Are you trying to figure out how to heat a chicken coop without electricity? I have just the solution for you.
Electricity plays a crucial role in keeping a chicken coop warm and helping your chicken thrive better. Unbeknownst to many people, you can still keep your chicken and the chicken coup warm without needing electricity. Here’s how you do it.
Can Chickens Stay Outside in the Winter?
A lesser-known fact is that chickens can actually survive extremely cold temperatures of up to -10 degrees Fahrenheit or even lower. Therefore, chickens do survive the outdoors during winter. Like other birds, chickens have feathers that act as a quilt against the cold. But, their survival in frigid temperatures varies based on their origins.
Nonetheless, with the right coop environment, your chicken can still survive the cold outdoors. They can easily wander in the cold and return to the warm, cozy coup whenever the cold draughts get too extreme.
How to Keep Chickens Warm in Winter without Electricity
As mentioned above, chickens can survive the outdoors in temperatures of up to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, maintaining a cozy coop will help them get a little more comfortable and thrive better. You can still keep your chicken warm in a coop during winter without needing a power supply.
Insulate the Coop
All you need to do is set up a well-built chicken coup. The key to keeping the coop warm is to insulate it. There is plenty of ways you can insulate your chicken coup.
This means the room itself, floor, drinking water, and food must remain warm.
You can insulate a chicken coop with Styrofoam, cardboard, old fabric, or straws. Depending on your geographical location and climate, these insulation materials alone may not be enough. Thus, you can always reinforce your insulation using materials such as curtains to hang, nest inserts on the floor, and battery-powered heat lamps.However, while you can use non-electric lamps, some poultry keepers advise against their use at all. There are several reasons why a lamp may not be the best option for keeping chicken warm during winter. First, it messes up their biological makeup, making them completely reliant on heat. Additionally, if the bulb blows in the middle of the night, the chicken may eventually become chilled. Furthermore, heating lamps can pose a fire hazard and can be costly to run.
Ventilate the Coop
Don’t limit this effort to the chicken coop alone. Even with the best chicken coop, you still have to make sure your chickens are comfortable. It’s pretty easy to confirm this. Simply feel the wing skin underneath their feathers. After all, it's the feathers that trap warm air during the cold. Chickens also have an evolutionary trait of huddling together to use each other’s body warmth and heat.
So, if your chicken feels toasty warm on its wings even during the coolest nights, chances are your coop isn’t well ventilated. You have to fix this problem.
But, you have to do this the right way. Inside a room, hot air quickly rises as it is pushed by the denser cold air that remains at the bottom. To prevent the chicken from getting prematurely cold, put up perches on the floor.
The cold air alone isn’t the enemy to your chicken. Instead, if it is cold and wet, your chicken may be in trouble. Remember, to a large extent, chickens depend on their thick feathers to trap the warm air their bodies produce.
When wet, the dense loose feather can easily absorb water and moisture like a sponge, making the chicken cold. Therefore, in addition to a well-insulated and ventilated coop, your chicken needs to be housed in dry conditions to protect them from snow and ice. You can use transparent, corrugated roofing sheets on the coop to keep water out.
Lastly, diet plays a significant role in keeping your chicken warm during the cold season. During this time, chickens utilize significantly more energy to stay warm. Thus, you need to supplement their diet with foods that are high in fat and carb content. These include foods such as cooked soybeans and corn.
How to Keep Chickens Warm at Night
Keeping chicken warm at night is pretty simple. The number one priority is to keep the coop well insulated with little to no chances of the draughts seeping in. you also don't need to have the chicken go out. Instead, you can invest in a sturdy roost (at least two inches wide), so your chicken can have plenty of room even to sit and cover their legs.
Additionally, during the night, you should have continuous feed for your chicken. As they continue to eat and digest food throughout the night, they release heat energy which keeps them warm.
How to Keep Your Chickens Healthy
During the cold season, you need to learn tips and tricks for keeping your chicken healthy. After all, keeping your chicken healthy produces better-tasting eggs and allows them to thrive for longer. Additionally, a healthy chicken will fare through the cold winter much easier. Here's how you can keep your chicken healthy during the winter season.
Chickens are amazingly healthy birds. However, with poor sanitation, they can easily fall victim to multiple diseases. With poor living conditions for your chicken, you are guaranteed to lose your flock very quickly. Thus, you have to thoroughly clean and change feeders for your chicken daily to keep them healthy and prevent diseases.
Always keep a healthy number of chickens in your coup. Crowing your chicken causes various problems. These include chicken eating each other, risks of poor sanitation, egg eating, fighting, and unpleasant odors. All these factors contribute to an unhealthy environment for your chicken.
Thus, make sure you create enough space and only keep a reasonable number. Set aside at least three to four square feet for each chicken in the coop as a general rule of thumb. Furthermore, make sure your chickens have access to fresh air and healthy sunshine.
Keep Them Dry
The feathers on chickens play a significant role in keeping them healthy and protecting them from elements. These include the cold air, wind, dust, and to a certain extent, pathogens. Thus, you shouldn't compromise their feathers. In this case, always make sure you keep them in a dry environment. Chicken feathers are pretty absorbent. Thus, in wet conditions, they readily soak up water like a sponge. In turn, this gets your chicken cold and increases the risk of diseases.
Diet is an essential part of keeping healthy chicken.
It's necessary to increase their carbohydrate and fat intake during the cold season to yield them more energy to keep warm.
Other precautions to take when trying to keep your chicken healthy include;
- Be extra careful when adding new chicken to your flock, ensuring they are free from any diseases or microbes. Doing so prevents these diseases and pathogens from being passed on to the older flock. Purchasing your chicken from a proper hatchery is the way to go. This is because properly regulated hatcheries will include biosecurity information about their chicken and ensure they are free of any infectious diseases.
- If you want to add new chicken to your coop, it is a good idea to quarantine the new flock for at least a month to ensure they are free of any diseases or infections.
- When you visit your chicken coop, always ensure to keep your clothing and shoes clean. You don’t want to haul in contaminants such as manure from the outside and risk infecting your chicken.
How to keep eggs from freezing in the winter
Unlike the chicken, when left out in the cold, eggs can easily freeze. So, to prevent your eggs from freezing, simply collect them throughout the day every time you spot one. If you find frozen eggs, this shouldn’t be an issue. As long as your eggs aren’t cracked, you can always use them.
To salvage a frozen egg that hasn’t cracked, place it in the refrigerator to thaw it slowly. Once it has thoroughly thawed examine it to ensure you don’t find any cracks. If you don't see any cracks, you can continue to eat or use the egg. Alternatively, if your egg is cracked, but nothing oozes out, you can still use it. However, if you notice the egg oozing or dirty in the membrane, it is safe to toss it away.