insulation and heat?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fetchdog, May 14, 2009.

  1. fetchdog

    fetchdog Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2009
    fayal township, mn
    how much heat do chickens need in the winter? i live in northern minnesota where it occasionally drops to -40 but averages around zero. i have bantams. my coop design is (so far) uninsulated and well ventilated. will it be enough to close up the eve vents for the winter or will i need to provide an additional heat source?

    thanks!
     
  2. mtcougar832

    mtcougar832 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 7, 2008
    Northwest Montana
    I'm in NW Montana, I had 4 chickens in the coop last year (8x8 building) with 2 rabbits in suspended cages. The chicken door and a vent were open, but I put plastic over the windows. No insulation or heat (not even a light bulb). The animals did fine. I was miserable when I went out though [​IMG] My hens didn't lay an egg all winter. They restarted in the Spring. That might be more due to no light rather than the temperature.

    I moved the rabbits out and added more birds (should be 8 this winter). I'm also going to insulate the roof before next winter and run a light out there.
     
  3. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2008
    I have an uninsulated well ventilated coop. As long as you are able to keep your bedding dry you should not have a problem. The difficulty is keeping fresh warm water, but that can be solved with a heated water bowl.

    I had a rooster that got some frostbite on his comb and wattles, but the girls were fine. I did not even have a light in my coop. The only hen that laid for me all winter was my Buff Orp, but she was the only one who was laying before we went down to 8 hour days. They all began to lay in February as the days got longer.

    Temperature is not as much of a problem as long as there is no dampness. My neighbor has a smaller coop, insulated, with more birds and she had MORE problems with frostbite because of ventilation issues.

    We did see -50 here this past winter.
     
  4. fetchdog

    fetchdog Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2009
    fayal township, mn
    thanks! the water is an issue i'm concerned about, and i posted a question elsewhere about it....
    they seem so similar to our local grouse that i'm just amazed that they can't eat snow for water and handle the cold as long as they are dry and out of the wind. i'll probably end up wiring the coop for heat and water warmers, and might as well add a home theater with surround sound!
     
  5. brandytab

    brandytab Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Everyone seems to echo what I've been told by a local farmer, who raises chickens, pheasant, pigeons and quail - no insulation and no lights. They are hardy enough on their own (assuming you don't try and raise Seramas or another breed that won't do well in cold... which I'd love to [​IMG] ) if you let them be... I just went up and asked him yesterday and he's been doing this for umpteen years. He says he just trims the OEGBs.

    I'm a softie so I'll probably pop up insulation.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    I do not have bantams myself but have very frequently heard others refer to them as being less cold-hardy than large fowl chickens (which makes sense if you think about the physiology/physics involved).

    So those giving advice should make sure they're noticing where these are *bantams*.

    Personally I'd insulate -- there are no disadvantages, and you can always just wait til you can scrounge materials for free or cheap -- and because they're bantams I'd run electric out there so that if it turns out you DO need a lamp during a cold snap, it's an easy option.

    Don't be tempted to try to warm the coop by closing all the vents up -- what that gives you is MORE chance of frostbite, by means of humid air.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat, with lots and lots of insulation (and thermal mass) but no heat lamps
     
  7. chickens3

    chickens3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2009
    Eau Claire, Michigan
    Just rap the house up and you should be good the chickens feathers will keep them warm.
     
  8. flopshot

    flopshot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2009
    don't cut back on the ventilation trying to save heat. you'd be better off suppying a heat lamp and leaving the coop a little loose, not drafty, but well ventilated. i friend of mine wrapped his in plastic to deal with winter and created more problems than it was worth.
     
  9. fetchdog

    fetchdog Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2009
    fayal township, mn
    thanks everybody! i'm not going to insulate because i really don't see the point. a couple of small bantams aren't going to generate enough heat to warm the place anyway, and if i add a heat lamp it will work regardless of insulation. i agree that closing off vents would be a bad idea.
    i would still like to hear from somebody who has bantams in areas that experience severe cold!
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Just food for thought: if you use a heat lamp, you will spend less and use less electricity if the coop is insulated. And if you don't use a heat lamp, it is not just the chickens' body heat that you want to retain, it is daytime heat in general, which can be nontrivial. Really it is not on winter DAYS that you're concerned about them being cold, it's winter NIGHTS, so better the coop holds its daytime warmth (relatively speaking) the less frigid it will get before the sun rises again. Honest.

    So while you don't 'have' to insulate, especially if you want to run a lamp, there really ARE good practical benefits to be gained from it.

    You might want to post a thread under the management section of the forum entitled something like "Anyone have bantams at -40F?" and see what info you can get?

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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