Winter warmth

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by barngem, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. barngem

    barngem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2009
    Northern Michigan
    This has probably been asked a hundred times but I cant find a satisfactory answer
    I live in Northern Michigan... by Traverse City, not in the Upper Peninsula but in the top West of the Northern Lower.
    I have a chicken coop that is 48 x48 on legs I will post a pic.
    I have 6 chickens... 4 Sumatras 6 months old now and two other chickens one little Old EnglishBantam rooster and one Bantam white cochin hen. Last year I only had the two bantams in the coop so I kept a light on them. I used verying wattages of bulbs through the winter. Ranging from 40 to 100 on our sub zero nights and days. I kept a thermometer and it appeard that by doing that my coop averages 45-50 all winter. It is insulated but not like a house. It is draft free. I have two doors for the front one with a screen and one solid if the wind is blowing and its nasty I would put the solid door on at night. The door is the door in the front that is small and they enter the coop through it.
    I keep it clean and keep Sweet PDZ ,Sawdust then Straw on the floor in the winter.
    What I am driving at is this.. some people say dont need to heat the coop if its draft free and I have grown chickens. But is that a rule of thumb for my location?

    I can see that if I lived in Southern Ohio there would be no need for heat. Right now its not an issue it appears that last night when it was 30 the coop was 45 or so inside. I am concerned with the days we have constant cold.
    I dont want a light this year. Last year we had plenty of room to hang a light and the two chickens could set on the perch just fine but this year our perch is full and there is no room for a light. I have seen those warmers that are safe for the wall or bottom has anyone used one of those?

    This is the coop. I cover the top of the cage with a tarp in winter and along the back it gets no west or north wind in winter.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's certainly safer not to use heat. If your lower coop is draft free and you have some ventilation to get moisture out the top, you probably don't need heat. Are you insulated? Certainly with a small number of hens insulation can make sense, though you could substitute a hover over their roost or a huddle box. You're in a cold zone but I think your air is dry most of the time? Can that big vent at the top be closed if there is a blizzard?

    We installed snow boards last year and found it kept the run largely snow-free which was great. They also baffle the wind and keep the coop from getting as drafty when the pop door is open.

    Some other thoughts

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-seasonal-concerns

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-Coop_Insulation

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    One of the dangers of heat (apart from potential fire hazard) is that if the birds get used to the heat and then you have a major storm that knocks power out for a few days, they can't survive because they are unused to having to keep themselves warm. If your coop is draft free, with the number of birds you have, I would think it best not to heat, and allow them to adjust naturally to the temperature.
     
  4. barngem

    barngem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2009
    Northern Michigan
    That opening at the top is actually a glass window they set on the perch and look out.

    As I mentioned I do put a tarp over the whole top of the cage and around the back. My horse barn is on the North side of the pen and it is placed forward so that I only have to put a tarp across the back to keep west and north west wind out.

    I did not cover the pen on the South and East side last winter and snow was no issue. Worked well. I put it on the South of the horse barn for that very reason.

    I think I need to put some small vent holes in the side or under the window because there is condensation on the window sometimes
    in the morning, not tons but some.

    We actually have a fairly dry winter usually lots of snow..... 120 inches last winter.
    Our summer is humid since we are basicly surrounded by water in Michigan.

    The coop is insulated it has 1/2 inch outside plywood then about 3 inches of insulation (we used those old drop ceilling tiles) then Louann inside. All the doors except the front have weather seal and close tight.

    Here is a sorta pic of the inside but you cant really tell much. This is a summer pic with only sawdust on the floor.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  5. barngem

    barngem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2009
    Northern Michigan
    LynnP I love you feeder hopper. Good info on what to do in winter. Thanks
     

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