Wintering chickens

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
4,076
6,853
406
USA
If the chickens can sleep in a place with no wind (fresh air is good, wind blowing through is not), they will usually be fine with no heater.

It depends a little on how cold, and what breeds. But normal-sized chickens with normal-type feathers are typically fine even when the inside of their coop is below freezing. I do mean that literally--you walk in and find their water frozen, but the chickens are fine.

If it helps, think of wild birds--they sleep outside all winter long. Feathers really can be quite warm!
 

Teresa D

Chirping
May 18, 2020
197
241
73
Wisconsin
Thanks that is what I have heard. I have also heard of chickens getting frost bit toes??? I just want to avoid all troubles.
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
4,076
6,853
406
USA
Give them suitable roosts, and enough bedding on the floor, and they will usually be fine.

I see some people recommend wide perches (the wide side of a 2x4, for example). The idea is that the chickens' feet are flat and their belly feathers cover their toes. I'm not sure if it actually makes a difference, but it probably doesn't hurt either.

One other thing I heard about perches: avoid metal perches in cold weather. (Thinking about how cold metal gets, as compared with wood, that made sense as soon as I heard it.)
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
1,489
2,111
251
Lincolnton, NC
Chickens are way more prone to get frostbite on their combs - the bigger the comb, the worse the threat which is why roosters usually get it first. Make sure you have proper ventilation that is higher than the birds (so they’re not roosting in direct draft) bc when they breathe, the humidity that it creates settles in the combs and freezes. You should also have plenty of bag balm in hand - if you notice black tips on any combs you can rub them with the balm and it will create a protective and healing barrier.
just remember - chickens evolved right along with us, and survived for millions of years way before human beings started building them coops.
 

ADKcluckers

Chirping
Aug 2, 2020
29
51
69
Southern Adirondacks NY
Just make sure they have a dry coop - damp air or damp bedding is most likely cause of cold issues. Helps if they can drink without dipping sensitive danglies into the water :) And plenty of ventilation to keep the ammonia and moisture from building up in the coop. No need for heating except the water maybe (I just got a heated water bucket and ordered the extra long horizontal nipples to install in it). I was in the same boat as you at first, but there's tons of folks here who shared their experience in places far colder and I trust their advice. You can do a quick search and find pages of topics about this with a lot of details. Main things are ventilation, dry coop, no drafts on the birds.
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
5,276
13,918
747
Western Ohio
I see some people recommend wide perches (the wide side of a 2x4, for example). The idea is that the chickens' feet are flat and their belly feathers cover their toes. I'm not sure if it actually makes a difference, but it probably doesn't hurt either.
Wide roosts can cause issues, particularly with large birds. We had an 11 month old BJG that developed a huge breast blister because of the wide roosts. He was big, and his keel bone was rubbing on the wide roost. This caused the breast blister and it took quite a bit of treatment and time to fully recover from it. When the chickens perch on a more narrow board, they cover their toes with their fluff and their feet stay warm. Also, no friction from their keel bones rubbing on the board and causing issues. So, we ended up turning all the roosts to the narrow side and have not had any further issues, and we still have very large BJG. Some people use a 2x4, narrow side up, others use wood closet rods, others use branches.


Just make sure they have a dry coop - damp air or damp bedding is most likely cause of cold issues. Helps if they can drink without dipping sensitive danglies into the water :) And plenty of ventilation to keep the ammonia and moisture from building up in the coop
All good advice.
 

New2COchicks

Chirping
May 6, 2020
103
69
60
Give them suitable roosts, and enough bedding on the floor, and they will usually be fine.

I see some people recommend wide perches (the wide side of a 2x4, for example). The idea is that the chickens' feet are flat and their belly feathers cover their toes. I'm not sure if it actually makes a difference, but it probably doesn't hurt either.

One other thing I heard about perches: avoid metal perches in cold weather. (Thinking about how cold metal gets, as compared with wood, that made sense as soon as I heard it.)
What is enough bedding. The height and the type of bedding please. Now I have 1 inch of pine shavings...any suggestions?
 

trescloudy

Songster
Mar 6, 2016
137
255
123
C
If the chickens can sleep in a place with no wind (fresh air is good, wind blowing through is not), they will usually be fine with no heater.

It depends a little on how cold, and what breeds. But normal-sized chickens with normal-type feathers are typically fine even when the inside of their coop is below freezing. I do mean that literally--you walk in and find their water frozen, but the chickens are fine.

If it helps, think of wild birds--they sleep outside all winter long. Feathers really can be quite warm!
Correct but I'm trying to avoid the frozen water issue.
 

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