Will My Chickens Get Too Cold?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bobbi16, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. bobbi16

    bobbi16 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    I live in Salt Lake City Utah and I just got some backyard chickens this year and they have done great all summer. They are now about 6 months old and it is starting to get cooler outside. I am worried about this winter. I was advised by the woman I got the chicken from that they will not need a heat lamp or any heating devise (except for a heater for their water). Is this true???? Or do they need a heat lamp??? I have 5 chickens, austrolop, ameracauna, brahma, black star sex link, and a delaware and they have a 4 foot by 4 foot chicken coop that they can go in and out of all night, and there are two vents in it. I am also planning to move somewhere further east where it gets even colder than Salt Lake and so I didn't know if it would be bad to get them used to a heat lamp and then if the power went out one night and they weren't used to the weather, that they could freeze. Maybe it is best to let them get used to the cold, I don't know. Any suggestions???

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Well they are nice large birds that should fare well, but if they can go in and out all night, do you have it so that there is moving air in the coop (a draft)? You want there to be ventilation, but no draft. The draft will steal the warm air from under their feathers.

    If drafty, they could freeze.

    I personally like to offer a 100 watt bulb that doesn't heat the coop too much (no insulation, metal shed) but they can huddle under it if they get cold. If not, it doesn't raise the temps that much. My area is very damp/windy. The fog rolls in and settles on the chickens, literally.

    Moist cold air is dangerous...much more so than dry cold air for chickens.
  3. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    The only chickens I give heat to in winter are the silkies and baby chicks. I use a 75 watt bulb near their water to keep it from freezing. I shut the windows once it goes below freezing. They do fine, even lay eggs.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    You should close the coop door at night not only to avoid winter draft but protection from predators.

    I'm in norther New Hampshire, no heat, no problem. Only the 3 gallon heated waterer in run. A tarp wrapped around top and 3 sides of run for wind shelter.

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  5. bobbi16

    bobbi16 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    I have a long vent on the top front of the coop that is about 4 feet long and 4 inches tall and a small vent on the bottom that is about 12 inches by 4 inches. It is not a problem to shut the door at night, their outside is completely enclosed with chicken wire so predators cannot come in the coop at night even with the door of the coop open. However, the chickens do sleep up high on their perches next to the long vent on the top of the coop. If i cover the long vent, would that little vent at the bottom be enough ventilation for them?

  6. bobbi16

    bobbi16 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    egghead_Jr, do you have a pic of the vents that are on your coop?
  7. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    No heat, no problem here and temps get down to minus 20s to 30s in Jan. Heated waterers and extra light in the mornings to get the eggs layed before we get up. If the eggs get left through a cold day they will freeze.
  8. haemony

    haemony Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2011
    Chicken wire is not adequate protection from predators at night. I would close the door to the coop at night.
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Allow them the cold now and they will feather up nicely before the worst of winter comes. Just like a horse with it's shaggy winter coat, a chicken prepares and they'll do just fine. Don't insulate, don't heat. They do just fine. No frostbite down to -30 because of excellent ventilation and no humidty.

  10. AV Brahmas

    AV Brahmas Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 30, 2011
    The Great White North
    Curious. You trusted someone enough to buy chickens from them but don't trust their advice for raising them in your climate. Your birds are a lot tougher than you think. Good ventilation and they will be fine. Even a draft is unlikely to phase them...they will just shift away from it or turn so that it cannot ruffle their feathers.

    As to the illusion of safety from chicken wire, it is just that. it is an illusion created by the fact that predators do not generally exert a lot of effort clawing thru wire without a reason. With the chickens roosted in the building there is little motivation to go thru the wire. If the chickens were right on the other side of the wire moving about it would be a different story. Problem is that some predators, and it is usually a racoon, have learned that tearing into a pen that even SMELLS like poultry is likely to reap a reward and they will do it on spec. When that fella comes lumbering down the path your chickens will be toast. Lock the door.

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