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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 5littlehens, Jan 1, 2012.
Are my chickens safe in the winter cold or should I do something to keep them warmer?
There are many threads on this subject on this site.
Folks in Alaska as well as way up into Canada do not heat their coops in winter.
Search around, there is a lot to be learned here. And not only on this subject.
Block the wind and give them a dry place to sleep, they will take care of the rest.
PS.. what country/area are you in?
They really don't need your help to stay warm.
A lot depends on where you live, but most people need a coop for locking them up at night to be safe from predators. You need a lot of ventilation overhead to reduce the humidity and frostbite threat, but they should be out of drafts or direct wind. Keep everthing dry with deep pine shavings for bedding and they should be fine without heat, as long as they are fully feathered (usually by 7-8 weeks of age.) Many folks on here in Canada, Alaska, and upper U.S. never heat their coops. Make sure they have a water source that won't freeze, such as a heated water bowl.
Provide a dry draft free yet well ventilated coop and lots of food and they will be fine. Feathers provide great insulation.
You don't need to keep them warm, really. Nature has already seen to it for several thousand years. Down coats and layered feathers.
We have -20F with regularity and -30F on occasion. Dry, sheltered, lots of straw, well-conditioned, well-fed and they're just fine and still lay well.
Much like any type of farm livestock (sheep, cattle, horses, etc.) as long as the chickens are sheltered, and have their food and water, they will be very happy. I had some chickens even rough it out last year outside of the coop, deciding to live in the lean-to area with the sheep...they were just fine (although the sheep were not fond of the chickens roosting on their backs at one point!) Luckily all of the chickens have decided that the coop is their best bet this year...
Thanks everyone. Great tips.