To heat or not to heat the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by morgenbreanne, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. morgenbreanne

    morgenbreanne Just Hatched

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    Newbie chicken owner here and I have been doing lots of research (you guys have been great help!) I'm seeing mixed reviews on heating a chicken coop in the winter. I live in Michigan and winters can be brutal. I am set on getting a water heater to make sure my girls always have access to water but is it necessary to warm the coop? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  2. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    I am subject to -40º weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing or heating your coop to help your birds combat the cold.

    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 as an added supplement in a separate feeder.

    The extra nourishment is more then 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

    "NOT"


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

    "MAJOR" problems.

    When it comes to lighting if you find you are short on eggs it does apparently help. I personally do not bother in my operation eggs are sold only to neighbours when they are available (if the sign is out I have eggs). Eggs in my operation have a tendency to crack and freeze during the winter months (we do not discard them and are fine but use them in house not for sale) the more eggs you produce during these months the more eggs will fall into this category.

    I have roughly 24 Golden Comet hens the longest I ever been out of eggs can be measured in hours >12<24. You will find that the egg supply in any hen is a finite resource the quicker you milk the eggs out of a hen the faster it will be spent and end up in your stew pot.

    On average one hen produces somewhere between 600 to 700 eggs in its life time. Lighting only effect the speed of delivery of the eggs which at the end of the day would amount to less than a year in the hens life is my guess

    If you do decide extra lighting is necessary have your light on a timer to lengthen the day "MAKE SURE IT IS SECURED BY 2 MEANS OF SUPPORT" one being a "SAFETY CHAIN" in case one fails especially if it is an incandescent bulb or heat lamp.

    I personally raise hens as a hobby; and for their manure to enrich my vegetable garden any thing else the hens provide is merely a bonus.

    Here is one BONUS NOW not many people can enjoy seeing in their back yard on a regular basis.

    [​IMG]

    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.
    Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

    I have 65 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

    Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  3. morgenbreanne

    morgenbreanne Just Hatched

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    Thank you! That's a lot of good information! Now when you say whole corn are you talking about dried corn? Just not all crushed up? Also the deer picture is just beautiful
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Short answer....NO!

    Most chicken feed is corn based......adding whole or cracked corn won't warm them up more than their regular feed digesting.
     
  5. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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  6. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    3,345
    645
    306
    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
     
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  8. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I purposely by feed that does not have corn or soy in it. I have always heard that giving them some cracked corn at bedtime would keep them warm all night. Is it just that having anything in their crop at night to digest helps keep them warm?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't heat my coop. I'm too scared of BBQing my chickens before I'm ready to cook them lol.

    Sorry, poor pun on fire hazards :p

    Seriously though, I don't heat my coop, and although I'm not in Michigan, or Canada, I'm in northern Colorado, does that count? :D

    I've learned that the biggest concern isn't actually the cold, but the ventilation. Can't let their moist breath condense in the coop or they'll get frostbitten easier. Good ventilation is a must, to keep air flowing but not blizzard winds.

    I just have an inch wide opening on the eave on the north, and a little window on the east; keeps it warm but dry; no frozen toesies or combs here :)


    Eta: no opinion on the corn here. My feed has corn, but I don't feed them anything special for winter other than upping the protein to make up for lost frozen bugs. They get a snack of leftovers before bed, but that's just me cleaning off the table after supper ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
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