Winter and the coop


In the Brooder
8 Years
Nov 27, 2011
I have searched the posts and I have read most of them but I still have a few questions. I live right on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, temps in winter are usually around 20-30 sometimes teens and negative numbers at night along with over 10 feet of snow. I have 13 chickens in a 10x10 coop, with 2 roosting bars made out of 2 inch dowls with one roost being a 2x4 flat so they can cover their toes. I have checked to see if the girls can cover thier toes on the 2 in dowl and they can, well I can't see toes, so I am assuming. There are 3 nesting boxes, 2 on the wall and one is a rubber tub, (2) 3 lb hanging feeders and a 3 gallon heated waterer. I have a normal light for egg production and 2 heat lamps. So far since it was been around freezing, I am leaving one heat lamp on but when it got to 8 degrees a few nights ago, I turned the 2nd on one. Am I now concerned that I am using the heat lamps and it isn't good for the girls. Since the snow has come, they aren't going outside as much, they are free range during th day and locked up at night. I think I have given all the info on my coop. Do any of you see a concern or thought? I have 3 Rhode Islands, 3 guineas and 7 Barred Rocks. I started out with 3 Barred Rocks but saw 4 Barred Rock chicks that weren't in the best living conditions so I bought them too. Thank you!
My first question about the cold in the coop would be, what do you have for ventilation in the coop & what do you have for insulation? What is the coop made of? Does the sun shine on the roof during the day/ Your barred rocks won't need a heat lamp with a well-built coop. I don't know about the guineas. Here is Patandchickens' BIG OL' Links. She's a fellow Ontarian & BYC member of 4+ years

my Big Ol' Ventilation Page is at
Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
Cold Coop (winter design) page: … mperatures

Hope this helps.
What are your wind conditions??

In SE colo, we may get alot of wind and dry humidity at any time.....
I give 1 coop a light and the other I dont.
So some do give heat, some don't. Chickens are very adaptable,
so whether you do provide a heat source or light it is OK to do so or not.

Just observe how they are doing & make a determination,
depending on what your conditions are, at any one time.
Say if it is VERY COLD & windy, You might want to give a heat source until
the storm passes.

Experience will help you in making your decisions.
Good luck....
Thank you! I will read those! My coop is made from wood, metal roof, no insulation. We put a lower ceiling in, in the process of covering the little cracks, southern facing 24inx36 in. window and a 1ftx2ft (might be smaller) vent on northern wall, double doors open when nice out but lately closed with a chicken door in one. Yes, the sun shines on the coop during the day. How can I tell if it is too humid, moist in the coop? I read about the deep litter method, so far I have been picking out the poop with a pitch fork and replacing as needed with pine shavings. I am thinking of trying the deep method just worry about smell. One of the guineas seems to stay by the heat lamp but all the others venture outside when nice. They aren't sure about the snow but while go whereever there isn't snow to scratch and do chicken stuff.
I am in upstate NY - many nights in the - temps. No heat - EVER. Ensure that there are no drafts in your coop. Think of when you have a coat on, nice and cozy but when a cold wind blows under that coat you get cold. MUST have ventilation though, usually at the top of the coop-blows through but not under the birds.

Flat boards are better for roosts

Extra light is for egg production - typically totalling 15 hours including natural light per day

Good luck!
Thanks everyone for the replies! I have read the links provided except for the last one, it says it is no longer available.

although not sure about guinea fowl and cold hardiness.

I just found out the guinea hens will be fine without heat. I am starting to feel better about winter now and the hens. We got the cracks covered, 2x4's for roosts and put a lot more bedding in. Now I guess we wait for the snow and cold.​

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