It's getting cold...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by timco, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. timco

    timco In the Brooder

    Mar 14, 2008
    Salt Lake City, UT
    This is our first winter with chickens. BR's, EE's, and RIR's. We are in SLC and it will get to 5* or less, with many weeks of below freezing. I am considering moving the water inside the coop and installing a small electric baseboard heater to keep the inside of the coop above freezing, for the water, eggs and the girls. What say you all? Will they free-range the backyard in a foot of snow?

    Thanks, Tim
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    From what I hear, most chickens do not like to go out into the snow if it's very deep. Mine wouldn't go out at all, at first, last year. Then, after an hour or two a few of the brave souls ventured out into the several inch deep snow. Mine would never go out into snow that was more than just a few inches deep. I'm guessing it depends on your chickens if they give it a try or not.

    I didn't use any type of heat in my coop. We had several weeks of single digit and below zero weather. I just took out a fresh, slightly warm, pail of water a couple times a day. They did just fine. As long as they aren't in drafts and stay dry they should be just fine through the winter.
  3. Heather J

    Heather J Songster

    May 29, 2008
    Ditto on the snow, though mine took a few days to decide they wanted to venture actually onto the white stuff. I plan to shovel a little bit of run this year when we get more than an inch or two. I had a window *read, big gapping hole in the wall covered in chicken wire and a garbage bag to cut down on drafts--the bag sometimes stayed in place* in my coop last winter and only occasionally ran the heat lamp. I didn't have any trouble with frost bite. It was an unusually mild winter with not one night below zero in Fillmore--which often sees sub-zero night temps in winter.

    This year I'm going to buy a waterer with bottom heat for the coldest part of winter because I often work all day and don't want them to be stuck for eight hours without water--besides, it's a long way to the coop from my house and I'll have three pens of birds to worry about. I have one of those faucets that force the water below ground out by the coop, but don't want to risk freezing it, so we'll drain it when it starts getting to be real winter. I also need to make some kind of semi-real window for the hole to keep drafts down at night and when we have storms. I'm thinking I'll just put a piece of plex in there and attach some hardware so it can't fall out, but I can remove it when I'm ready.
  4. Their Other Mother

    Their Other Mother Songster

    May 1, 2008
    I just spent a week in Salt Lake City with my DD at Shriners Hosp. What a beautiful City. I didn't realize it got that cold there. I guess I've been living in the desert too long. Fortunatly it rarely snows here and when it does it dosent stick. I don't think it's ever gotten below the 20's here, so we just put extra straw or shavings down for the animals. They do fine but I still worry about them.
  5. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    Here it is always odd we have no snow but we don't have mild southern winters it gets to be 15 degrees and stays there for a week or two and then goes up and down again all winter. Last winter my hens were still young pullets and I did give heat this winter I will not give heat to the older hens but I am probably buying a heated waterer because I don't feel like hauling hot water out to melt the ice. In the chicken tractor the younger pullets will get some heat and also Cover three sides of the tractor.

  6. La Banan

    La Banan Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Hi - you'll probably get a variety of responses to this but here is my two cents worth. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and my family is from Manitoba - doesn't get much colder than Manitoba I'll tell you but I'm pretty sure Nova Scotia is colder than Salt Lake City - hell, I know it is! I do not have an insulated coop. I've had chickens in the past without an insulated or heated coop and they do just fine. The farm where I got this latest bunch sells heritage chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and so on - they don't have an insulated building other than their house on the property and have done this for years. My great and not so great grandmothers all kept chooks in Manitoba - their houses weren't even insulated so for sure their chook houses weren't! Water should be inside when it starts to cool and you can keep it warm with a light if you want to or just have two containers - one to exchange daily. The chooks will go out in the snow and they will get water from it too. How many chooks do you have? The more the warmer - also you can use the deep litter method which will keep your coop that much warmer. I think you'll do fine. Here in the dead of winter our favourite way to get warm is to get under a down comforter. Well, our chickens have their own!
    Have fun!
  7. stacym

    stacym Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Kennard, Nebraska
    Hi, I live where not only does it get cold the wind is usually blowing 35 MPH+. My parents do not have insulated chicken coops ,but because I only have five hens I too worry about the cold.
    We have electric baseboard heaters in our upstairs rooms.(house use to be an old farmhouse) We have to be careful not to put anything flammable too close to them. So I don't think I would use them in a coop. They could be a fire hazard. Because of this we are going to be using a spray on foam between the studs and then covering up the studs with plywood. And ventilation is still a must so they don't get damp.
    I will relay to my husband that its already cold in Utah. Maybe it will spur him on to get a move on with that coop. [​IMG]
  8. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
  9. Jarhead

    Jarhead Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    As far as keeping the water from freezing, I have a really easy solution. Here it is
    it into an extension cord, submerge it in the bowl if it is large enough. If not put it underneath as it is UL listed for either wet or dry applications. Not bad for $12. Works like a champ on my dogs water bowls even on the coldest days. I plan on using it in the chickens water bowl this winter.
  10. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits...

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    jar head..thats a great idea!..i wonder if i will be able to use it in my metal waterer though???..Wendy

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