To Heat or Not to Heat-That is the Question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChattyChickens4Life, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. To Heat!

  2. Not to Heat!

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  1. ChattyChickens4Life

    ChattyChickens4Life OCD (Obsessive Chicken Disorder)

    Oct 1, 2017
    Hi everyone! Quick question! My mom has been getting very worried lately about our chickens as we are quickly approaching freezing temperatures. I have been telling her that chickens can withstand very cold temperatures without supplemental heating, but she still is apprehensive. Our coop is on the small side for 6 chickens (we are debating whether to build it larger) but it is working for now. We always have one big freeze every winter where it can drop down to 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit. But during the winter, nights (and occasionally days) are always at or below freezing. My mom has suggested using a convection space heater and placing it outside the coop to warm the air. I have warned her about the dangers of coop fires, but she says that this is safer than a free-hanging bulb. What are your thoughts on heating? And what should we use? Any help appreciated! Thank you!
    matt14132, apryl29 and pasuit like this.
  2. JumbeThePigDuck

    JumbeThePigDuck Chirping

    Nov 7, 2017
    Depends on the breed. If you are only concerned about nighttime you could bring them inside to sleep
  3. ChattyChickens4Life

    ChattyChickens4Life OCD (Obsessive Chicken Disorder)

    Oct 1, 2017
    There are 4 EES and 2 Silkies. My mom doesn't want any more chickens inside. Thanks for the suggestion though! Also, I wouldn't want to stress them out moving place to place.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Your birds will be fine. My flock regularly experiences temps at or below 0*F for days and nights, sometimes a week at a time. No supplemental heat needed. However, if your coop is small, it most likely lacks ventilation, which is a recipe for frost bitten combs, wattles, and toes. The more crowded the coop, the greater the risk.
  5. ChattyChickens4Life

    ChattyChickens4Life OCD (Obsessive Chicken Disorder)

    Oct 1, 2017
    The ventilation is actually really good. There are 3, large(ish) spots for ventilation. I was very nitpicky when it came to ventilation. Lol! I do agree that I think the birds will be alright. This thread is more for my mom's peace of mind.
    Smuvers Farm likes this.
  6. Molpet

    Molpet Free Ranging

    Sep 7, 2015
    N. Illinois
    My Coop
  7. Smuvers Farm

    Smuvers Farm Melvin Up the Taterhole

    Feb 16, 2017
    TN/Western KY Border
  8. NNYchick

    NNYchick Songster

    Jun 15, 2017
    Harrisville, NY
    I have been thinking a lot about this lately, then I went out the other night to do coop water and it was 17 degrees F and windy. I wore my old LL bean down coat and I was nice and toasty and I thought hay these chickens have the best cwinter coat money can buy -down. So explain it to her like that, what do humans turn to to stay warm down coats and down filled comforters. Chicken have this already built in they taught us how to stay warm.
  9. The Angry Hen

    The Angry Hen Crossing the Road

    Dec 17, 2016
    As far as heating goes, I suggest you not heat. They should be fine. Although if you wanted to, you can put horse blankets over their nesting boxes or a brooding box.
    I agree with the 'ventilation is more important than heat' post as well.

    The only thing that has caused arguments in the past... (Most people disagree with my opinion). Chickens should have a certain amount of light during the night or when closed up at day. I literally witnessed my late-rooster have a stroke from just unpluging the lights in the coop for 6 hours.
    Sadly, he passed away from the second stroke without lights...
    Rusty, the rooster I mentioned above, did have issues. As not being fertile and having circulation problems. That's why during his first stroke I didn't have a clue it had to due with lighting. But when he died, I knew for sure it was the lighting.

    And what I witnessed through his first stroke with him... Is not what I want you to witness. Probably the most horrifying image I've seen since I've started raising chickens.

    So these are just my honest opinions. You go with what you feel is right for your birds. I hope my information helps the slightest bit on your journey.
    And like another poster said... Worst comes to worse if it's cold at night, bring them in the house. What's the worst that could happen? Bets wishes, and God bless. :)


    *I know that lighting is the same thing as heating. But I use very low watt lightbulbs of which are LED. Also, I am home most of time so fire hazards are not the most potential issue I could have. I have used these methods for over ten years. Not a singular problem than unpluging the lights.*
  10. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Heating the coop only causes the chickens to get used to the heat and then if the power goes out they're having a hard time getting used to the cold.

    I only "heat" my babies in the outdoor brooder until 4 weeks old under the electric hen. Even then most of the time they are sitting on it rather then under it so I wonder how much they really need it.

    Our temps rarely reach minus anything and sustained freezing temps isn't normal for us, our coop issues are usually humidity and hot weather heat related.

    One thing I did when we replaced the rotting seven year old plywood roof this year - I left the rafter eaves open with just hardware cloth covering them to help with ventilation. So far it's created a great way to air out the coop without making it drafty. So I second the need for ventilation to help keep the chickens comfortable.

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