How to keep chickens warm during winter?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Nov 5, 2011
This has probably been asked before and I'm not even sure its in the right category.
I'm worried about keeping my two chooks warm outside the coop during bad weather, they will have a brand new coop by winter that will keep them nice and toasty but they don't like to stay indoors the whole day. Today its been cold and rainy yet they refuse to stay in the coop, I suppose they like to be in open air or something.
They have the whole backyard to wander around and usually when its rainy they huddle under they shade near the house. They don't seem to mind, but I don't want them to get sick, is there something I can build or some special way to help them stay a little bit warmer while outside?
We don't get snow here but it's always cold, windy and rainy during winter.

enjoyin' my chickens

8 Years
Jul 13, 2011
Hinesville, Ga
I have read a few responses to this type of question. A lot of them vary between heating lamps and that the chickens have the "down" fluff under their feathers that acts as an insulator for them. I have seen many of pictures of chickens walking around in the snow without any type of warming element on here. I am in South East Ga. and we have been having 70's- 80's for the better part of the winter so I have not personally experienced the harsh winter cold. I hope that this helps you in some way.


10 Years
Aug 12, 2009
Any area to get out of rain or wind.

In my backyard during the summer months I leaned 2 landscape timbers onto the fencing. I ran a roll of reed fence timber to timber.Then covered with a tarp. Put a nest box,food ,and water in there.If it rained they went into the lean-to. Now I moved the same thing to the side of their coop so they have a place to hang out of the snow,wind,rain.

Any type of cover.Some straw bales to create some walls,and a top over that.Just secure it well.Darn winds tear off my covers all the time.

Ole rooster

8 Years
Jun 25, 2011
Milner, Georgia
You say they don't like to stay inside during the day. Most likely you would find they don't like a lot more things you make them do if they had a choice. Give them a way outside and let them make a choice. You will have a lot happier chickens, and warm to boot. Just let um be chickens.

Fred's Hens

Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Since you don't say where you are, and you don't get a lot of snow, "cold" is a relative term. To me, where we live, cold means minus 10F or minus 20F and get a lot of snow. We have those temperatures every winter. We have never provided a heating device and our family have been keeping chickens in this state for almost 150 years.

If you are getting rain and not a lot of snow, your temperatures are in the 30's and above. A chicken need to be sheltered from the wind. Wind can blow cold over their skin, and blow cold under their down and feather coats. If you provide them a dry, sheltered place? The chickens will be just fine, as they have been for thousands of years.


11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
Ours hang out under the deck when it rains. With high artic winds they huddle against the back wall of run (under the coop) that we put a tarp over. They really don't need additional heat, good ventilation and shelter is all. We've had -15F here already and they're fine, no frost bite combs.


9 Years
Jan 19, 2011
Escanaba, MI
Basically repeating what has already been said, but as long as their shelter is dry and draft free with adequate ventilation, they don't need supplemental heat. Where I live, the winters are pretty brutal, and my chickens have taken it in stride. In fact, if I don't let them out to free range on a bitterly cold day, or when it is snowing, they are giving me a piece of their minds! They run out over the snow to do their normal, chickeny daily activities like it was nothing.


6 Years
Nov 13, 2013
I live in the Boston South Shore and today the wind chills are lowering the temperature to 16F. I see my chickens standing in one leg, we got the water heater because it already froze before so they will have water but I am not sure about how to make them more comfortable. I spread pine shavings on the dirt. Should I do something else?


6 Years
Jun 21, 2013
We got our first cold snap last night. I live south of Houston. We boarded up one side of the chicken house because of the cold wind. Bless my hubby he does care about our little flock. We just wanted to block the cold wind. That really all we will do. It doesn't get that cold here.


6 Years
Oct 2, 2013
This thread is so old you probably should go somewhere else on BYC and ask. I was wondering myself if I could use saw dust to put on the floor.

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