How to keep chickens warm without using a heat lamp??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by katelk, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in TN so the vast majority of the time it is simply "cool" in the winter. However, over the next few days it is going to be unisually cold (down to 1F)
    Since my girls have never experienced real cold or even snow (at all ever), how might I ensure they are safe and warm without using a heat lamp?
    Their coop is a 6ft tall (9x12) lean-to style shed with the entire front open except for hardware cloth. So it is pretty open, which is great normally, but now I am worried.
    Thanks for any ideas!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    As long as the open front faces away from the prevailing wind they should be fine. Keep them dry, provide feed ad lib and all should be well. If the open portion faces the prevailing wind, I would cover it with heavy duty plastic or a tarp.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    x2
     
  4. millivanilli

    millivanilli Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the answers.

    We're in CT and it's supposed to be like 9 below. My man friend told me to do the same thing so I covered all the surfaces, used some items like a hay bale, wood pallets, and half a dog kennel as wind breaks, draped a tarp and moving blanket over the coop.

    I might freak out and bring them in the house, but I have 2 golden retrievers in here, not sure which is worse, that or the cold, probably the dogs.

    I'm so worred about them. [​IMG]
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Never forget that chickens are survivors and they have their own down comforters.
     
  6. millivanilli

    millivanilli Out Of The Brooder

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    Ha ha you know how to cheer me up!
    They went to bed because I made it all dark in there. Hopefully they will just sleep through the whole thing.
     
  7. Chickens are a lot hardier than most people think, even the non hardy breeds (probably the only problem with cold will be frostbitten combs, which should be fine as long as you don't have any roosters), and if your golden retrievers are anything like mine, than having them together will be a nightmare.
     
  8. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok that makes me feel better. Their coop opening faces a large shed, making about a 3 ft walkway in between. That usually keeps the wind issue covered. I will probably still put up a tarp.

    Also, I may have mentioned that the coop is made out of metal on a wood frame. Would the whole coop being cold thin metal and not being wood make a significant difference?

    I DO have 2 Roos in there. One is a young roo with a very high, thin comb. I have been worried about him getting frostbite all winter!
     
  9. smudge

    smudge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ditto on heavy duty tarp. I think the ones with silver backings should reflect heat better - but they might want to peck at it. Might want to pile hay (or leaves, in a pinch) to keep out drafts.

    Clear shower curtains can be used, if you want precipitation out, but let in light. However, they aren't designed for outdoor use, and some get brittle quickly in the cold. They do work better than the Frost King Outdoor window kit I had kicking around. (Wouldn't work with my windows, so figured it was work a try - what a pitiful product.)
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Your shed should be just fine. Frostbite is most often caused by cold and humidity, so don't button your coop up too tight! My coop is wood, but I have one window tilted open about 2" at the top and that has seemed to help keep the humidity down in the coop. If your walls are frosty on the inside, you have too much humidity in your coop. Remember, humidity is the enemy - not the cold.
     

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