San Diego hens - do they need heat during the winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sturek, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. sturek

    sturek New Egg

    Aug 14, 2010
    I live in San Diego with my 6 hens, and I'm a first-timer and new to keeping chickens. The coop was built by the previous home owner, and has chicken wire on three sides, with plywood on the fourth side, and roof and roosts, so it's really open. Do I need to put some plywood over the chicken wire during the winter to reduce drafts, even if San Diego winters are mild? Should I consider any type of heating - like a heat lamp, or a ceramic heater (that I read about on another post) to make sure that they are warm? I have a few nest boxes with straw, but my hens prefer to be to stay up on the top roost, and I get chilly just looking at them. Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    The only thing I would make sure of for your chickens is that there is enough solid shelter for them to to get out of the rain/wind during your guy's rainy season...when the rain may blow sideways. Other than that, they will be fine [​IMG]
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Chicken wire is no good as predator protection. Think about replacing it with hardware cloth (welded wire).

    I live in North Texas, and I have a very experienced poultry keeping friend who houses his chickens (both standard and bantams) in roofed, chain link dog kennels during our winters. Night time temps in the winter occasionally dip below freezing and into the low twenties, sometimes even to the teens. The only thing he does is tarp the sides of his kennels to give his birds shelter from wind chill.

    As long as your birds can stay dry and out of drafts they should do fine in without supplemental heat...unless you happen to have a breed of chicken that is known for not being able to handle cold (like Seramas). You will also want to be sure they have flat roosts so they can cover their toes with their breast feathers, and it also helps to offer scratch in the late afternoon so they can go to roost at night with full crops.
  5. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    No, you don't need supplemental heat here in San Diego. Just have a place for them to get out of the cold and no drafts. Most chickens want to retire here! [​IMG]
  6. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    as long as they have shelter from the rain and wind they will br fine. You might want to think about upgradeing the chicken wire. I have 1 side of my coop open when I close the pop door at night I put down a tarp to close off my open side so no draft at night. A lot of people use tarps as wind breaks f you need a cheap wind break. t s not pretty but wll do the job
  7. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I used to live in San Diego (North County) and no, you don't need supplemental heat. But for sure you need to replace that wire with something more substantial. Seriously.

    We got that mist off the ocean every night - it was cold and wet. Seems like you might want to offer some protection from that as the temperatures cool off in the winter.

    If it were me, instead of plywood I'd hang some clear vinyl sheets over the walls to give them some protection from the elements but still allow in sunlight. It could be stapled at the top and secured with grommets (easy at home project) and cup hooks at the bottom. Then, in good weather, simply roll up and secure. I saw someone on this site - wish I could remember WHO - who fashioned some really attractive protective walls out of clear vinyl made for jeep windows. Nice and strong, but clear so they can still see out. And still good to look at. Of course, it goes OVER your new hardware wire - not in place of. [​IMG]

    I imagine you could get that clear heavy vinyl at Home Depot as well.

    ETA: [​IMG] from Minnesota
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010

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