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Cold Weather & Chickens

 
Rose Lea
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I would like to raise chickens for eggs but wonder how much work they would be.

I have been talking to my hairdresser (sounds strange, but she has chickens) about how well insulated a chicken coop would need to be (We live in East Tennessee). She said they don't need an insulated coop, that their's doesn't have any and the chickens tolerate cold weather, but don't lay in the cold. I question this for we, like may others, have been having the coldest winter in a long time.

Do chickens need a warm nesting coop and are they a lot of work?


Rose
 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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They don't need a coop at all:

That's Vermont.
If the variety isn't cold hardy their combs might freeze.

I picked one up the other day that refused to go in the coop and it was very warm though it was less than 20F. They fluff up their feathers for insulation.
They need light to lay eggs, not heat.
 
Ryan Workman
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Wow Cj, my chickens must be spoiled princesses because they won't go out into the snow, they detest the stuff. Here in northern Utah mine do fine in their coop that has an inch of Styrofoam insulation, but I feel like they don't even need that. The insulation is useful around the egg boxes though as it prevents the eggs from freezing quickly. Cj is right, light is what they need in the winter to keep them laying.
 
Cj Sloane
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I have lost lots of eggs lately due to freezing and cracking. Those eggs go to the dogs or pig. Most of my chickens are in my hoophouse right now but the eggs freeze if I don't collect several x/day.

Those stinking chickens are bound for the soup pot this spring. I'm hoping to only have chicken that will stay in an electric fenced in area.
 
Amy Elben
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Location: SE Wyoming
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LOL i live in frigid Wyoming, and the guys at the lumber yard laughed at me when i bought plywood and insulation for my chicken coop. Let them laugh...i keep a radiant oil heater in the coop all winter..it keeps it around 50 degrees in there, and my girls are happy and comfy. They are actually colder on sunny days when the temps are above freezing and i let them out in the pen than they are during the night when they are shut up in the insulated coop. Egg production is picking back up now that daylight hours are increasing. I don't care what anyone says....i don't like the idea of any critter trying to survive minus zero temps.
 
Cj Sloane
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Amy Elben wrote: I don't care what anyone says....i don't like the idea of any critter trying to survive minus zero temps.


All mine do, but I choose hardy breeds that can handle the temps:
Tamworth pigs
Belted Galloway cows
Black Welsh Mountain Sheep
Great Pyr & Maremma LGDs
Dark Cornish Chickens
Royal Palm Turkeys.

Some Chantecler chicks may have died of exposure but I'm trying to eliminate them anyway. The chicks were born late because there mothers hid the eggs on me.
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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I have all of three hens, and this is our first winter. New Jersey isn't exactly known for hard winters, but this one os giving it a serious go. Cold enough for long enough that we had pipes burst in the house from freezing, despite keeping the house heated...

So, my three hens, living in a 4x4 foot coop with run, have been getting through this cold spell just fine, with no supplemental heat. The fact that their water freezes is an issue. I did put a piece of bubble plastic (an insulated swimming pool cover) over the roof and two sides of the coop to reduce the wind blowing through.

Generally, they don't come out when there's snow on the ground, although the Buff Orpington braved it today. And yeah, frozen eggs definitely happen, but the birds seem to be ok.
 
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