how do you keep your coop insulated for very cold winters ?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by northernmom, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. northernmom

    northernmom In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2011
    hi there. i am new to this website and to raising hen. i just got myself a brand new, insulated coop and 4 banty hens. the thought of winter scares me a bit. the questions that enter my mind are : how do i keep the coop clean and dry, is a heat lamp useful for a small coop, will the hens still go outside winter time and will they continue to lay eggs... we live in north ontario where winters can get down to -40 celsius on ocassion. please help.
  2. DawnCols

    DawnCols Songster

    Dec 17, 2010
    I'd say be very careful about using a heat lamp. I've read lots of stories about lamps starting fires or chickens burning themselves on them.

    Other than that, I'm looking forward to the responses you get, as I'm getting ready to add insulation to my coop. I'm in Central Ohio and not as cold as you, and my chickens made it through the winter in an uninsulated coop, but got some frostbite on their combs.

    Oh, and mine laid over the winter--just less often. They all molted in the fall, so started laying again during the winter. And they did go running around in the snow. Didn't seem to like to stand in the snowdrifts, but didn't mind wandering around in it.
  3. fmizula

    fmizula Chirping

    Aug 8, 2011
    in winter time i use a deep litter method which is to keep adding more fresh litter onto the old litter to make it more insulated and warmer. and i end up cleaning it maby twice a month. i use a 100 watt light bulb in my coop on the cold days i leave it on for their 14 hours of daylight and this keeps them laying and keeps the coop at about 55 and above all winter (it can be 30 below here in vermont). the light also keeps egg production up. i have 15 birds in a 10 by 6 coop. it is insulated with thick house insulation and has a doublepaine anderson window facing south. i also have a vent on the roof that lets moisture out and keeps heat in mostly. my chickens mostly dont want to leave the comfort of the coop in most of the winter. i do however shovel out the run and open the door on milder days for them. they may go out for a bit and then go back in. they do this thing where they only stand on one foot at a time, i think its cold on their little feetsys. also, i make sure to increase the carb intake to keep internal heat up, like more scratch corn and this also keeps them entertained scratchig at something because boredum can become a problem as well.
  4. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Songster

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    I also use the deep litter method, and nothing else. They seem to do great, and it gets below zero here at times. You can coat the combs with vaseline to prevent frostbite, and also make sure your roosts are wide enough for the chickens to actually sit on their feet----that's how they keep them warm. I have a couple really long 4x6 beams I use for roosts.
  5. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    I did deep litter last winter and no heat or insulation. Got down to -26F and all was well, even with my leghorns. Mine continued to lay eggs, but I had younger chickens so they will often lay through a winter. This winter I expect those chickens to not lay much so I have younger chickens again as backup. Definitely make the roosts 2x4 if not already. We have members here in alaska that do not use heat lamps! [​IMG]
  6. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    Hey ! Fellow Canuck ! .....I live close to Guelph and do not heat my insulated coop normally...... maybe on a cold Jan /Feb night I'll set the heat light to come on in the early morning hours before the sun comes up( depends on what weatherman says) .I do this because if the power goes out for a couple hours they will be use to the cold and not thrown from a snuggly warm coop for many weeks into a flippin' cold coop! . I also do the deep litter method during the winter months and give them a 2 by 4 to perch on so they can tuck there feet close to there bodies . I also give them scratch as a snack through the day . I try to keep the water dish outside ( heated dog dish) but with a couple birds maybe you can figure out a spot for inside ...just try and keep the litter dry ... My birds normally go outside until the first deep snow and then I shovel a section for them and throw down some scratch for them to make them move more ...Also because we have shorter day light hours through the winter months some people put a light on a timer thats turns on a couple hours before the sun comes up which helps the hens produce more eggs. I give my girls a rest for about 2 months and then set the timer up . I also hang partly cook squash/ other veggies in the coop to keep them occupied and moving ...hope that helps ....
  7. There are many GREAT threads here on the subject. Management styles differ, of course. There are great threads on raising chickens with good shelter, but no insulation or heat at all. The single greatest focus needs to be on the breed hardiness, if this style is desired. All the super cold weather tolerant breeds were developed in cold climates, long before electricity was available for heating and insulation was unknown.

    Dainty breeds are a whole 'nother ballgame.
  8. northernmom

    northernmom In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2011
    thank you for the help. i have 4 english banty hen.
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Bantams won't be as tolerant of super cold temps as large breeds...especially if you're talking negative temps. I'm bad with reg. C - F conversions, much less the negative that's pretty daggone cold. What is the size of your coop??? Heat lamps do pose risks, especially if proper care hasn't been taken to make sure they are extremely well secured, in a proper lamp housing, using the smallest wattage possible, and at least 18 inches away from anything (including chickens heads). That being said, I've used them in the past just fine. Since your coop is just for 4 bantams, my biggest concern would be that it's too small to insure the 18" guideline??? You can also google Sweeterheater - a safer form of a heat.
  10. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    Our coop is built inside our garage. Our ceiling is 8-9 ft high. We fully insulated all the walls and we are adding a ceramic heat emitter to the center of the coop. I heard the heat emitter is suppose to be safer then a heat bulb. It's pretty cold here too with the temps in the -20F. Our goal is to keep the birds warm and the water from freezing. We put a wireless thermometer in the coop to keep an eye on the temp inside.

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