'Nother Newbie!


5 Years
Sep 21, 2014
Hi there! Hubby and I bought a small 4-hen HenHouse from a local farm supply store and we have three sweet hens. Our then-8 year old niece named them. Screamy is a white Japanese Bantam. Penelope is a Buff Orphington. Tokyo is a BPR. We really don't know a lot about chickens, just what we read and research.

The hens are free range from dawn to dusk in our large fenced-in yard. We have two dogs that are out with them in the mornings and afternoon-evenings. Last winter, they were still young so we overwintered them in our garage with a heat pamp and heater...

I do have several questions, though.... what do others do with their hens in the winter? Heated water dish? Heat lamps? more hay? Insulation? We're going to try and keep them out this winter, but they're kinda our babies! LOL They come when we call, eat from our hands, jump onto our shoulders and ride arounds, sit on our laps.... yeah,, I know. LOL

Another question... what are vents? I've read that term, but have nod idea!

I'll keep reading and all, thanks for this forum!!


6 Years
Dec 2, 2013
My Coop
My Coop
Sounds like you're great with your babies!! Love it when they come for lovin'!

Vents are where poop and eggs come out. Yes, they both come out of the same.

Cold. Look up your breeds to see how cold hardy they are. Rocks I know. They're good. A little more straw and a heat lamp on the waterer (only on the extreme nights) is all we had to do.

Best of luck to ya! And welcome to BYC!! You'll fit right in. Sounds like you're doing a great job already!


Mountain Peeps

Jesus is my life
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Apr 23, 2014
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

Ventilation is probably one of the most important things to have in winter. Without proper ventilation your birds will get frostbite, respiratory illnesses and other problems.

Other things to do to help keep your chickens snug this winter include using straw as a bedding, using the 4" inch side of a 2x4 roosts. I also put a towel that has been in the dryer and put it on the roosts to warm their feet. Make sure that there is no water spillage or moisture collection on the bedding as this can also result in frostbite. On the very cold nights you should rub vaseline on the chickens' combs and wattles to help prevent freezing.
Here's a link on frostbite.

You don't need a heat lamp if you have ventilation, proper bedding, proper roosts and proper feed. In the winter you should be feeding your normal layer, grower or chick feed along with scratch as this will keep the birds warm especially if you feed it in the evenings.

Yes, you need more straw as this packs in the heat. Again, no need for heat lamps if everything else is provided.

And you defiantly need a heated water bowl as your flock will be drinking non stop in winter.

Like Chikkenfriend said, it also depends on breeds. Are they cold hardy? If so, they'll do better in wanter. And yes, if it gets very cold around there you do need to insulate.

Good luck and glad you joined!


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Mar 21, 2011
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello there and welcome to BYC!

So glad you could join our community! As stated above by the other posters, chickens don't need added heat. They come with their own built in heaters and feathers. They can tolerate the coldest of temps. There are members here in Alaska that keep chickens in uninsulated coops, no heat, no electricity, or anything with temps averaging Minus 40 at night! Just bed them down with clean dry bedding. Put good vents in your eaves to rid the coop of all the moist air that comes from the breathing and the pooping. If you don't vent this air out, it will fall back down on them as water or frost, chilling the birds and giving them frost bite. 1 square foot of vent space per bird. Have them roost low to the floor in still air space and they will do fine.

I like those heated dog water bowls, or you can bring up warm water to the coop every few hours. Remove all water at roosting time so you are not adding to the moisture in the coop during the winter. Chickens are not drinking water in the dark. You can also tack an old towel to the roost bar to keep the feet warm. Chickens lose heat through the feet. Warm feet will keep the heat in the bird.

Oh, and the other kind of "vent" is the business end of the chicken.

Enjoy your lovely flock and welcome to ours!

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