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proper coop temp/cold chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicks47, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. chicks47

    chicks47 In the Brooder

    May 3, 2010
    Northern Illinois
    Hi all, I do hope I am in the best category for this issue. I have been surfing around the forum here trying to get the best info. Found some variety of answers, but hoping for better clarification.

    So anyways... the main question is: What is the ideal temperature for a chicken coop?

    I live in Northern Il, I have 5 hens in a 4x5 coop. The coop is not insulated. (my husband and I discuss the possibilities of the hens pecking out the insulation). The coop is up off the ground about 2 feet. Deep litter method inside.
    We do have it ready for heat lamps, but have not put them in yet. Need to finish getting electric to the coop itself.
    The water has frozen in the night. We are working on a water heater, but it also looks like a heat lamp may be just enough to keep the coop above freezing.
    The heat lamps are stationed above the rafters which is where the hens roost (instead of the intended roosts we put in) will they be too close to the chickens? I have read some people hang the lights closer to the water. Do the hens peck at the wires?

    With all that, what are the signs of cold chickens? I see them out in the cold windy days.

    This is our first winter. My husband knows people who do nothing for their chickens in the winter. I prefer to offer them a bit more comfort and warmth.
    Thank you for any thoughts.

  2. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Songster

    Dec 6, 2009
    Well I live in the mountains of Kentucky and last winter was my first winter with the chooks. The coop was insulated nor did it have a heat lamp. We had our worst winter in years last year. Lots of snow and cold. I had 21 in an 8 by 8. I alos used straw as bedding (deep litter like). My chooks were just fine no cold hens they were good.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Keeping birds out of direct wind should be most important envrironmental concern. Otherwise make certain adequate food available. A single good drink of water in morning should be adequat. Too little water slows intake of ground and dried chicken feeds. Heat lamps with deep litter method may pose high fire risk. Chickens do not seem to damage wires by pecking.

    Cold chicken signs roughly in following order: increased feed intake, avoid drafts, effort to spend time in sun, fluff feathers, stand on one foot, huddling together, reduced blood flow to extremities (combs, the toes), obvious shivering, weight loss even when eating as much as possible, frost-bite and ultimately lethargy (last with death imminent unless you intervene. Birds may also shift roost and if free-range, may greatly shift foraging areas as well.

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