To heat or not to heat?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by daisylaines, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. daisylaines

    daisylaines Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 5, 2013
    Hello from beautiful South Bruce Peninsula Ontario! We started our flock in August and they have owned my heart since. I absolutely love owning chickens and am learning lots! But one thing I am stumped on is the issue of heat. We have very cold winters up here, I have no idea how cold is too cold for our birds. Our coop is an old gutted camping trailer, converted and full of roosts and nesting boxes. Looking for any advice or personal experiences to assist in deciding what we should do, thanks so much!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    With cold hardy breeds, all they really need is a means to keep the water thawed.

    Think about the origin of some of the breeds you may have:
    Rhode Islands, Delawares, New Hampshires, Jersey Giants, Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes (New York), Buckeyes(Ohio), Chanteclers(Canada), Dominiques(Pilgrims birds), Javas (pioneers birds)
    Hamburgs, Lakenvelders, Barnevelders, Welsummers (Netherlands),
    Polish, Houdans, Faverolles, Crevecoeurs, LaFleche (France)
    Campines (Belgium)

    All quite cold places and developed hundreds of years ago. They had no electric heat lamps. Some were range birds with no housing at all.
    Simply put - they don't need heat. They benefit from a dry place to sleep and lots of ventilation.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
    2 people like this.
  3. jmandawn

    jmandawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2013
    Palmer, Alaska
    1 person likes this.
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I have not needed too, I have ensured the coops have been well vented and not drafty. My ladies have all done well. I ran a heated dog bowl for winter to keep it open but otherwise have skipped heat lamps or lights.
    2 people like this.
  5. daisylaines

    daisylaines Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 5, 2013
    Thanks! :)
  6. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    My Coop is a salvaged 4x8 metal shed here are a few tips and a quick look at my set up.
    My floor are planks with a layer of tin for rodent proofing. On top of the tin I have a piece of vinyl flooring cut one foot longer than the length and width of my coop (roughly). Six inches squares are cut out of the 4 corners of the vinyl flooring. This allows the friction fitted flooring to travel up the walls six inches around the perimeter of my 4x8 salvaged metal coop. Shovel out the heavy stuff into a wheel barrow. Pop out the vinyl flooring hose it off pop it back in.
    Easy Peasy!

    I have been around the sun 63 times.

    It is not my first "Rodeo!"

    Nobody "I know" heats a chicken coop.

    Healthy "cold hearty" chickens die from heat not cold.

    I live in Canada last year was subject to -40º (C or F take your pick) no light or heat in coop NO PROBLEMS. You have to feed heavier during cold snaps with extra corn I find.

    Chickens have been raised on this continent for over a hundred years without heat.

    If you feel you must supply heat to your chickens I suggest keeping your chickens in the house that way you can huddle with your birds when the hydro goes out.

    Chickens will die from cold if not given the chance to acclimatize. Hydro is more apt to go out in an ice storm or blizzard when subject to below 0º temperatures in my opinion.

    How would you supply heat then to your un-acclimatized birds ???

    Diary of last winter cold snap check out the link:

    For along time I used heater tape around a bucket with chicken watering nipples. It worked excellent. However me being me I neglected to change the water as often as I should.

    Last year I switched to white rubber contains the wife found somewhere. The freeze solid every night but the ice just pops out of them in the morning and I replenish them with fresh warm water. They have black ones at the feed store that are similar but large than mine.

    The chickens congregate around them like people having their morning coffee. The only draw back is my yard is pepper with small ice bergs the size of the buckets.

    April looks after that however..

    I have used all types of litter for coops.

    I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

    Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. (I tried wood pellets as a last resort when pine shavings were not available.) They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets .

    Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.

    Works for me in my deep litter method.

    I do add to pellets from time to time.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

    Through the winter months the pellets froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

    POOP BOARDS are the "BEST" addition yet. Handles well over ½ of the poop in my set up keeps ammonia smell in check 3½" below roost excellent for catching eggs laid through the night. I recently friction fit a piece of vinyl flooring over my poop makes clean up even easier; Pop out; Scrap; Hose; Pop in.

    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.

    Easy peasy!.

    Chicken coop is salvaged 4x8 metal shed.




    I house an assortment of birds in this baby barn (¼ inch veneer plywood between birds and elements) no heat no light no problems.
    1 person likes this.
  7. daisylaines

    daisylaines Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 5, 2013
    Thanks for all the great ideas Hokum Coco! I will need to try some of them out, I love new ideas and things to try. Keeping chickens is a wonderful learning experience. I see now too now heat needed [​IMG] Thanks again to all who responded, this is a great community!

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