how to keep chickens in the winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenpal147, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. chickenpal147

    chickenpal147 Out Of The Brooder

    90
    0
    39
    Apr 8, 2013
    I have 3 chickens in a wooden coop with straw bedding how can I insulate it to keep it warm, I am starting this process early because I am leaving for basic training in a few weeks and I want to get it done before I leave so my dad doesn't have to worry about it, also how do I keep the water from freezing. Last I have a 3 month old chick that is living in a dog crate out side, how can I get her in the bigger coop living with the other chickens so she can be warm to. If I have to I will keep her in the crate outside but insulated very very well, how should I insulate that. The crate is for a medium sized dog and is made of plastic.
     
  2. chicken buddy

    chicken buddy New Egg

    6
    0
    6
    Sep 22, 2013
    I was kinda wondering about that too because I have a couple they won't come in to the big chicken coop
     
  3. chickenpal147

    chickenpal147 Out Of The Brooder

    90
    0
    39
    Apr 8, 2013
    I was thinking that if I can't get her in with the rest of my flock that I would move her into my garage. Maybe you could try doing that as well
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,113
    3,319
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    What kind of winter weather are you looking at? Not your normal or good days but the absolute worst you might see? Chickens are really good at handling the cold with just a tiny bit of help from you.

    The coldest I normally see it here is a little below zero Fahrenheit. I don’t heat my coop and I don’t insulate. I’ve seen chickens sleep outside in a tree in weather like that, below zero. Those chickens were not on a dead branch overlooking the bluff squawking defiance in the teeth of a blizzard. You’ll see that in a Disney cartoon. They were in a sheltered valley in a thicket and could move around to get shelter behind a tree trunk if the wind shifted.

    You are not really worried about a chicken freezing to death in the cold unless a pretty good breeze is hitting the chicken and it is really cold. The danger is frostbite. It is impossible for a chicken to get frostbite unless the air temperature is below freezing. Even then, it would have to be the perfect storm for frostbite to be a problem. High humidity in the coop increases the risk of frostbite. You need decent ventilation above their heads when they are roosting to get rid of moisture from their poop and their breath. Those chickens in the trees did not have frostbite problems but they had great ventilation.

    Freezing water can be a problem. If you have electricity out there you can use a heated dog bowl or maybe do a search on here for a cookie can water heater. That’s basically a light bulb in a metal cookie can with a bowl of water on top. If you try something like that be real careful to not burn your coop down.

    I use black rubber bowls I get at Tractor Supply. If the water freezes in them, just turn them over and stomp them or hit them against something to break the ice out. If you water outside where the sun can hit it, that black bowl stays thawed pretty well, but the sun doesn’t always shine.

    That 12 to 13 week old chick should be fully feathered and can take the cold as well as the adults.

    I integrate my chicks with the flock at 8 weeks by just letting them loose to roam with the adults in the morning. At night they go back to their own separate sleeping quarters. At about 12 weeks I move the chicks in with the adults at night. But a big part of this is that I have lots of room, both during the day and in the coop. If your space is tight, you are at greater risk when you try to integrate them. Some people wait until the chick is 16 weeks or even older before they try to integrate if space is tight.

    Good luck. And from a vet, thanks for your service. Many of us really do appreciate it.
     
  5. chicken buddy

    chicken buddy New Egg

    6
    0
    6
    Sep 22, 2013
    Thank u that helps a lot.. have a blessed day!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by