WARM? How do you keep your flock warm in the winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RidgeRunner Hen, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. RidgeRunner Hen

    RidgeRunner Hen Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2010
    This is our first winter with a flock.
    What are some of your tried and true ways to keep your flock healthy and warm?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  3. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    its not warm you need to worry about. its drafts and humidity. i have 8 separate coops and buildings the only one that has heat is the building with the incubator. with a heated waterer you will be set. I get -0 temps often.
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    The chickens will keep themselves warm--you just have to keep them dry. It is moisture that is the culprit. Make sure their shelter is well vented and as long as there is some way to keep the water from freezing they'll get through the winter just fine even when it drops below zero.
  5. Drakegeorge

    Drakegeorge New Egg

    Nov 14, 2010
    lawson missouri
    This is our first winter with a flock also. We were advised to use a heated waterer. I read in an article that if I provide layers of straw and wood shavings that they help insulate the coop. You are supposed to put a layer of shavings/straw down, let them use it, then add another layer. Their manure layered with the bedding provides heat. This advice came from someone who raised chickens in Alaska. He says to clean the coop in the spring. I may not be able to wait that long, but so far my chickens seem comfortable. Our temps haven't dropped below 30 at night yet. My run is covered, and the coop is protected on the north and west sides. We also have tried to make our coop draft proof. We have Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshire Reds. We were told that they are rather cold tolerant.
  6. RidgeRunner Hen

    RidgeRunner Hen Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2010
    Quote:We are in Kentucky...not on the river but near the Ohio....
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It would help on some questions if you would modify your profile to show what general area you are in. I don't need to be able to find it on Google Maps but just the general area.

    Here is a picture of mine taken when the thermometer read 8 degrees Fahrenheit. You can see in my profile about where I live.

    Mine don't mind the cold all that much. It's the wind and snow they don't like. I don't even provide heated water. I use a black rubber bowl set in the sun to keep it thawed most days. Passive solar heating can work. Cloudy days and really cold days cause problems but I get by. I also do not provide any heat in the coop.

    What you do depends a bit on your set-up too. Those little raised coops present more challenges that a big walk-in coop set on the ground. But even with them, if you can insulate the bottom, maybe with bedding, maybe something else, and keep drafts out yet have good ventilation, you should do OK in your area. The way I provide ventilation is to have the only openings at night to be higher than the chickens are when they are roosting.
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Wind blocks help tremendously...whether that's tarps around the prevailing wind side of your run, or stacked strawbales. Make sure you coop housing is draft free. Lay down extra inches of bedding in their housing. Make sure they have wider roosts (2x4 laid flat) so they can totally cover their toes w/their feathers when roosting. I do use a lamp (well secured at two points) when the temps drop off a lot, but many do not and their chickens do fine down to zero degrees or lower (winter hardy breeds). But my girls are pets, so I try to make their nights a little easier... [​IMG] Oh...and I give extra scratch and other treats in the winter too...little extra energy for warmth.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  9. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    My coop is 4 x 7 and after that brooder light fire, no more heat. My chickens did just fine without heat. Yes drafts and moisture condensation are the worst enemies for chickens. Drafts, not meaning ventilations but open winds and blowing snow/wind into the coop. They need to get out of the elements. Windows are a plus if you can put them near the roosting area where they can sunbathe themselves during the day. Be sure there is no drafts coming in from the windows.

    Generally with good water supply, high protein feed, dry areas, no drafts, the chickens will be just fine even I've had temps going minus 10 to 12 in winter nights.
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    The windows on my adult coop are shuttered after nighttime temps. start staying in the 40s. The coop is insulated. That's about it.

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