Newbie Question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mcliff3, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. mcliff3

    mcliff3 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 4, 2009
    Hello all! My wife and I have been talking about building a coop in the yard for egg-laying chickens, and I was hoping to get some advice on the coop. We live in Massachusetts, so I was hoping to hear from others regarding heating of the coop during the winter months (heating methods, etc;) Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  2. chickflick

    chickflick Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 10, 2007
    [​IMG] I would insulate the coop, at least. There are people here that swear by not heating the coop and others that use heat lamps when it gets really cold. I have a flat panel heater in my coop that just takes the chill out. Others will come on and offer you more advise. Good luck. You'll love this site. [​IMG]
  3. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    First of all [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    You have found a great source of info. If you have not had a chance try out the search feature, it has been a big help in gathering info for us. Good luck and enjoy!!!!!!! [​IMG]
  4. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Quote:Go have a looksee here:

    use good old-fashioned heat lamps here in Nebraska. It's been COLD this winter! My coop is not insulated, but I kept a lot of birds over the winter fo body heat, and continue to pack it up with wood shavings/chips. The windows face south which helps with heat, too. I let them out when the temp hits about 30 if the sun is out...
    Hope that helps [​IMG]
  5. chantecler

    chantecler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2008
    Moncton New Brunswick

    Well I live in Atlantic Canada so weather is similar to but colder then what you generally have in Mass.
    I insulated my coop and use 250 Watt heat lamp over the water dish to keep the water from freezing. The main thing is that the water doesn't freeze and that the coop is free of drafts. My birds are allowed to go outside all winter, except during storms or if it's extremely cold (-15 C or colder) or if the wind is coming from the direction of their little run door. The coldest that its ever gotten inside the coop so far (it's my first winter with them) has been -10 C. The birds really do quite well in the cold. I have Chanteclers and they only have cushion combs and small wattles so frostbite isn't really a problem. I have one Buff Orpington Rooster that does have a bit of frostbite on the very tip of his comb but he tends to sleep next to the waterer under the heat lamp [​IMG]. The rest don't mind the cold at all and play in the snow most days [​IMG].
    So insulation and prevent draft and water freezing are my recommendations for cold weather coop.
    Do a search for dealing with cold weather on this site and you will find tons and tons of info!! It's a fabulous resource!!

    Goodluck!! [​IMG]
  6. mcliff3

    mcliff3 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 4, 2009
    Thanks to all who have replied so far! I am amazed how quickly you folks have replied! I really do look forward to becoming a regular member of the forum!
  7. Lee

    Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Marion County, IN
    Quote:yes, I have one of those flat panel heaters. Got mine from Geez! I just went to their website and now the kind I got is $20 more than when I got mine back in October.
  8. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2008
    New Durham NH
    hello! We live in Nh, and when we built our coop, we insulated really well with a buch of stuff left over from the house. Then, we installed a light bar, that has two heat lights, one white one (250 watts) that come on in the day time, and a red 250 heat light that comes on and off just before and after the white one. We have found that with the insultion, our coop stayed a comfy 40* even recently when it was bitter windy and cold down to -17!

    Some would say that the day light one is over kill, but our chickens dont come in from the rain willingly, and being cochins, they look all bedraggled and soaking wet, I have seen them come in and scratch around on the floor under the white light until they where warmed up or dry, and then either roost, or go back out! The light keeps the daytime temp even, and the shavings and coop dry! The red light gives me the ability to do a nightly headcount, and make sure everyone is present and accounted for without turning on a light. In the summer I use just a regular red bulb.

    We originally installed a panel heater from shop the coop, and we love it for the peace of mind it gives us, but honestly, I dont htink it comes on very often, Maybe during the wee hours of the coldest nights, but I think the insulation and heat lights do just fine. The insulation really makes a difference on the drafts too, there are none!

    Many people believe that chickens dont need any kind of heat, I just know that I was not comfortable sleeping in my warm bed unless I knew my critters were safe and sound. I do agree that they dont need or do well at higher temps, but I like to keep them above freezing. usually around 40-45.

    You will get lots of advice, some of it conflicting, but the sound and consistant advice will harp on the need for ventilation, but no drafts. Dry Dry Dry. (humidity and built up ammonia can kill or at least sicken!) and adequate space for roosting, nesting, and moving around if confined on nasty weather days. Light via windows is also encouraged, but can be worked around.

    You will sort out what sounds right to you, and what you can afford. My best advice is to do what you need to to sleep well at night.
  9. big greg barker

    big greg barker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2008
    central maine
    The first thing you want to do is double whatever size you are planning on. That way, you can get more chickens.
    I have just started a flock myself up here in Maine. I didn't insulate or use heat. My birds seem to be doing ok. When I brought them home, they had been underfed, and were pretty ragged looking. 21 in all, 2 years old. I made sure they had all they could eat and were out of the drafts. I gave them deep litter and a light for 14 hours a day. They are in 2 separate pens of 11 and 9. After 2 weeks, they started laying again, and I am currently enjoying 10 - 12 eggs a day. At night when I go out to shut them in for the night, they are usually lined up on the roost keeping each other roasty toasty. I have a couple that are molting and are 1/2 naked, but the other birds keep them warm.
    IMO, I would say that a draft free environment and quality feed is more important than providing heat. Give them the first two, and they will provide their own heat.
    BTW, welcome to the funny farm.........
  10. Cats Critters

    Cats Critters Completely Indecisive


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