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Winter is coming, will the girls be warm enough?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Pickled Egg, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Pickled Egg

    Pickled Egg In the Brooder

    Dec 16, 2008
    Perth, Ontario
    This will be our first winter with chickens (barred rock, black sex-link, and chantecler) We live in Ontario (near Ottawa) and during the winter it is typically around -20 C (or -4 F) - sometimes warmer, sometimes colder.

    We will have two heat lamps for between 24 and 30 birds in a coop that is roughly 8' 20'. This is the first winter with the space insulated we don't know what its temperature will be during the coldest days/nights.

    What is the coldest temperatures chickens can handle? Is there anything else we can do to keep them warm, especially at night when the temperature can really drop.


  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    That is a good sized coop. If it is insulated, and especially if it is dirt or slab floor (as opposed to being a wood floor raised above the ground with airspace underneath), you will have considerable thermal inertia and it won't get nearly as cold as the outdoor air on the coldest nights.

    You have good cold-hardy breeds. Chances are good that with proper management (aimed at DRY air - you need well designed winter ventilation) you will not need a lamp at all. Certainly not two heatlamps! (Fire hazard aside, check out what they do to your hydro bill...!)

    It varies, but in dry draft-free air with adequate food and bedding and wide enough roosts, your chicken breeds are typically good down to the temperature you cite, and quite often a lot lower than that.

    Really, it is something to prepare for and make sure you've got all your ducks in a row, but it is not something to WORRY about, and for sure you do not need to get the coop all heated up or anything like that [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  4. Pickled Egg

    Pickled Egg In the Brooder

    Dec 16, 2008
    Perth, Ontario
    Fantastic info - thanks! Ventilation never occured to me, in fact, I figured it was best to keep any cold air out completly so the coop would stay cosy and warm. Live and learn, eh?

    We're curently using heat lights for our younger birds (6 weeks) and they are keeping the coop comfortable when the temperature drops to about 5C at night. If they don't need them once they have all their feathers and have put on a bit more weight it will save us a bit of $$. Plus, once our younger birds turn 12 or 14 weeks they will be introduced to our 4 20+week olds - with any luck they will get along and keep each other warm.

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