Winter Food & Water

ashleyimme

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
23
21
29
Hello-

I have a relatively small coop- just a roost bar and nesting boxes- and my chickens' food and water is all outside. Here in Wisconsin we get COLD winters. I'm wondering if I should put food and water inside the coop for winter? If I leave food and water outside (with heat source to keep from freezing) will my chickens go outside to eat/drink? Or will they prefer to stay inside?

I worry about putting food and water inside the coop because of pests, but also want my chickens to stay healthy through the winter! Wondering what those with small flocks / small coops do?

Thanks!
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,532
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
My chickens will go out to eat in any temperature if it is not windy. When it's cold AND windy tends to be when they hide inside. If you build a wind block so that the food/water area has some protection and locate it relatively near the door to the coop they should come out to eat and drink regularly. Once in awhile if there's a storm and I get home from work in the afternoon and notice the food bowl appears untouched and the chickens are hiding in the coop I might move it into the coop for them for the rest of the day.
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,713
2,135
316
Kalispell MT
My water and food is kept outside in the run. The run is covered so I don't have to worry about snow and rain. I also cover 3 sides of the run with clear vinyl shower curtains so there is no breeze blowing on the birds.

Your chickens will be fine in the winter as long as you have a well ventilated coop that has no breezes blowing through it. A dry chicken is a warm chicken. Gotta get all that warm but moist air the chickens make by pooping and breathing out of the coop. Another reason my water is in the run is to avoid any extra moisture in the coop itself. I have 10 square feet of vents in a 6' by 8' coop that was built for a dozen chickens.
 

parrotlady66

Chirping
Apr 8, 2019
93
229
91
hello I'm glad i read this as we are in Ontario Canada and we get rather cold winters too and this will be our first winter with chickens so trying to learn the ropes
now my hubby wants to put a small micro heater in the coop but i am worried about that and ending up with w burnt down coop we will be putting a heavy plastic around portion of the coop as well to keep the east wind out , we do have a couple nice vents in the coop. SO thanks for the read
 
Sep 22, 2019
58
77
76
Ontario Canada
We are also in Ontario Canada and new to this. My coop has good soffit vents and a good sized cupola on the top so think it’s well vented. They have free access through a small door to the covered run. I keep their food and water in the run and was planning on Leaving it there all winter.
( will heat and put a s all pump in for water ) I was thinking I would cover the sides of my run with clear plexi glass for the winter to block wind and the elements. Maybe leave the top few inches open only. Do you think that would keep in warm enough for the chickens to come out in the run each day. It’s covered and about 10 sq ft per bird. If it’s sheltered from the wind, I thought it would be ok.
Thoughts from experts would be appreciated
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,713
2,135
316
Kalispell MT
Do you think that would keep in warm enough for the chickens to come out in the run each day. It’s covered and about 10 sq ft per bird. If it’s sheltered from the wind, I thought it would be ok.
Thoughts from experts would be appreciated

To keep a chicken warm, think dry. A dry chicken is a warm chicken. They wear their own down blanket. Just keep breezes off the chickens to keep their feathers from ruffling and losing heat trapped by the feathers.

It has gotten down to -22F/-30C every winter since I have moved to Montana. Birds have been fine with that. They do not seem to notice the cold and happily spend the days outside in the run.
 

ashleyimme

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
23
21
29
My chickens will go out to eat in any temperature if it is not windy. When it's cold AND windy tends to be when they hide inside. If you build a wind block so that the food/water area has some protection and locate it relatively near the door to the coop they should come out to eat and drink regularly. Once in awhile if there's a storm and I get home from work in the afternoon and notice the food bowl appears untouched and the chickens are hiding in the coop I might move it into the coop for them for the rest of the day.

Thanks!
 

ashleyimme

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
23
21
29
My water and food is kept outside in the run. The run is covered so I don't have to worry about snow and rain. I also cover 3 sides of the run with clear vinyl shower curtains so there is no breeze blowing on the birds.

Your chickens will be fine in the winter as long as you have a well ventilated coop that has no breezes blowing through it. A dry chicken is a warm chicken. Gotta get all that warm but moist air the chickens make by pooping and breathing out of the coop. Another reason my water is in the run is to avoid any extra moisture in the coop itself. I have 10 square feet of vents in a 6' by 8' coop that was built for a dozen chickens.

Thank you! The shower curtain idea for the run is good!
 

ashleyimme

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
23
21
29
To keep a chicken warm, think dry. A dry chicken is a warm chicken. They wear their own down blanket. Just keep breezes off the chickens to keep their feathers from ruffling and losing heat trapped by the feathers.

It has gotten down to -22F/-30C every winter since I have moved to Montana. Birds have been fine with that. They do not seem to notice the cold and happily spend the days outside in the run.

Thanks so much!
 

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