Chickens in winter

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rcmckibbin

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This will be our first winter with chickens. Any suggestions to keep them laying and living without outrageous electric bills. I live in central Iowa, they free range during the day and overnight in a coop in my pole building. Thanks for any suggestions.
 

Gazrok

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Lights for some heat, lots of nesting hay, and what we do, is have a huge, long, thick blanket that we bungee up around the coup on really cold nights. Of course, rarely gets really cold here.
 

Brent S

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I use a 90 watt flood light in their coop at night, but it's either a red or green one so they sleep. Bright lights confuse their sleep cycle, and these don't seem to. I got a deal on about 100 light bulbs when they were on clearance, so I pretty much have a lifetime supply. The chickens are fairly cold tolerant, but you don't want it to be below 30 in their coop. If it gets colder than that, either add another light or make a smaller coop so it stays warmer.
 

psalm 7

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They need very little for cold weather but solid walls to block the cold wind at night . Free range chickens lay less in winter . Chickens in laying houses can be kept in artificial light will lay year round . The length of daylight keeps them laying . Chickens that run lose day and night pick trees to roost in with more cover to block the wind and try to hode from owls and other varmits .
 

Gazrok

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We put up a tarp last night, to cut the wind, and give them some reprieve from the cold. I like the idea of the red 90 watt light, so I think we'll go with that idea too, for when it gets really cold. I have a feeling this is going to be a colder winter than most. All the more reason to get my new bunny habitat area built too. So far, my weekends keep getting booked up, so hopefully not this Sunday.
 

rcmckibbin

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I made this set up in our pole building. They free range during the day then around 8 pm they are on the roosting poles and I shut them up for the night. Iowa winters can be very cold so I hope this works. Im open to suggestions from those of you with experience.
 

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Gazrok

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I'm still pretty new myself, but that setup seems like it would do the trick. Maybe hang a thermometer and check temp on a really cold night, just to be sure you don't need more lights, etc.
 

psalm 7

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It doesn't get to cold for chickens here in themid South and I know people " up North " that keep chickens with no special shelter and have never heard of anyone heating their chicken house ..... except for thoes that get thousands of tyson chicks and raising them for the market . I have seen Mama Hens bring out a bunch of chicks in the snow and raise every one in the winter . A pin with walls to keep the North and West winds off of them and they will be fine no heat sorce needed .
 

AuntieB

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Lights for some heat, lots of nesting hay, and what we do, is have a huge, long, thick blanket that we bungee up around the coup on really cold nights. Of course, rarely gets really cold here.
I really like this idea. I noticed you mentioned using a tarp in another post. Great idea. The coop is not insulated and I think this tarp/blanket idea will work perfectly during the times when we have below zero nights.
 

grayghost668

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unless the SHTF there is no reason to keep them all winter,,,,lets pluck them and put them in the freezer and restock the coop when the weather warms back up.....................................I am not a chicken fan,,,sorry
 

bigpaul

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unless the SHTF there is no reason to keep them all winter,,,,lets pluck them and put them in the freezer and restock the coop when the weather warms back up.....................................I am not a chicken fan,,,sorry
that's what most people do around here grayghost, they don't keep them over winter, they cull them then get new ones in the spring.
 

grayghost668

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there are only a few reasons to keep chicken,eggs meat for the pot and they keep the insects in the yard under control,chicken is still is still the cheapest meat you can buy and eggs are reasonable again,so unless things go to hell ,,,I don't keep them
 

Arcticdude

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We had chickens in Alaska and never provided heat for them in winter. They did fine. Just make sure you buy chickens that are better suited for cold weather. Considering how long it takes until a chick starts laying, it seems a waste to me to replace them every spring as some have suggested.
 

grayghost668

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We had chickens in Alaska and never provided heat for them in winter. They did fine. Just make sure you buy chickens that are better suited for cold weather. Considering how long it takes until a chick starts laying, it seems a waste to me to replace them every spring as some have suggested.

you don't buy chicks,,,,,,we have livestock auctions here,buy adult birds and speed up the process
 

Arcticdude

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you don't buy chicks,,,,,,we have livestock auctions here,buy adult birds and speed up the process
That works too, if your near an auction yard and they have the breed you want. Some people buy chicks at the feed store too. But I prefer to order the type and breed that I want as day old chicks. Less chance to introduce disease to your flock too.
 

grayghost668

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That works too, if your near an auction yard and they have the breed you want. Some people buy chicks at the feed store too. But I prefer to order the type and breed that I want as day old chicks. Less chance to introduce disease to your flock too.
eggs are eggs,at least to me they are,and if you are starting over,,,you don't have a flock,,when it come to chickens my standards are low
 

AuntieB

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there are only a few reasons to keep chicken,eggs meat for the pot and they keep the insects in the yard under control,chicken is still is still the cheapest meat you can buy and eggs are reasonable again,so unless things go to hell ,,,I don't keep them
I could not imagine what a chicken would sell for post SHTF. I think it is best to have a few now and a rooster so you can keep the flock going. I think learning poultry raising now is very important. Some people have no problem and some have lost most of their chickens due to illness.
 

grayghost668

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I could not imagine what a chicken would sell for post SHTF. I think it is best to have a few now and a rooster so you can keep the flock going. I think learning poultry raising now is very important. Some people have no problem and some have lost most of their chickens due to illness.
I would think that there will not be many chicken left if they started dropping nukes ,so they might be pretty high priced,but on the other hand who is going to buy them,I expect a high mortality rate among humans
 

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