Winterizing The Coop!?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MKKimmen, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. MKKimmen

    MKKimmen In the Brooder

    This is our first Winter with Chickens. We are going to put the heat lamp out in the coop, and the coop has good ventilation up by the roof to let some fresh air in but not rain or snow. Were are thinking of insulating it too if need be. ...Is that still necessary with the heat lamp??
    The coop is 4ft x 6ft. Were hoping the heat lamp prevents the water from freezing too, but if not we will purchase a electric water heater base.
  2. poultrycrazy

    poultrycrazy Songster

    Aug 25, 2010
    Are they bantams or standard? Either way you will probably want to face the heat lamp towards wear they sleep, and just purchase a water heater base.
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    If you use a heat lamp, please make sure it is very secure. Every year there are a couple posts that someones coop burned down; and a couple posts about close calls.

  4. MKKimmen

    MKKimmen In the Brooder

    They are standard chickens. My husband has the heat lamp "shade"/houseing nailed to the ceiling. Do you think we will still have to insulate the coop or is the lamp enough in a 4ft x 6ft coop?
  5. poultrycrazy

    poultrycrazy Songster

    Aug 25, 2010
    I have an 8 by 7 foot coop and i had 3 RIR hens and a white rock roo and its not insulated. They made it through the winter with one heat lamp on were they sleep and they all survived, except the rooster got a tiny spot if frostbite on the tip of his comb.
  6. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I have tiny bantams that are much more sensitive to cold than the standard sized breeds. I decided to insulate rather than use a heat lamp for several reasons. Number 1 is the fire hazard of a heat lamp, especially if using wood shavings as bedding. My coop is not hard wired for electricity, either, so that would mean running an extension cord from the house which is itself something of a hazard.

    Last winter someone we know had one of her chickens burn her comb badly by getting too close to a heat lamp. You can get a guard that fits over the lamp to prevent that kind of accident.

    Then, there are power outages to consider. If chickens have gotten used to the warmth provided by a lamp, they're going to have a difficult time adjusting to being without one suddenly. Lastly, there's the ongoing power consumption of the electricity needed to run one of those lamps.

    If you use a heat lamp in a coop with no insulation (particularly no insulation in the roof), I wonder how much of the warmth you're paying to create is just leaking away outside the coop.
  7. GwenDellAnno

    GwenDellAnno Chirping

    Jul 18, 2009
    Water Valley, AB
    I didn't insulate or put out a heat lamp. There were two things that factored into my "success" last winter. 1. The roosts were 2x4's with the 4" flat. They could completely cover their legs/feet at night thus preventing freezing of the feet. 2. The coop was very well ventilated. My roo didn't get any frostbite at all.

    I did put a light bulb heater under my water tank so they had water all the time.

    We had some very cold nights and lots of snow, but the chickens made it through just fine.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If I had a choice of one or the other, I would insulate before running a heat lamp. Insulation is a one time expense, heat lamp is every year. And of course without insulation (especially in the ceiling), a heat lamp is much less effective energy-wise. My coop is insulated, and I do use a heat lamp when the temps drop really low. But the heat doesn't go right through the ceiling due to the insulation... So if I could only do one or the other, I would choose my insulation.
  9. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Crowing 9 Years

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I have a 8x12x very high? coop. No insulation and about 30 standard birds. I have one heat light near the top. One things that folks don't think about is Gramma never had a heat light. Chickens generate quite a bit of heat and humidity. Their breathing leaves condensation as well as their droppings. If your coop walls are solid and thick I don't believe you need insulation.
    I rarely had a solid frozen waterer last winter. I do recommend a type of waterer that won't spill. I'm going to try nipples this year. Plenty of wood shavings to keep the floor dry. I throw some scratch in the morning to give them something to do and stir up the shavings and mix it up a bit. Not a lot but some. I sometimes do it at night so they have something to do before I get there in the moring.
    I cover the run with plastic to keep the snow out and so they can go out in the winter. I put a bale of straw in the run and just take the wires off and let them have the fun of spreading it around. They seem to do a good job spreading it completely in a 8x24 run. I don't recommend hay for flooring as it get wet and moldy unlike straw that is usually dryer. i do't use hay or straw for flooring in the coop.

    Now for all you folks and the OP who insulate. If it will help you to sleep at night then go ahead. Just be sure you have good ventilation and keep things dry. A coop with alot of humidity is a breeding ground for disease. KEEP IT DRY. I can't stress that enough. Remember the chickens body temp is over 100*. I haven't read of anyone posting that their chickens froze to death in the coop. But it could happen. I keep a jar of cheap vaseline in the coop to rub on combs and feet.

    I only keep cold hardy birds no silkies or sissy birds.

    Hope some of this helps.

    Love ya
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:Yes Gramma didn't have air conditioning or an inside toilet either, and dogs and cats belonged outside only. I'm sure glad some things have changed [​IMG]

    Love back to you, from me and my sissy

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