How do I keep chickens warm?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jimz1, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. jimz1

    jimz1 Songster

    Jun 6, 2010
    Coleman, Wi
    Now that summer is winding down here I was thinking about the cold winters that will be coming too soon. How do I keep the chickens warm? Should I put in a heater or would a light bulb work just as well? Or should I let them get used to the cold and let them stay warm with their own body heat. Coop is insulated but not airtight. I haven't put vents in yet but was planning to do this very soon. If I use a light bulb, how many watts would be enough and how high should I hang it? I don't want to use a heat lamp if I don't need it.
  2. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Indiana, PA
    My girls did fine with no heat source last winter here in Western PA and we had a COLD winter last year. On really cold days I kept the coop closed up and only opened their door to the run on sunny warmer days(they usually still stayed in the coop) My coop is not insulated but fairly draft free. I was told if you put a heat source in the coop and the power goes out they could die because they then aren't used to the cold.
  3. JodyJo

    JodyJo Songster

    Sep 27, 2010
    Quote:x2...remember they are covered in Down...I live in Colorado, -25* in the winter...I agree with above poster....
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I live in MN, so my weather is similar to yours. The only "heat source" I had was the heated water dish I had in there for them. My coop is not insulated, but is draft-free. I have vented soffits for ventilation. If you have a draft-free coop with ventilation to help remove the humidity, your chickens should be fine. There are many opinions here about whether or not to heat your coop. You have to do what you feel is best.
  5. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Indiana, PA
    oh and another thing, I don't have electricity out to the coop so to solve the water freezing problem I picked up extra waterers and would take fresh water out in the am (and sometimes in the pm) and let the frozen one thaw in the sink and swap them out each day.
  6. ChlorophyllChick

    ChlorophyllChick In the Brooder

    May 27, 2011
    This will be our first winter with chickens, but here's what I have found so far. Our coop is insulated and many people say that even in Alaska they do not provide supplemental heat. If they are reliant on a heat lamp they will be in big trouble if the electricity goes out. Chickens put off a lot of heat themselves and their feathers should keep them warm enough, although if your coop is too large for the number of chickens you have you may have to supplement heat or close off a section. Still, I am a little nervous and we plan on keeping an eye on them as it gets colder. We may give them a heat lamp on unusually cold nights since they will not be used to it. We also plan to use the deep litter method which should keep it a bit warmer. I think the big thing is making sure their water stays liquid. We plan to check it and refill it often and use a heat lamp on it if we won't be around to check it as often as it needs to be filled. We found some great homemade ideas on here and plan to use a concrete block with the light bulb inside with the waterer set on top. I have also found it recommended that you use flat roosts (like a 2 x 4) that are wide enough for them to fully cover their toes to prevent frostbite. You may need to put vaseline on wattles and combs to prevent frostbite there.
  7. pawsplus

    pawsplus Songster

    Dec 18, 2008
    Middle TN
    I'm in TN but we have 15-25F nights and I worry about my girls. So I have a red heat lamp in the ceiling of my very tall coop. They roost on the top beams up there, so it's just about right.

  8. nanawendy

    nanawendy Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    Bellingham Wa
    I agree w/ above post, but then we don't get the intense cold either. My bigger concern is wet hens. We keep a light ready if the girls get wet and there is wind.

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