enough we have snow and they won't come out!
    Since your space heater has a thermostat that would work perfect! If my coop was bigger that's what i'd do!
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Well, Ridgerunner beat me to it.

  6. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I had two aunts that lived on farms in S. MN (Owatona) back in the 50's, both kept chickens with no heat in their coops and the birds did fine. Never had a coop fire either. I'd think twice about using heat where it isn't needed. I've managed through 25 years without it and we get t0 20 below.
  7. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    I do have a heat lamp with a ceramic heat emitting bulb in it that is plugged into a thermocube that turns it on when the temp in the coop is 35 and off when it is 45 but I am going to switch to one that turns on at 20 and off at 30. It was in the low to mid 30's here yesterday so the lamp stayed on in the coop but the chickens stayed outside in the run all day during the snowstorm (I have some plastic around the run). I understand they would probably be ok without it as the coop is insulated but it is more to help ME sleep at night.
  8. CARS

    CARS Songster

    I believe this is my fourth or fifth year with poultry here in the land of 10,000 lakes. The only thing I do is close the doors on the barn and plug in the heated water bases.

    Pat's articles listed above are phenomenal!
  9. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    I have a large barn and open it during the daytime. At night, it's closed but I do keep one of the back vents open. To my surprise, my chickens do very well at temperatures around freezing. (I have birds that are noted for cold-hardiness.) I've had some issues with coccidia that caused some birds to get too cold and I had some picking with one group that left one dead, but overall, they've been fine, weather wise.

  10. lauriej57

    lauriej57 Chirping

    Sep 17, 2010
    Southwest Michigan
    Giving chickens heat is more for our peace of mind, than it is for the chickens. They will do fine without heat.

    With that said, I choose to go with my peace of mind, for the most part.

    I have 2 coops, a larger one and a smaller ones. I keep my younger birds in the larger coop, and I do extended lighting in that coop, giving them 14 hours of light. I normally use a 60watt bulb. I will keep the light on 24/7 if it's so cold and blizzardy, wind chills at 10 degrees or lower and they won't go outside at all. When I do this, my water rarely freezes during that time, so I feel comfortable that they are warm enough.

    In my smaller coop, I usually house my older birds, with no extended lighting, hoping to give them a rest for the winter. I do have a light in there, however, which I will use when the conditions are as I described above, an they do just fine. I have a couple of leghorns who have large floppy combs and n the past 4 years, I have not even had any frostbitten combs.

    It really comes down to our individual preferences, they will do fine without light, or heat.

    A word of warning though, about the space heater....2 years ago, we decided to raise our day old chicks outside in the smaller coop, we used a space heater, we had a divider, and there was no chance of a fire starting, however, our electric bill for the first 4 weeks was $150.00, made them very expensive chicks.

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