Keeping my chickens warm and laying

MyISAbrownhens

Songster
May 23, 2017
162
319
132
Virginia
My hens are fine now, but I'm worried that later in the year, it might get to cold for them and they will need extra heating. My coop doesn't have any heat source in it and the coop is too far away from the house to run any electricity out to, I'm also having a problem with managing how much light they receive to try to keep them laying through winter. I considered solar powered lights but was worried about leaving them on all night and was wondering if there were solar powered lights with a timer. To sum it up I'm looking for ways to keep my chickens warm this winter and to provide them with light that they need to lay without running any electrical cords to the coop so maybe something solar or battery powered. Anyone have any suggestions?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
37,271
56,564
1,312
central Wisconsin
Your chickens don't require extra heat. It's about to be the winter solstice. Light will begin increasing, and so will production. Lighting at this time of year won't do much more than the increasing natural light will do. Your hens may take breaks after sharp temperature drops, but should resume. Production will pick up by March and April. You don't need to do anything but make sure they have a good ration and don't run out of unfrozen water.
 

Chelseyb123

Songster
Oct 4, 2017
454
360
141
Maine
This is my first winter with chickens i have 12 i live in maine its been as cold as 6 degrees out at night and mine are fine with NO HEAT OR LIGHTS i get about a half dozen eggs a day i have four roos an two of my girls are done for the season and one just started laying the other day!. They spend most of theyre time out of the coop. I have all hardy birds. I made Sure my coop was not drafty (i made my own). With Good ventilation above theyre heads and its NICE AN DRY! If theyre cold they roost closer together to stay warm. I have researched an researched an find that unless you have a coop wired an hooked up for it an keep a clean dry coop that is when id use is. Its really just a treat i feel. That they dont need. Light can over stemulate them. Heat can cause frostbite an death. Also coop fires. Its a personal choice if you use heat and light but not necessarily a need for your flock. I hope this helps and good luck.
 

Sunshine Flock

Crowing
Sep 27, 2017
1,332
3,709
307
Northern California
This is my first year, too.

My chicken coop is too dark. There are two large windows, but the coop sits under trees, and one of the windows faces north.

So a few days ago I mapped out windows for the east side so they'll have nice light to greet them as the sun rises. I'm using Lexan for its strength and longevity and am going to build a frame around it so I can open them during warm weather.
 

adrikeen

Whooo let the chicks ooout? Peep...peep...peep
7 Years
Sep 10, 2012
1,655
9,881
651
Newark Delaware
I'm fortunate that my coop/run is close enough to the house to run power cords too. I have the heated water bases and have the heating pads/chicken heating panels in the houses. However...the "run" is a large 3 pronged design that we have built around 3 Formex Snaplock houses that is made from wire cloth. I have clear panels (used on sheds and such) on for a roof during the winter (keeps out rain/snow/ice but lets light in) and I hung clear shower curtains all around the perimeter. The girls stay warm and dry and have plenty of natural daylight. I do not light the coops in the winter - I let nature take it's course with regards to egg production and time of year.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
71,198
72,287
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
My hens are fine now, but I'm worried that later in the year, it might get to cold for them and they will need extra heating. My coop doesn't have any heat source in it and the coop is too far away from the house to run any electricity out to, I'm also having a problem with managing how much light they receive to try to keep them laying through winter. I considered solar powered lights but was worried about leaving them on all night and was wondering if there were solar powered lights with a timer. To sum it up I'm looking for ways to keep my chickens warm this winter and to provide them with light that they need to lay without running any electrical cords to the coop so maybe something solar or battery powered. Anyone have any suggestions?
There is a way to put a timer on a solar light, but I can't recite the details.
IIRC, it's not something you buy to work right 'out of the box' tho.
Maybe research it for next year, I wouldn't bother this year.

Agrees with OHLD, you don't need heat...except maybe for water.

Where in VA are you, what are your highs and lows in winter??
Making sure they have liquid water is essential, a bowl of snow can work in a pinch.
If they don't have water whenever they need it, that can stop them laying.
Having two waterers and swapping them out as necessary would be the way to go for now. Have had to do this in the past, kept one inside in a warm spot and the other in the coop, leaving only a bowl of snow in the coop overnight.
 

NNYchick

Crowing
Jun 15, 2017
1,292
2,085
251
Harrisville, NY
I needed to add light to my coop because it is dark when I go to work and when I come home so I was researching different lights and found this. Not sure if it is enough light to increase laying (light has to be bright enough to read newspaper by) but I liked that it had a remote and is dimmable. https://www.amazon.com/LightMe-Multi-functional-Dimmable-Controller-White-20LED/dp/B01CL71KIA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1513879638&sr=8-3&keywords=solar+light+with+remote
As I had to run and extension cord for the heated waterer, my husband installed a Led light strip for me, so I could check chickens and their food and water before and after work.
 

Chullicken

Crowing
Premium member
Apr 10, 2016
764
2,324
282
Dorchester, NH
Having lived in Virginia I can tell you that your chickens will be more than ok with just a good shelter/run, plenty of food, scratch (Extra protein and boredom killer) and available water source. The climate below the Mason-Dixon line may have its few extreme cold days, and that is still nothing in comparison to the northern tier states. Insulating a coop is a myth, if you must I'd insulate the floor and roof. Based on your breed of choice, many modern production breeds chug on through the dimming hours of sunlight in regard to egg laying. Though it may drop off slightly, you should still receive something periodically.
 
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