Minnesota Cold -- Help Our Hens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bluemusefarm, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. bluemusefarm

    bluemusefarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 26, 2012
    This will be our hens' first winter in cold, snowy Minnesota. We selected winter-hardy breeds (3 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Leghorns, 4 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Speckled Sussex, 2 Americaunas, and 1 Barred Rock). They've got a well-constructed coop--with adequate ventilation and little or no drafts. But the recent string of colder weather is making me nervous about getting the girls through the winter comfortably.

    Here in central MN, we'll likely see temperatures in the negative teens. Any tips for keeping a coop warmer without creating a fire hazard? How do all you other cold-weather survivors help your flock?
  2. StaceyChickFarm

    StaceyChickFarm New Egg

    Jun 20, 2012
    Reno, Nevada
    I'm no help but will be watching this post to get advise from others too! I live in Reno (it's no MN but it does get cold here and this is our first winter with chickens).
  3. bluemusefarm

    bluemusefarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 26, 2012
    I found this on BYC (will definitely help you, StaceyChickFarm), but am still looking for unique ideas or opinions...[​IMG]

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    Here in upstate NY we get temps as low as -30 F. I don't have heat in my coops & have never lost a bird to the cold. They're a lot hardier than people think. Remember, they have down coats.
    1 person likes this.
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    x2. Bluemuse, I'm in western MN, and do not heat my coops. As long as they're well-ventilated and draft-free, they'll be in good shape. We put lots of straw down, and make sure they always have water available. I use a heated dog dish for my chickens in the winter. Some people put gallon ice-cream buckets in the dog dish for easier cleaning, I just put the water right in the dish. When it gets really, really cold (as in double-digits below zero) I keep the pop door shut since the coop is plenty big enough for them to be comfortable. Your chickens will be fine. [​IMG]
  6. Keggen

    Keggen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2012
    I'm in MN, too! Hello gals! I just bought a heated based and metal double wall waterer to make sure the water doesn't freeze. I think I might put petroleum jelly on the combs of a few of my chickens, the ones with the large single comb at least. I laid down a lot more straw and closed up their windows. I also changed up their food a bit, from the regular stuff to adding chicken scratch and a scratch block thing. That's all so far. Not sure what else I will be doing. I have 25 chickens in a shed that was converted to a coop, so I hope their body heat will help.
  7. Barred Rock Caf

    Barred Rock Caf Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2012
    x4 to what Bluemuse and Bobbi-j recommend. I remind myself how ridiculous my grandparents would think it to try to heat a chicken coop here in North central Wisconsin! With that thought in mind, all I do are the basics- some winter ventilation so as to minimize humidity build up; plenty of bedding material for the birds to squat in should their "toesies" get cold; wide enough roost boards so that they can sit atop their feet completely; and calories for fuel to heat their internal furnaces; and lastly, but certainly not leastly, liquid water available at all times.

    I also have Buff Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks and other hardy breeds, so I can understand the concern about survivability. Remember, chickens are not new inventions and need basic accommodations to survive cold weather.


    Barred Rock Cafe [​IMG]
  8. what did I do

    what did I do Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012



    I let my chickens out to free range when the weather is above 0 or nice and sunny. They are tough birds.

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