Winterizing a coop for silkies

Sattva

Chirping
Jun 15, 2020
13
23
56
Hi! I live in Colorado and will be a first time newbie chicken owner.

Hubby and I will be adopting 2-3 silkie hens and we're wondering if they will do OK without supplemental heat in their Omlet Eglu Go Up coop. I've heard mixed things online and a hearsay story of a friend of a friend whose 3 silkies died over the winter.

Will we need to add a heat source for silkies in Colorado winters? Have your silkies been OK?

(Not my photo, just an example of what it looks like. We have the weather cover for the run to keep it drier.)
 

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NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
3,643
5,776
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--They will need shelter from snow and wind.
--They will need fresh water at least 2-3 times each day, or a heated water dish.

I don't know about Silkies in particular, but most chickens do fine in winter weather if they can roost in a wind-free place, have plenty to eat and drink, and have enough sheltered space to move around in the daytime. They usually do not like to walk in snow.

The daytime space needs enough light for them to see. Covered run might work, coop with a window might work, coop with a light bulb certainly works.

And when I hear of birds that died in cold weather, I always wonder how many died of thirst, not the cold itself. Or hunger, because when they are thirsty, they also quit eating.
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
372
696
156
Ontario
Silkies don't quite have the same feather insulation that the average chicken has, or so I've been told, but they do just fine in a Canadian winter with all the things listed by NatJ. This is my first winter with silkies, but the lady I got them from has had them for years, sleeping in a barn stall with an outside run. I don't know how well the Eglu coops retain heat, I wouldn't think they would need any actual heat source, but if they seem chilly, some sort of extra insulation around the outside of the coop portion (without blocking ventilation!) would work, and a tarp blocking the sides with prevailing wind and top should keep out the worst of the snow. Oh, she also mentioned that they get damp easier on those semi warm melt days and should be at the very least toweled off before bedding down for the night and to keep an eye out for ice clumps on feathered feet.

Any chicken I've ever heard of dying from exposure was just that, exposed to the elements without food or water or had some other underlying health issues.

(But that's just what the lady I got them from mentioned, she keeps hers in with her regular flock.)
 

SoftSilkie

Sunny-side up
Premium Feather Member
Sep 4, 2019
2,051
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Idaho
My Coop
Silkies don't quite have the same feather insulation that the average chicken has, or so I've been told, but they do just fine in a Canadian winter with all the things listed by NatJ. This is my first winter with silkies, but the lady I got them from has had them for years, sleeping in a barn stall with an outside run. I don't know how well the Eglu coops retain heat, I wouldn't think they would need any actual heat source, but if they seem chilly, some sort of extra insulation around the outside of the coop portion (without blocking ventilation!) would work, and a tarp blocking the sides with prevailing wind and top should keep out the worst of the snow. Oh, she also mentioned that they get damp easier on those semi warm melt days and should be at the very least toweled off before bedding down for the night and to keep an eye out for ice clumps on feathered feet.

Any chicken I've ever heard of dying from exposure was just that, exposed to the elements without food or water or had some other underlying health issues.

(But that's just what the lady I got them from mentioned, she keeps hers in with her regular flock.)
I've heard that rumor about silkies. I don't believe it. My silkies seem to do better in the cold than the heat! :idunno
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
372
696
156
Ontario
I've heard that rumor about silkies. I don't believe it. My silkies seem to do better in the cold than the heat! :idunno
I believe it! I swear my two spent more time sucking in water during the summer than anything else, now that the temps are down, they're happy and just as active as any of my others! Temps have been down to freezing for the last few nights, and they certainly don't seem any worse for wear. I'm guessing they'll be just fine during the rest of the winter, but I have a full size wood walled coop, so I'm not terribly worried. Those new fangled plastic things make me wonder though. Are they built so they're an oven in the summer and decent in the winter wind? The other way around? Or a happy medium? 🤔
 

TryxiChick

In the Brooder
Sep 19, 2020
12
31
36
SE QLD, Australia
My Coop
Following! Interested to see how they go in the Eglu. The marketing suggests they will be okay in freezing temps, some extra insulating options in their site.
I am about to re-flock with silkies after regular hens in out Eglu Up. Can't say we have freezing temps though, heat will be our concern :pop
 

Sattva

Chirping
Jun 15, 2020
13
23
56
Following! Interested to see how they go in the Eglu. The marketing suggests they will be okay in freezing temps, some extra insulating options in their site.
I am about to re-flock with silkies after regular hens in out Eglu Up. Can't say we have freezing temps though, heat will be our concern :pop
I will report back :) I found a YouTube video where someone used a wireless thermometer to track the winter nighttime temperature inside the Eglu Go Up and it was impressive!
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
3,643
5,776
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USA
I found a YouTube video where someone used a wireless thermometer to track the winter nighttime temperature inside the Eglu Go Up and it was impressive!
That's a good idea, to track the actual temperature.

If you know from the thermometer that it's warm in there, you can avoid worrying.

And if the thermometer tells you it was cold, but you find that the chickens are fine, then you know for the future that they do OK at that temperature.
 

BigBlueHen53

Peace, fear not.
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
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SE Missouri, USA
It isn't the cold that would worry me, so much as the wet and the wind. That looks pretty flimsy to me, like a tent. Your birds have to stay dry above all. I grew up in Denver so I know how the winters can be. If that will keep your birds dry, they should be all right. I'm not convinced but I can't see the picture very well. Maybe it is more substantial than it looks.
 

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