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how warm does it need to be in the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Coffeemama7, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Coffeemama7

    Coffeemama7 Chirping

    May 5, 2011
    Central Illinois
    I am converting an old horse stall (in a metal pole barn) into the winter chicken coop.
    It is 12x12, tongue and groove 4 ft up on two sides and 8 ft on the other two.
    I plan to put on a plywood roof, wire over the two open sides and a few heat lamps up.
    Do I need plywood sides over the open rails?

    How warm do chickens need to be in the winter?
    We live in Central Illinois, so it will be pretty cold.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. EggyErin

    EggyErin Songster

    Apr 2, 2011
    N. Ga mountains
    Chickens have a harder time with heat than they do cold. How many do you have? Protection from drafts is the main concern but they also need plenty of ventilation, which it sounds like you'll have. Having water that doesn't freeze is another concern. Otherwise, they'll probably be okay.
  3. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    Have a couple unheated coups and no troubles Canadian winters down into the -30s. Main thing is that they are not damp or drafty. For us trouble in winter is keeping enough venting for air quality without getting drafty and keeping water from freezing, heated waters solve the second challenge though.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Birds vary in their tolerances. For example, my roo is not cold tolerant. His lady friend is. Vice versa with heat. I heat or cool to serve the least tolerant. I have fans and even an AC now for summer needs and heat lamps for winter. BJ roo, an older fellow, can no longer comfortably tolerate temps below 40 degrees. And Ellie can't stand it above 90. So that is the range I work in! JJ
  5. Coffeemama7

    Coffeemama7 Chirping

    May 5, 2011
    Central Illinois
    Ok, thank you for good advise!
    We will probably want drop down sides for the coldest, windy nights.
    This is our first winter, so I hope most of them make it!
    We have about 70 birds, so they will keep each other warm!

    We are also putting the rabbits (8) in raised cages in this area, so there should be a fairly good heat base.

    Will 3 red bulb brooder lights and 1 white bulb be enough for lights?
    Again, Thank you!

    also, they will have a 14x14 outside run for the fresh air freddies:)
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    One problem with attempting to add heat to their pen, aside from the effect on the electric bill, is this. Should the power go off during a blizzard due to whatever or an ice storm with super low temps, they chickens had gotten adjusted to the heat and might struggle. Not a huge concern, but it is a real one.

    Your winter's are mild compared to ours. We don't provide supplemental heat. Cold hardy breeds is all we keep and they do just fine.
  7. Coffeemama7

    Coffeemama7 Chirping

    May 5, 2011
    Central Illinois
    Thank you! That is a great point!

    If we add heat, a generator may be in order, huh?!?

  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I remember last winter it was 19 in the coop all did well but the big roo got some frost bite on his comb & wattles. This winter I will put Vaseline on him.

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