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#79452 - 08/06/03 06:48 AM Chickens and Winter
Anonymous
Unregistered


As much as I hate to see it, the days are getting shorter and the katydids are not as loud. Winter is coming! This is my first winter with chickens. I have read some posts about letting them out in the cold and such. My question is, what heat sources do you use? Seems if I have a 100 watt lightbulb hanging and the door to the coop open to let them out, there won't be any heat! The only heat lamps I have found are flood types of 250 Watts. Isn't that too much wattage for typical wiring? HAs anyone used space heaters? What about at night? That is when it really gets cold but can't leave the light on. I don't want to be caught with frozen chickens so thought i'd ask. I live in N. Georgia so it doesn't get extremely cold, but the last few winters have had some days and nights in the teens. Thanks!

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#79453 - 08/06/03 07:02 AM Re: Chickens and Winter
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Your weather is pretty similar to mine as far as the shorter stints with some low temps at times. These are personal choices but here's what I do:
I don't let them out in snow/ice storms.
I let them out if the temps are in the mid 20's or higher IF it is also nice and sunny.
I keep my coop heated with an oil-filled radiator now but I used to put heat lamps above the roosts and they sit up there in groups and stay plenty warm.
I only open their small door during winter and not the "human" door, which I generally keep open in warm months.

I believe they will do fine when they have a place to go and get warmed up a little bit. Throw scratch on winter mornings. The "carbohydrates" generate some body heat. I find that, given the option, on really cold days they will spend some time outside and then go inside and warm up and come back out. The opposite is true in warm months where they generally only go inside to lay and spend the majority of their day outside. They know what to do and where to go to be comfortable.

Susie

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#79454 - 08/06/03 07:09 AM Re: Chickens and Winter
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hey Magnolia,
I don't think you should have any concerns about it being to cold on your chickens. I have never had problems with combs freezing on any of mine and I am higher in the mountains. (well, maybe only just a little, but did not seem to matter)I do not use any heat source what so ever. I don't close the door since it opens into a contained run. They have always wanted to get outside the coop and run except when there is snow on the ground. They come out for a little while even then. I feel that down here, the heat is harder on them than the cold. Fortunately, the coldest wheather here does not usually last for days on end. Some years ago, my past flock did not even have any wind break walls, only a roof. All made if fine, but I now have a more suitable setup. I like them to get out of the wind if they choose to do so, which they do. Keeping dry is important. When they chose to go out in the coldest wheather, they would huddle in shrubs in sunny locations and seem to have a great day reguardless. I do hate it when their water freezes tho. In the mornings when it was below 32, I would fill a large 5 gal. bucket with hot water from the bathtub, carry it out and thaw their waterer. Now I have alot of separate pens and more waterers. This will be even more of a chore this year. Some times I had to do this twice a day, but not all that often, thank goodness. If you want to hang a light, that is your option of course. I doubt they would complain. A 250 watt bulb should work in a regualr plug. I would go red bulb tho, less harsh and lets them rest better. Turn it out in day time. I have never done this myself.

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#79455 - 08/06/03 07:47 AM Re: Chickens and Winter
Anonymous
Unregistered


Although i don't think it gets as cold here in the UK than it does over your side of the pond i doubt they really need a heat lamp. As long as their house is not drafty they should be okay. Mine have been okay even in the coldest weather. If i'm a bit late getting up they normally peck a hole in the ice and get to their own water. But i agree with Pattie i doubt they would complain if you gave them a bit of heat at night. This is another type of heat bulb that would probably be okay: Ceramic Bulb

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#79456 - 08/06/03 09:04 AM Re: Chickens and Winter
Anonymous
Unregistered


I live in VA and never have used a heat lamp, and they come and go from their housing as they please.

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#79457 - 08/06/03 03:30 PM Re: Chickens and Winter
Anonymous
Unregistered


OK, moving on north. LOL! I'm in northern Ohio. Usually once or twice a winter we get spells of below zero weather for several days on end. Normal winter temps are highs in the twenties and lows in the teens. I have never used any kind of heat source either, and my chickens do just fine. Last winter was my fourth with chickens and my first with roosters. It also was one of the coldest winters we have had in quite some time. I had some very minor frostbite on the tips of the roosters' combs, but that was all. No treatment was needed and they are fine.

If the weather is dry and not too windy, I'll let them outside above 20 degrees. Most of the time the snow is just too deep here (lake effect snow! yeah!) and they won't go out anyway. So then I try to give them things to do like scratching through a flake of alfalfa hay, or chasing a whole head of cabbage around, or playing with one of those wild bird seen bells. I'm always looking for new ways to entertain the flock during those long weeks of being inside during the winter.

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#79458 - 08/06/03 07:28 PM Re: Chickens and Winter
Terridog Offline
Feather

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 23
Loc: Pennsylvania
HI, MAGNOLIA
Ilive in northeast pa. and last year was my first year with my chickens.i had no heat in their coops and they seemed to like it that way.i did have their water heated so it did not freeze. i have rhode island reds and they hate the snow they will not step one foot on it.they will fly to the bare spots in the yard ha i think it is in the way you keep the wind off the coop we cover ours in plastic in the front and have walls all around the coops to keep the weather out . :rolleyes:

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