Raising chickens in the winter.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hennypennyinmissouri, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. hennypennyinmissouri

    hennypennyinmissouri In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2008
    O.k. first I want to apologize for not looking up this information first before I ask the questions, But I am working overtime and home for just a few minutes so I just am trying to get a quick answer on this subject.

    I am only a chicken momma of 6 months now.

    I live in Missouri, so not so hard winters.

    Will my chickens lay eggs all winter? or do they quit when it gets cold? Already have skipped days since the temp dropped.

    A heat lamp to be added at night or not?Or when it gets below what?

    Feed more corn during cold temps correct?

    Any quick links to how to prepare chickens for cold winters.

    Thank you in Advance, I am sorry I just haven't had time to look up.
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Okay, you're in Missouri so your winters are probably slightly worse than ours.
    Your chickens are six months old correct? That would make them about the same age as mine.
    Some chickens lay all winter, most take a break. You can add light to increase the daylight hours, but chances are good that your chickens will stop laying at a younger age if you do that. So the choices are basically more eggs in a shorter period of time or less eggs but not having to replace the hen at a younger age. Mine are pets. They're going all natural.
    If you have a dry coop with no drafts then you won't need to add heat unless temps. get down to 30 or below and stay there for awhile. I know some people on the forum that live in extremely cold places and don't heat. Some of it depends on how many chickens you have too. Chickens generate alot of heat. My coop is insulated and I won't be adding additional heat or light unless we get some pretty extreme weather.
    You have those that say corn does not generate heat in the process of digestion, others say it does. I saved cracked corn/scratch for a cooler weather treat because that's what my SO's chicken farming family did. I also fix them some oatmeal from time to time. Gives them a nice warm crop full right before going in to roost for the night.
    If your chickens have been exposed to the changes in weather up to this point, you really don't have to make an other preparations. They've acclimated and they'll do just fine. You may need to deal with frozen waterers. They make heaters for that or you can provide a small light directly above the waterer to keep it from freezing.
    Hope this helps and don't worry about asking questions. If there weren't people here asking questions there wouldn't be much of a message board, IMO.
  3. ChickKidsDad

    ChickKidsDad In the Brooder

    Oct 7, 2008
    Kirkwood, MO
    You might check with mypetchicken.com to see if your breed is winter hardy. I am just outside st louis and will be doing nothing special unless it stays well below freezing for more than a day, then into the basement cage. Good luck!
  4. mamaKate

    mamaKate Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    I've never given heat to healthy adult chickens. I had two tiny Japanese hens in a very small coop with attatched run for several years. I made sure it was draft-free in the fall and they were fine even during snowstorms and occasional bouts of below zero weather. You will need to be diligent about the water,though.
  5. moselder71

    moselder71 Hatching

    Oct 6, 2014
    I live in PA and we have 5 hens,1 rhode island red, 2 buff orpingtons and 2 barred rocks. We got them when they were 1 day old in March so they r 7 months old and we r getting ready for their 1st winter outside. I have been reading all kinds of posts but I am still not 100% sure what to do for them. Our winters in Pennsylvania vary from year to year, sometimes we can be below freezing for several days a year. Some people say insulate the coop, some say to have a heat lamp. I am thinking about getting a heated water dish for them. We just got them a new coop, it has 2 doors and a window in it. Any recommendations?

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