Public service reminder here.
Now that the weather is turning cooler at night (we’ve already had a frost) there will be many new chicken owners who are going to think that they need to keep their little babies warm at night.
Surely, they’ll freeze, they’ll say as they wring their hands while looking out at the darkened coop.
Not to worry. Chickens are (well except for our little Charlie) outdoor birds. They know how to keep themselves warm, it’s done by way of feathers and roosting.
Some night, go out to the hen coop and take a look at what your clever birds are doing. They will all be huddled together on their roosting rods, side-by-side. Even the ones that were the peckers during the daily territorial battles will cuddle up with those who were pecked. It’s the laws of nighttime and survival at work.
Now take your hand and slide it between two of your birds. What you will feel is a warmth worthy of any goose down bed (funny thing about down beds, it’s almost like someone figured out what was going on here.) Chickens have feathers and feathers are uniquely designed to keep the birds warm when the temperatures drop.
It’s really that simple.
So DO NOT think you need to put in a heater or a lamp in the coop for warmth. Not only are they not necessary but they are also dangerous. I recently talked to a woman whose coop had burned down because the chickens had knocked over their heating lamp. Not good.
Chickens just do not need additional heat in the winter. If you provide them with roosting rods and walls that will protect them from the wind and snow or icy rain, then they can pretty much figure out the rest.