Winter in Iowa

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Esand75, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. Esand75

    Esand75 Chirping

    Jul 2, 2014
    Looking for tips and suggestions on keeping my girls alive this winter. It's my first year, do I really need a heat lamp? I have 6 barred rock in a 4x 7 coop. I use a metal water can, so I plan on using the heated water base. The coop is on the ground with a sand base. I don't plan on putting a lamp in to keep them laying but that thought has not been finalized yet. Do I need to Vaseline their combs and waddles? I just don't want to find frozen chickens come February.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  2. Cellochick

    Cellochick In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2013
    I live in North Dakota, so my chickens are pretty winter proof! Usually I put a much deeper pine shaving bedding in for them, as well as a heated waterer. As for the vaseline, Ive only had to do that to some of my larger roosters combs and wattles. Chickens also warm themselves by fluffing their feathers, and then sealing in the warme air around their bodies. Breeds like silkies and frizzles cant do this, so last winter my silkie had a sweater that kept him warm.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Think dry...... think of people in a car in the winter without heat..... what happens? Water begins to quickly fog up the windows and condense. Wet chickens are cold and frost bit chickens. Keep your chickens dry with ventilation, and they will create the heat they need by the feed you give them.

    They don't really need heat lamps, but they do need dry quarters.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I'm in MN - similar winters to yours. I do not put heat lamps in my coop. I do use a heated dog dish as a waterer. They have plenty of fresh bedding and good ventilation. I have never put vaseline on combs or wattles. Too much moisture in your coop is a major cause of frostbite. I actually keep the pop door open to the run for most of the winter so they can go outside if they wish.
  5. Esand75

    Esand75 Chirping

    Jul 2, 2014
    Thanks for the info. I appreciate all the help.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Love the foggy windows in a car analogy!!
    What a great way for people to understand the gathering of humidity in an enclosed space during cold weather!
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    NJ winter is probably not as severe, but some of my strategies may work for you. I have gable vents on both sides of the coop and pop door open. Warm moist air would rise and exit thru the gable vents with pop door providing makeup air. The gable vents have shutters that can be closed on the upwind side to minimize the draft in the coop.

    No insulation, no heat, yes water warmer, and gave in to light for laying. Amount of light is controlled depending on the yield (~11 hours total counting day light , this probably will raise some controversy), so they get as much rest as possible and I get enough eggs.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    You don't have to put vaseline on their crops but you may need to put some on their combs and wattles to prevent frostbite. Heat lamps aren't very necessary if the coop is dry, warm, insulated and draft free. Straw is probably the best winter bedding material. It traps heat and gives the birds something to do. Scratch is also a great treat as it is fattening and provides warmth. Feed this in the evenings.

    Here's some great and helpful links to look into.

    Good luck and best wishes!

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