Keeping the Coop Warm in the Winter

BreezeBri337

Songster
Sep 24, 2019
62
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Spotsylvania, Virginia
Hey, Guys! Just yesterday, we got our first snow, and it's one of the earliest snows we've had in a while. The temperature is currently in the '20s/30s and dropping. This is only my second year of raising chickens and last year we didn't have a cold winter. I'm not sure if I should put a heater in the coop or if there are other way's you could cold-proof the coop. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated :). Thanks, Guys!
 

ValerieJ

Enabler
Premium member
Jul 24, 2016
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I don't think you need heat in the coop as long as it's dry and there are no winds blowing on the chickens. But, if you want to add heat, consider a heat panel, or a "Sweeter Heater", both of which give off radiant heat, and don't heat the whole coop. With this type heater, the chickens can choose to warm up to it or not. I have it in two of my coops and not in a third, and I have a few birds that choose the one without a heater. They seem to be warm enough in their down coats.
 

parrotlady66

Chirping
Apr 8, 2019
75
199
71
HI we are new to having chickens , we got ours earlier this yr we have enclosed the coop with some heavy plastic around the run part to make it wind proof. My hubby was worried about his girls so he ended up putting in a ceramic barrel heater at night we close the door and it keeps it at 40 deg f and the temp outside this morning was 7 f .I have read as long as they are draft free and dampness free they should be good , being draft free is the biggest and most important
the one question i was wondering about is we have a lot of tree on our property and i wondered about putting a heavy layer of the leaves in the run if that would do any harm or help
.
 

ValerieJ

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Jul 24, 2016
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I have read as long as they are draft free and dampness free they should be good , being draft free is the biggest and most important
.
They are equally important.
the one question i was wondering about is we have a lot of tree on our property and i wondered about putting a heavy layer of the leaves in the run if that would do any harm or help
This should be fine. What kind of trees?
 

trumpeting_angel

Free Ranging
Feb 6, 2019
1,601
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Vermont
Leaves are good in the run; they add to the mix for the chickens to make great compost.

Heat is not necessary. Chickens (and many other birds, like wild birds who don’t migrate) live outdoors year round, not only in Virginia, but in Minnesota, Vermont, and northern Canada!

I’ve read that if you provide them heat, their down may not develop as much as it will if they have a chance to experience the cold. Save your money for good ventilation!

There are dozens, of not hundreds, of threads and articles about these issues on BYC. You’ll see many different opinions. If you see a badge by the person’s username that says “educator,” that’s an opinion you can trust.
 

parrotlady66

Chirping
Apr 8, 2019
75
199
71
Leaves are good in the run; they add to the mix for the chickens to make great compost.

Heat is not necessary. Chickens (and many other birds, like wild birds who don’t migrate) live outdoors year round, not only in Virginia, but in Minnesota, Vermont, and northern Canada!

I’ve read that if you provide them heat, their down may not develop as much as it will if they have a chance to experience the cold. Save your money for good ventilation!

There are dozens, of not hundreds, of threads and articles about these issues on BYC. You’ll see many different opinions. If you see a badge by the person’s username that says “educator,” that’s an opinion you can trust.
Thank you for your information , it's greatly appreciated
we are learning as we go and this is the best place to get information
BYC rocks
 

fldiver97

Enabler
Premium member
10 Years
Aug 5, 2009
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Middleton, WI
My Coop
My Coop
EE5D4BB5-7935-4A87-BCD6-3723978E33A5.jpeg


Like you, I was very worried the first winter with chickens.... Witnessing the neighbors house burning I am worried about fire. I remember going out several times during the night that first winter to check on the chickens. I have since learned that some basic, low tech preparation works well to keep the chickens happy and healthy. No added heat! Let the flock acclimate to the weather. I currently have one gal that looks more like a porcupine than a chicken, she was the last to molt and it’s a bad one. She’s doing well even though we’ve already dropped to single digit temperatures at night. Good ventilation without drafts blowing on the chickens, dry clean coop and access to unfrozen water are important. I also use thick clear plastic sheeting around the run but leave some of the hardware cloth under the roof uncovered for ventilation. It keeps the wind and snow out. Adding dry leaves to the run has worked very well for us for years.... the chickens love scratching around in the thick layer of dry leaves and by spring it’s completely broken down. The temperature is not the enemy..... moisture, damp conditions in even ‘milder’ freezing cold causes issues like frostbite. You’re doing good!
 
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