keep my chickens happy and warm in winter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sylviecolin, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. sylviecolin

    sylviecolin Out Of The Brooder

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    hi. we have laying hens all mixed breeds, even a little banty rooster. the coop is insulated and we have a heat lamp in there if needed and a heated water dish. i dont know a whole lot about chickens and cold weather. we live in quebec canada. we gets lots of ice in the past couple winters. weather is windy, cold, and either snowing or freezing rain. because we love them we have also given them our car tent(20x12) it has been attached to the coop so the chickens have a good shelther from wind, rain or from hopefully whatever mother nature throws our way. under the tent they have an outside roost, a large sand box, food and water, and some toys we made to keep them from getting bord and pecking eachother. right now they also have a large fenced in chunck of our yard to run and eat all day.
    i have of course some questions;
    Should we lay down some wood shavings on the ground in their pen for winter so they dont get as cold??
    will they walk around in the snow? and will they be warm enough??
    what am i missing??
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    People will have varying opinions on this, most likely. I remember growing up on the farm. Frozen combs and wattles were frequent as the poultry were allowed outside during the day and the coop was insulated but not heated. In Wisconsin's coldest weather it was not unusual to find a bird frozen to death. Now, as an adult, I would not allow my birds outside in the winter and my bird room is heated. What I pay for the electricity is worth not finding birds injured or froze.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  3. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ice storms and electric supply are a bad combination ... Ice storms can bring down power lines, and leave you with out power for hours, days, or even weeks! Do you have a backup plan?

    Chickens come with their own down coats ... They aquire them according to the climate ... If they are accustomed to 40 degree F in their coop, they will have coats to handle 40 degrees ... But, if the power goes out, they don't have a closet to reach into and grab another parka, because it is now dropped 50 degrees!

    I grew up in Vermont, and raised many chickens, for many years with no suplimental heat.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I also live in Wisconsin, I have never had a chicken freeze to death, I don't heat my poultry, I like them to acclimate to the weather, they keep themselves warm. You do need to provide warm unfrozen water at least twice a day, mine go outside most days, I put hay down for them to stand on, and block any prevailing winds, my LF are in a pole building and they do fine, it's not insulated and there's an open door to the southeast.

    Keep your coop draft free but with good ventilation, provide them good fresh ration, put out scratch twice a day, I like a cracked corn black oil sunflower seed mix, especially in the evening so they have something substantial in their crops at bedtime.

    If you heat the coop and you lose power than your chickens could freeze, so don't heat.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Excellent ventilation is the key. I let my birds out every day, they have cover from freezing rain and a corner or two sides of run wrapped in a tarp or two to create wind shield.

    Climate zone 3, no heat, no insulation and birds are outside everyday.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I'm in Northern Wyoming in a Basin between mountain ranges. We're not too far from Yellowstone Park. It gets so cold here I sometimes have to chip the neighbor's dog off my car tire so I can to to the store. My coop is neither insulated nor heated and I have a ton of ventilation. I can shut down the ventilation on any given side of the coop depending on which direction the sideways-blowing snow is coming from. Winds here are extreme.... 60mph is not unusual. We have our run covered with clear plastic in winter and they spend most of the day out there with their boredom busters and in the sunshine.

    I think that boredom is a bigger risk than cold in winter - the dark lasts so long everyday and that's a lot of time to spend "cooped up"...pun intended. So in their run they have a swinging roost (and yes, they use it), a big half log that they can climb on or under, a dust bath, and I use those little metal suet cages hung on the walls of the run just high enough that they have to stretch to reach the goodies inside them. Sometimes I'll some homemade suet in the wire cages. Other times I put chunks of fruits or veggies in them. A new favorite is left-over pancakes (no syrup)! If they are active and have stuff to do during the short daylight hours, there is far less feather pecking out of boredom.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    61 years old. I've seen tornado, ice storms, hail, etc, Our home is all electric and the power has never gone off for more than six hours; if it should we and our animals will weather it together. The heat will stay on in my coop. To each his/her own.
     
  8. Goulais Girl

    Goulais Girl Out Of The Brooder

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    I still haven't decided... We're in Canada too, we never had heated coops when I was growing up, but I think I think of my chickens more as pets than farm animals. I don't want them to be warm inside and then cold out, I don't think that can be good for them. We were thinking of having the heat lamp, the red one on a timer... For those -40 nights... Have it come on for a couple of hours just to get through the coldest part of the night.. Not heat it as much as keep it above -20! Hahahaaaa I've been trying to figure out what to do for the outside for them and for this year, the car tent thing might be a good idea... I'd like them to have ground and space.. We have a small coop and I dare say they will be bored and I don't want a any carnage! I'm going to have to figure out soone what to do... Will keep you all posted! Hahahaaa
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Lucky you.....I've gone days without power multiple times.
    It's a real consideration for some folks.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. sylviecolin

    sylviecolin Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks everyone. i figure healthy happy chickens give our family great tasting healthy eggs. i have to say i am really gratefull for finding this site online, it has been so helpfull
    since we have gotten our chickens our whole family changed. i have kids who all want to come in and rake, feed them, get them fresh water, they help us when we have a sick or sore chicken, dusting them for lice, to cleaning out the poop. we have learned to take our time, and slow down and watch and listen. in the past week alone our rooster finally found his voice, and has been seen doing his job so to speak...lol they have sure been a welcomed addition to our family.
    we are going to keep the heat lamp in the coop in case we need to use it. we did get some fresh wood shavings, that we are gonna put down on the ground inside the car tent, it is all bare dirt ground now, but i imagine in winter there will be some ice in there and the ground will be cold, i dont want them to get cracked feet. i allready have one mending a broken foot.
     
    1 person likes this.

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