Keeping coop warm in winter

Kaitlynd12

Chirping
Sep 18, 2020
51
33
58
Hello all. I live in upstate NY and the winters get chilly. This is our first winter with chickens. I was wondering if there are any tips/tricks to keep the coop warm during winter. We do have a heating lamp, but didn’t know if there were any other ways? TIA!
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,634
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NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
You don't need supplemental heat and you don't want to keep the coop warm. You want to keep it DRY with lots of ventilation to let out the moist stale air and let in dry fresh air. Chickens are well armed to keep themselves warm with their down coats and blast furnace metabolisms.
For thawed water you can use a heated base waterer but keep it the run.
Can you post pictures of your coop?
This is my upstate NY coop. All the spaces between the rafters, the openings in the gable peaks, the pop doors, two just cracked open windows away from the roosts and the roof ridge are year round vents that are never closed.
2CAA8E144C7F_1578235491412.png
 
Last edited:

21hens-incharge

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Mar 9, 2014
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First thing is don't.
Birds feathers are designed to trap their body heat next to their bodies.
Birds allowed to acclimate to the winter season grow extra down to aid in keeping themselves warm.
As long as the birds are fully feathered, allowed to acclimate and are healthy they are capable of handling winter just fine.

They need a dry coop with ample ventilation. Properly ventilated coops will not hold heat. They should have vents up high above where the birds roost to allow warm moist air to rise and exit the coop.

Heat lamps....yeah those are a really bad idea for grown birds. They can be easily knocked down and ignite a fire. The birds when sleeping are catatonic. They will not move if overheating.

Then there is the issue of birds not growing proper winter feather and loss of power suddenly plunging them into temps they are not acclimated to.
 

WindingRoad

Crowing
Nov 21, 2018
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Maine
Hello all. I live in upstate NY and the winters get chilly. This is our first winter with chickens. I was wondering if there are any tips/tricks to keep the coop warm during winter. We do have a heating lamp, but didn’t know if there were any other ways? TIA!
Get rid of that heating lamp. Each one of your chickens is it's own heater. Their temps run around 106. If they are fully feathered out and you've kept them in an unheated coop so far they are acclimated to the weather. They grow a down coat just like some dogs do and geese in the great north. Notice when they roost they drape their feathers over their feet. Check those warm feet out sometime. Put your hand under a wing. Warm. If you see them in a nest box put your hand under them Warmer there. That's how they hatch eggs. I have 13 chickens in an 8x12 coop and they snuggle up and keep each other warm. Make sure they are on a roost. When people ask me if I heat my coop I always say. " Why yes, ( tongue in cheek) I have 13 mini heaters in my coop". Then I have to tell them all the names of those "heaters". LOL.

Dry chickens are warm chickens. Make sure you have good/plenty of ventilation up high. And put hard wire over it. Some people cut up a good sized section just under the roof. Humidity from breathing, pooping, etc rises. You can tell if you don't have enough ventilation if your walls are frosty in the morning you don't have enough.

A heat lamp is for fried chicken. More chickens die from fires than the cold if properly housed. I lost my power for 24 hours this past weekend and some are still without power and my heated ( electric) dog bowl froze over but my chickens were like AND?????? Good luck.
 

WindingRoad

Crowing
Nov 21, 2018
1,764
3,037
283
Maine
First thing is don't.
Birds feathers are designed to trap their body heat next to their bodies.
Birds allowed to acclimate to the winter season grow extra down to aid in keeping themselves warm.
As long as the birds are fully feathered, allowed to acclimate and are healthy they are capable of handling winter just fine.

They need a dry coop with ample ventilation. Properly ventilated coops will not hold heat. They should have vents up high above where the birds roost to allow warm moist air to rise and exit the coop.

Heat lamps....yeah those are a really bad idea for grown birds. They can be easily knocked down and ignite a fire. The birds when sleeping are catatonic. They will not move if overheating.

Then there is the issue of birds not growing proper winter feather and loss of power suddenly plunging them into temps they are not acclimated to.
I didn't know about the catatonic state until I came home one summer night and felt bad because I hadn't put my birds to bed, A neighbor did. I always sing a lullaby to them so I took them down from the roosts and let them out. They couldn't even stand up. They acted drunk. They were comical. Trying to walk drunk. Poor things. I put them back quickly.
 

Kaitlynd12

Chirping
Sep 18, 2020
51
33
58
These were all great comments. I appreciate it so much. We haven’t turned the heat lamp on yet, so I just won’t do it at all. We have windows in our coop that are always open. Also during the day, the coop door is open so they can go outside if they want. Some of my girls are molting, so this concerns me a tad bit?
 

WindingRoad

Crowing
Nov 21, 2018
1,764
3,037
283
Maine
These were all great comments. I appreciate it so much. We haven’t turned the heat lamp on yet, so I just won’t do it at all. We have windows in our coop that are always open. Also during the day, the coop door is open so they can go outside if they want. Some of my girls are molting, so this concerns me a tad bit?
Chickens used to be wild. They took care of themselves. They'll stay in if it's too cold. Let them decide. Molting is a natural process. Dogs shed their winter coats and nobody seems to worry about that. Relax and enjoy you babies.
 

21hens-incharge

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Mar 9, 2014
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Northern Colorado
These were all great comments. I appreciate it so much. We haven’t turned the heat lamp on yet, so I just won’t do it at all. We have windows in our coop that are always open. Also during the day, the coop door is open so they can go outside if they want. Some of my girls are molting, so this concerns me a tad bit?

How old are your birds? Did you get them as adults?

I have molting birds here too. We have been near zero no issues. I have even had a leghorn that went naked in -16° temps. She was ok. I was less ok with that. Hubs tried to give her a place to warm up. He puta sealed oil space heater in the 8x14 coop making a space on one end that was a little warmer. No one including the naked bird went anywhere near it. In fact they all moved to me he roost farthest away from it.
 

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