It has been very cold the last few nights. Temperatures have been below zero…and that is fahrenheit! Even with our little wood stove going the furnace is on. It is just COLD! We can sit by our stove, drink hot drinks and put on a heavy sweater. But what about my girls? The coop is insulated and I have tried to block all drafts, but there is no heat out there. Even cold hearty hens get cold.
Yesterday the temperature in the coop went down to 10F and the water kept freezing. And when the sun went down, I knew the temperature would be even lower. I certainly wouldn’t want to sleep out there. So I gave in and brought them inside for the night. I set up Fergus’ old dog crate in the cellar for them. They didn’t like it because they don’t like anything new, but at least it was warmer. And I slept better knowing they were not having to cope with such low temperatures.
Today I wanted to see if I could do anything to make the coop warmer.
I have curtains that can be closed to keep out some drafts.
And this does help a lot.
Old pillow shams cover the back windows.
So the coop is not drafty. But if it is zero degrees, it is cold.
I decided to check with Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens to see if she had any advise.
She suggested installing a heat lamp if temperatures are below 35 degrees and if the ceiling is more than 2 ft above the roost. Well, my coop has no electricity, but even if it did I do not think that a heat lamp is a good idea with all that straw.
But I could use a blanket to lower the ceiling above them. It would be like a bed canopy, keeping their body heat close.
The nesting box they sleep in is pretty close to the ceiling anyway.
Here they are with their new canopy.