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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just got our chickens and they are doing very well. we currently have them outside in a fenced kennel with their coop. When winter comes it is planned to move them into the Garage which is an "open" garage, no doors. The winters get very cold and it can be very windy, so we figured this would provide some added protection. We are planning on putting shavings on the ground in the kennel area while in the garage. As well, we are building a new coop and will be adding insulation, along with side and roof vents. We currently only have a coop that will house 4 birds and we want to expand to 8 birds, hence the new coop.

Question: Should we be using a heat lamp in the kennel area?
We should have lighting so it would simulate day time for laying, since the garage would be relatively dark?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Janet
 

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I would not heat..it's detrimental to their health. I wouldn't light either for the same reasons, but many do light because they just want eggs, no matter what.

They don't seem to realize that melatonin uptake is important to the immune system and the reproductive health and denying the darkness it takes to have this melatonin uptake in the body is keeping that important function from happening. Battery operations keep the lights on too...for much the same reasons..to get those eggs at all costs, no matter about the health and life of the bird.

So, it depends on why you have chickens. Is it purely for eggs and you intend to dispose of or eat your birds within 2 years and get more? If so, light the coop for it will be congruent with those goals.

If you intend to develop a flock and encourage a healthy life and natural cycles of laying for the duration of the time you will have your chickens, then heating and lighting are not good ideas, as they will shorten the natural lives of your flock as a whole.

Just my .02 on it...you'll get more views on it and can make your own determination with the information garnered. It's all about the learning it on your own so you can own your learning.
 

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I would never use a heater in a coop, its just a recipe for disaster. One little accident or bump can cause your entire coop to go up in flames and kill your entire flock not to mention the danger of it reaching your house. Chickens are not humans, they are built differently and can handle the cold temps. If your really worried about the cold just insulate, have deeper bedding, ect. I would not use a heater.
As for light, I will probably to the 25 watt light hooked to a light switch in my house. This way it can go on in the morning before the sun comes up and back off when the sun is up. I did this at the end of last winter and it worked fine, My husband switched it on at 5am I switched it off when I got up, then back on at 5pm till 8pm. It gave the girls enough light to lay and enough night time to sleep normally.
 

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Wild birds can survive an amazing amount of cold in the winter. You haven't said what breed(s) you have. The Canadian breed, the Chantecler, has been bred to survive Canadian winters. It grows a great layer of down to stay warm. It is a dual bird, good layer of brown eggs and provides good white meat. The Buckeye, bred in the USA is another good bird for cold winters, brown eggs, great dark meat, and pest control (as a free ranging bird, it will even hunt out mice). Neither of those would need an insulated coop, just a little shelter from snow and wind. Beyond that, Apyl and Bee are greatly experienced and will only give you good advice.
 

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I also live in Canada and its gets very cold but I don't add heat you have to allow there winter feathers to come in naturally and let nature do the rest. I recommend birds that have small combs and waddles for frostbite but I have owned leghorns, rhode islands, Isa's, buff brahmas, buff orpingtons, barred rocks, I have speckled Sussex that are very winter hardy birds and have been told they will lay through winter as well this will be my first year with them. I also have Columbia rocks and there good to just go on line and research a lot of English bred birds tend to be winter hardy and they have weather much like we do. If u do decide to use a light I don't just remember it shortens there laying years. I like to give mine a rest period it makes for longer laying birds I find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sorry I should have put in more information. I have Rhode Island Reds. They are pullets and we have had them just 3 weeks. Also, I had thought of using a "heat lamp" not an actual heater, so there would not be a fire risk and I was not going to put it in the coop!! but hang it from the top of the fenced in area. Heat lamps are very targeted and I thought it would provide both light for simulated day light as well as a bit of warmth while they were outside of the coop.
But it appears I do not need to worry about them being outside in the cold. I am putting a good layer of shavings down in both the coop AND on the ground within the fenced in compound.

I have attached a picture of our current set up which shows the fenced in area. This entire set up will be moved into the garage for the winter. We are rebuilding the coop and making it much larger to accommodate a total of 8 chickens. The new coop will be insulated.
 

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Very nice set up I wouldn't worrie once the winter hits your girls will do fine as long as they have a dry draft free place to go they will be fine. Chickens are tuff and as long as you provide that as well as fresh water and food they will be happy I even go out and clear some of the snow in there coop so that they can come out for a bit during the day and throw some hen scratch down to give them something to do when the ground is frozen.
 

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I have seen heated chicken waterers, that might be a nice idea. I myself have a heated water bowl that I bought at a garage sale for $1, and I plan to put that in the coop. It works just fine.
 

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Heat lamps cam cause fires just as quick has heaters if a bird knocks into them or the attachment you use fails. Your flock will be fine without heat, especially so since you mentioned they are going into the garage and all the added extra bedding.
 
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