New to winterizing my flock

HombeBee18

Hatching
Nov 8, 2018
1
1
4
Hi All.
I'm a fairly new chicken "farmer" & loving this hobby! It certainly is an addiction! I have so much fun with them! We got our first chickens in May. I live in Duluth MN, just on the outskirts of city limits and I free range my girls and lock them up at night. I started with 4 hens and a roo. Then a friend dropped off 7 more. AND..... we've lost a couple & gained a few more and I'm up to 26 now. A variety of breeds. I started with a small coop - grew into a larger insulated coop and then recently had to turn the out shed into the coop! OOPS. But now I worry about them staying warm. It gets very cold here and its often windy. I have read so many forums use heat, don't use heat. In the insulated, more airtight shed I wasn't concerned about them staying warm. Now in the shed, it may be more leaky or drafty and its not insulated. I have hay bales, pine shavings, nesting boxes, roosting bars water heater, a light bulb for more "daylight" but do I need a heat lamp? If so, All the time? Just at night? Just when its below zero and windy? Do I need a smaller door, like a doggy door so the doors arent open all the time? HELP ME DECIDE WHAT TO DO!
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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Pictures of your current coop will help.
If you can eliminate drafts on the birds, have excellent ventilation and keep the inside very dry, you will not need an additional heat source.
Having roosts where the feet will be covered (ie a flat roost) will prevent cold feet. I have a 2x4 roost with the edges chamfered and the wide side horizontal. It works very well.
 

Noreaster Egger

Songster
May 22, 2016
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Pictures of your current coop will help.
If you can eliminate drafts on the birds, have excellent ventilation and keep the inside very dry, you will not need an additional heat source.
Having roosts where the feet will be covered (ie a flat roost) will prevent cold feet. I have a 2x4 roost with the edges chamfered and the wide side horizontal. It works very well.
Yup...pretty much all of this. You can get some nasty cold up there in N MN though so I'd be interested in knowing what your breeds of birds are. A leghorn isn't going to like -30F or -40F. You can get some relatively "damp" frigid airmasses too by the lake. When we start pushing saturation with temps below -10F I will sometimes use a ceramic heat emitter (CHE) in one of those "safer" Premier 1 heat lamp units just to add an additional 5-10F inside of the coop. That raises the dewpoint depression inside the coop which is the same thing as saying it lowers the relative humidity. If it's a relatively dry -10F (like a temp of -10F with a dewpoint of -25F) I don't worry as much about the moisture since the ambient air has relatively lower RH to begin with.

Most people here will tell you that you don't have to do that. Heck we have plenty of people here from AK or in the northern provinces of Canada that keep birds with temps colder than yours. The key though is to have cold hardy breeds that can acclimate to it. I wouldn't raise egyptian fayoumis in Fairbanks.
 

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