Many posts back I mentioned chickens and heat in the winter months. With super cold conditions pretty much all over the country, I see social media questions about heating coops along with hearing friends talk about heat in their coops. I feel it bears mentioning again just to keep people safe and chickens healthy.
When I got started with chickens, I made the decision that I’d raise them as they were way back in the day. Chickens have been around since the beginning of time when the only heat people even had was a fire. They have an internal body temperature of 108 degrees (F). Typically when in their coops, they know how to stay warm by huddling together on their roosts and even sometimes on the floor if there’s a nice layer of straw. They make a lot of heat together along with moisture. This is also the reason to make sure you have proper ventilation but no drafts
Heating coops can be super dangerous as well. Many people use heat lamps and that combined with a small enclosure and flammable materials such as bedding of shavings and/or straw it sets the tone for a fire hazard. Every winter there’s posts about a coop fire, some even damaging the house near it.
The other issue with heating coops is that it can cause sickness in the birds. The reason being that when chickens are housed in a heated coop then go out into frigid temps it sets the tone for them getting sick, and you also don’t want your chickens to feel so warm in their coops and not want to go outside where they need to be.
Once the colder months start setting in, I go over the coop checking for drafts, adding a nice thick layer of straw and keeping the bedding deep in shavings. Their draft curtains go back up along with the curtains on their window. We’ve had some down right frigid nights here lately and everyone is doing fine as they usually do. When I check their coop temps in the morning, surprisingly the lowest I’ve seen them go is 20-30 degrees F. I’ve heard from people who live in some super cold areas such as Alaska, and they also say they don’t use heaters in the winter. What you can also do to help the chickens is provide a roost that’s wider instead of small or even round, this way they can rest their little feeties flat on the roost while they cover them with their body. In super cold conditions, sometimes if the roost is such that they have to grip their feet can get a little more frost bitten. If you have chickens that have a large comb and the conditions are that cold, a little coconut oil applied on them can keep them from getting frost bitten as well. Just a side note here: Please don’t use Vaseline or any petroleum based products as these are nasty chemicals that are not edible.
So stay warm and enjoy your chickens this winter!
As always…keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you’re up to! If you enjoyed this post, please follow, share with others who you think would enjoy or benefit from it and sign up so you don’t miss a thing and also follow me on Instagram and facebook. Have an Outstanding Day!