Winter approaching

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 5.30am, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. 5.30am

    5.30am New Egg

    Aug 7, 2011

    Just wondering what to do with the chickens during winter, it gets pretty cold here often about -10 to -20 degrees celcius. My coop isnt insulated or heated in any way as yet. Will the chickens be ok at this temperature or will they need a heating system installed?

  2. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Madison, CT
    It depends on the breed.
    Some chicken breeds are ok and hardy during the winter and others are very fragile.
    Look up how winter hardy the types of chickens you have are.
    Depending on your set up, you may need to put in heat lamps or bring them inside?
    I live in CT and it gets pretty cold up here so i am making a insulated coop and will put in heat lamps, etc.
  3. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    insulate if you can, chickens can deal with a lot but can get frost bite feet or combs. Use a heat lamp if you can not so they can at last get a break from the freezing temps. tarp over the coop and the run, so snow stays out and does some what more to be a wind break and keep things dry.
  4. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    I was surprised at how well mine did last winter. Unless you have small breeds I wouldn't worry too much about it. Make sure you hav eplenty of ventilation but no drafts directly on the chickens.
  5. rolffamily

    rolffamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Last winter was my first with chickens. They did just fine. It was me who had the problem. I never considered the fact I had to trudge across the yard through deep snow every day to get to the coop. I'm getting too old for that. This year I will have a small snow blower to clear a path.
  6. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
  7. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am in NH and I do insulate the roof but not the walls. I do this mostly to keep it cooler in the coop in the summer but does also help keep it a tad bit warmer in the winter. I have plenty of vetillation and NO drafts which is most important for nightime when they are stationary. During the day their door is open to the run but I cover the sides of the run with HD tarps on the NE side and clear plexiglas halfway up on the other two sides. Keeps the snow out (mostly) so they still have bare ground in the winter.

    For water I use a double walled metal font and place it on a heated poultry base. I think it keeps the water a bit too warm but better than freezing [​IMG]

    One of the most important things is having a proper perch in a cold climate. It needs to be large enough so they do not have to wrap their toes around it. I use 2x4's so their feet are flat and they can cover them up at night to keep them warm. If you have chickens with large combs or waddles coat them in vasoline to keep them from getting frost bitten in extreme temps.

    Hope this helps!
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member


    Northern Michigan. -30F common enough. No heat. No insulation. No frost bite either!!!

    I stress the same things, frequently, in responding to this question. First, cold hardy breeds only for us. We keep birds that were born and bred for a century or more precisely for this climate. Second, frostbite is much more the result of too much humidity than temperatures. Coop/barn must be dry. Since our cold is a dry cold, it is quite manageable. Good ventilation (ie, bad gasses and humidity escapes out using under roof vents. Lots of cozy straw bedding, nice wide roost planks and a dry, sand play indoor play arena.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  9. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2010
    southern Colorado, 8,000 ft, -20+ in the winters....chickens are in an insulated coop, all feathered fine. Unless you have delicate breeds, they should do fine. If in doubt, put a heat lamp in the coop...their body heat should help, keep the litter deep also...seal any cracks for drafts...
  10. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    It is important that they have access to fresh, unfrozen water at all times, which can be a challenge in winter. Also, if you decide to heat your coop, don't have too much of a difference between the inside/outside temperatures. They shouldn't be going from 60 degrees inside to -20 outside. They will get used to the colder temperatures; try to keep it at/above freezing. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by