What to do in New England winter weather?


In the Brooder
Aug 13, 2016
I'm very new to chickens and have a small flock of 4. Since we're more for the personality and names than egg, they all are different breeds. Austra White (leghorn-Australorp, not quite sure), golden comet, buff orpington, and black sex link. Since I've just been scavenging through BYC as a new member, I still don't know much, it would be great to recieve some tips and tricks, or just some info. We already have a water heater that automatically turns on at 32 degrees and are just tweaking on an insulated coop. TY


11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
On the MN prairie.

Before you button up the coop too much, this is a good thread on ventilation in the coop. Your chickens are far better off in an uninsulated, well-ventilated coop than one that is too tight and moist inside.


lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
Can you give the dimensions inside of your coop: floor foot print, and height??? Ventilation is key. More important than heat. Do you have windows in your coop that can capture some of that winter sunlight??? Unless the temp goes below 20*, I have at least 1 and usually 2 windows open in my coop. (you can see my coop in the link to my interview in my signature line. It has 3 windows, full length door window, pop door, 16' of soffit vent, ridge vent, 2 eave vents, and recently installed 15 x 24" louvered vent at floor level) Those birds put out a lot of moisture in their respiration and their poop. That condenses on all surfaces, including combs, and other exposed tissue. That's what caused frost bite. In the morning, my girls will often have a spot of frosted feathers about the size of a quarter over one shoulder. that's from their respiration over night as they tuck their head under their wing. Birds with big combs (all of your birds) roosters more so, may have part of their comb exposed at night, so are often prone to frost bite on the tips of their combs. Perches are best if they are on the wide side (2 x 4 laid on the flat) so the bird's toes are covered. Perch also needs to be far away from back wall and ceiling that the feathers don't touch, and there is room for all of that moisture to go some where instead of settling on the bird. Your flock will benefit from having a run that is available in winter, and protected from the snow. Many birds HATE the snow, and refuse to walk in it. But, with persistence, you can get them over that silly notion by putting down a thin layer of hay, and tossing some scratch. Many folks put up a shower curtain to block the snow and wind from the north, as well as covering at least part of their run. Open southern exposure then collects the sun's rays. A bank of hay bales on the north would work.

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