Well, it's that time of year again when people start posting questions about keeping their chickens warm in the winter. This means it's time for me to post my opinion on the topic, which has not changed in over two decades, so here I go...Chickens have been domesticated for about 6,000 years, yet we have only had electricity in America for the past 125 years, and the chickens have been doing just fine for the past 5,875 years without a heater in their coop. When you wake up on the morning, and it's -10 degrees, what is the first thing you see when you look out the kitchen window? Tiny little birds flying around looking for food and water, and I can assure you that they do NOT have a heater in their nest up in that tree. Chickens have feathers to keep them warm, and they do a good job of doing so. Have you ever slept under a down comforter? I have never in over five years of broadcasting over 850 episode had a poultry expert including certified avian vets, poultry scientists, poultry professors, APA, ABA, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, USDA, and other poultry experts recommend heating a chicken coop, and believe me, I have asked them all because I am so passionate about this topic. That said, this by no means you don't have to use some due diligence this winter to keep your birds healthy. I will post about this a little later. You can't argue with someone that says, "I will sleep better at night knowing that my precious chickens are warm ans toasty" so I don't. However, I will try to get them to at least use a safe heat source to prevent them killing their precious chickens with kindness. Every year I post a countless number of articles about coop fires that have been caused by an unnecessary heat source. Not only are their precious chickens all dead, but their coop has been destroyed, and is some cases even their own house or neighbors house was also caught on fire!!! In most all cases in the United States, including Alaska, a heat source is not needed in your coop! Yes, this includes Silkies and Seramas! However, if you still choose to heat your coop, PLEASE PLEASE, PLEASE, use a safe heat source! If you use a dangerous heat lamp, then incorporate several safety back up devices like once you clamp the heat lamp to something, duct tape it, and then spring clamp it, and then use a chain to secure it to the ceiling! Then, four things have to fail before your coop burns to the ground! The heat lamp clamp has to break, the spring clamp has to break, the duct tape has to fail, and the chain has to break all at the exact time for the lamp to fall into the shavings and cause a fire! Or, just spend a little more money and get a safer heat source for your precious chickens. I won't even get into the possibility of doing more harm to your chickens by providing heat, and then the power going out in the middle of the night, and you chickens are not acclimated to the cold due to them having a heat lamp every night. My basic point for this post is to let my fans know that in most all cases anywhere in America that heat is not needed in your coop. Please don't kill your precious chickens with kindness. Take it or leave it, but I will continue to be passionate about not using heaters in coops.
Hey Messipaw....thank you so much for posting the article regarding heat in a coop...I was concerned about warmth and this article helped allay those fears...also, thanks for introducing the "Chicken Whisperer"..... will be sure to check out his show...
What breeds did you start with? I have 3 hens: a Wyandotte,barred and buff Orpington...
You are welcome. It helped me decide as well. We are not going to heat our coop. We are just going to add a lot of hay. We have six hens. A Easter egger, three red stars and two barred rocks. You should check out all the good chicken face book pages. Lots of good and helpful information. The chicken chic is awesome. She shared great information all the time. Keep me posted on your doings too.
Welcome to chickens, enjoy & have fun! I use the deep litter method for my winter coop. The straw keeps air trapped between and the manure releases warmth also. My chickens have not needed any heat over the past 2 upstate NY winters. I take fresh warm water over twice a day. sue
Mommypad--I'm not sure what the TOB allows. According to most post on this site the town of oyster bays does not allow chickens. Some say its town specific under the over all town rule. Your best bet is to always call. I know Nassau county is way more strict then Suffolk county is. I'm in South Huntington and we are definitely allowed up to 8 chickens, NO roosters at all. We are not allowed to cull any chickens on our property at all. The coop needs to be secured from predators and keep clean with no odor. Most of what they state as requirements are nothing more then pure common sense to me--I mean who would intentional keep a dirty coop that smells!! Not me.