Winterizing the coop


11 Years
Mar 11, 2008
I am in north/west NJ. It can get pretty cold around here. I have 25 layers, mostly RI Reds. The coop is half of a 12x24 horse barn so the chickens area is 12x12 with a 12 foot ceiling. I screwed some 8" wide plywood shelving about 4 foot off the ground which they always use. The barn has a plywood floor which is insullated underneath with TEX bubble foil. We use shavings on the floor and I clean the perching shelves every day.
My question is, is there anything I have to do to keep the chickens comfortable during the winter. I was thinking of building a smaller (perhaps 4x8) raised enclosure within the 12x12 and adding a flat panel heater. But I don't know if they would use the enclosurer or not? And I'm not sure if they would need more ventalation than that.
Can anyone advise me as to the best way to keep them comfortable during the cold months? Would just adding bales of hay or (maybe it should be straw) in the 12x12 help and forget about the smaller enclosure? Would more shavings on he floor help? etc.
Thank you.


Jul 26, 2008
Bagdad KY
Hello, If I was you,I will leave every thing as it is wright now I think you have enough warmth for your Birds,plus remember: 1 Ventilation,Birds need it more that what we think.
2- they have their own fether.

The reason I say this because I was thinking he same likeyou till my neiboughr showed me his chicken coop and now I believe it.


11 Years
Apr 27, 2008
Lafayette, Louisiana
YES , ventilation is #1 . and maike sure NO DRAFTS . I think since they are in a barn area , a few bales of hay would not be a bad idea . I also use pine shavings in nesting boxes and thru out the whole coop area and works really well . Line the corners of their area with large bales of hay .

Several people in much colder climates don't even have insultation in their coops and they all said their birds do very well during the winter . Just make sure they always have fresh food , water and plenty of ventilation .


In the Brooder
11 Years
May 27, 2008
Living through a VT winter with our chickens was an experience.

My #1 must have item is a heated chicken water dish. Without it, the water was a solid block of ice, even during the day. I have the kind that the base is heated and unscrews from a large filling jug. It was difficult to put back together, but worth it for the chickens.

My #2 must have is the heating lamp that is suspended from the ceiling. Without it, I found that the eggs in the nesting box would sometimes freeze, and crack the shell apart.

Our chickens seemed to enjoy going for a walk in the snow, which was something I didn't expect. We had used the snowblower to make paths through the deep snow in order for the sheep to walk around in the pasture. It amazed me that the chicken were out almost as much as the sheep, pecking around in the snow.

The other thing I did was to pack the snow around the barn building, to help insulate it. Overall, it was a successful winter season with the chickens.

Good luck and enjoy.

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