Tips for winterizing the coop, lighting, and heating

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Jenscriv12, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Jenscriv12

    Jenscriv12 New Egg

    Oct 23, 2015
    Hi everyone, I'm new here and new to raising backyard chickens. I live in South Jersey and the average temperature in the winter is mid 20s. I have 6 pullets now (2 ea of austalorps, gold laced wyandottes, barred rocks). I am trying to figure out what, if anything I need to do to prepare their home for the winter. Here is a picture of the tractor my husband built. There are two ~ 1' x1' windows that close shut on each side that we added after this picture plus the ventilation at the top. The roof is corrugated metal. The backside has a wide hinged door that folds down so a little air comes through there as well.
    I planned on moving it closer to the house to have access to electricity for a heated waterer and possibly some light in the early morning also. Is it necessary to provide any heat or add insulation of some kind? Is light a good idea? My oldest 4 girls are 21 weeks and haven't started laying yet, the younger 2 won't be 20 weeks until mid-december so I want to encourage as much as possible.
    Any opinions are greatly appreciated, as well as suggestions on what type of lighting/heating if warranted.

  2. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    You don't need heat at all but you likely could use more ventilation, try to put it in areas where they aren't getting a draft across their roost area, this can be difficult to do in small coops. Lighting isn't necessary but will give you higher egg production. I have a led light on a timer and a heated waterer in my coop
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada


    I am subject to -40ยบ weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have 65 trips around the sun and have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing your coop;

    Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

    Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.
    This is done by feeding them whole corn if available or cracked corn.

    The extra protein is more the adequate to bring them through the
    "COLDEST" winter.

    Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

    That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

    I do not add any extra heat or lighting.
    Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

    Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

    I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

    You really do


    have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

    "MAJOR" problems.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  4. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    The added light is a matter of preference, if you only want eggs for yourself then it isn't necessary but if you have neighbors who buy eggs you may need to keep them laying at a higher capacity. I use light for that reason as well as the fact that I rely on the egg money to at least partially pay for feed, it doesn't cover it but it helps, I would need to charge more than people here are willing to pay if I wanted to completely cover the bill.
    1 person likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^

    Might not need lighting first winter, pullets can sometimes lay all winter without it, but I've always used it.
    It's getting late to start the lighting, should be ramped up slowly.
    Drastic and sudden changes in lighting can cause stress and undesired results.
    Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  6. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2013
    For the winter I wrap my run with heavy canvas and I do the front with a clear shower curtain,keeps the snow and wind out and gives it a green house affect during the day. It actually keeps it warmer than having nothing but it still gets cold but it won't bother them as long as they can get out of the coop.

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