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I live in TN where it generally doesn't get too cold in the winter. This winter has been different. We were hit with single digits for days. Last night we lost a hen. She had had respiratory problems a month or so ago and I have Marek's in my coop. So I know she was probably not in peak health.

Should we heat the coop? If so, how? What is the best and safest way? I've done a search on the forum and it seams there are a lot of differing opinions about it.

Also, how do you keep the water from freezing? I've been taking out warm water and melting their ice in their waterer. But I work long hours and am worried they won't get enough.

This is an old picture of our coop before we turned it into a coop and added the outdoor enclosure. The wall boards are spaced for ventilation and I leave their bedding/droppings. There are 18 birds in it now.

Plant Building Tree Wood Fixture
 

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In TN , no I would not heat. I turned on a heat lamp for the first time Sunday but that was because it was -55 on Monday and -45 today. We will be back in the teens Thursday so the heat will go off . Chickens can handle pretty cold weather and I have never lost any to weather until this past week.

As for water, I just keep going out there during the day and giving fresh water. I've already broke two waterers in the last couple days so now I'm using a tupperware bowl.
 

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When I was still living up there I had pre filled waterers. I would swap them out each morning, I never had to repeat it more than each morning.

If you have any others you don't want to lose and the weather is being nuts you will have to do something to take the strain off them. I had a boy with a bad heart, when it got cold enough to stress him he went in to a warmer area, if it was too hot he went in to a cooler area.
 

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We had a cold snap about a month ago.. -18f I almost lost two healthy young birds at that time I had no heat source. The average temp is in the teens. I heat the coup to about 30-35 degrees with a heater in a galvanized tub. It has a feature that turns off if it is even slightly tipped. I use a heated dog water dish that turns on when it drops below freezing.
 

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In TN , no I would not heat. I turned on a heat lamp for the first time Sunday but that was because it was -55 on Monday and -45 today. We will be back in the teens Thursday so the heat will go off . Chickens can handle pretty cold weather and I have never lost any to weather until this past week.

As for water, I just keep going out there during the day and giving fresh water. I've already broke two waterers in the last couple days so now I'm using a tupperware bowl.
get one of those black thick rubber pans at the feed store
that is what we use for our turkeys (william & kate)
i give it a good kick & out comes the ice
i then add the fresh water
works slick as can be & i think it was like $12 if i recall
 

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I would heat the coop in those conditions. It is different for chickens who it slowly gets cold and stays cold for some time. You got jacked with a deep drop in temps quickly. It is uncommon for tn to get hat cold. We had record colds across the us this week. I normally do not heat my coop in massachusetts but when it gets really cold for days strait I heat it all the time then put it on a timer so it only heats at night. Then I slowly ween them off to no heat again. So it is not huge fluctuations in temps.
 

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The cones and waddles get frost bit (black tips and spots). I also make sure they can keep feet clean & dry.
 
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