With the threat of an oncoming snow storm, we also ran around town to 3 different hardware stores looking for a heat lamp to add to their coup. Lowes and Home Depot were completely sold out as every other chicken keeper in our town had the same idea. We ended up visiting a smaller hardware store and did find an available lamp for sale, however my gut instinct kept telling me not to use it.
Heat Lamps Are Not Always A Good Idea
I ended up doing some research when we got home and sure enough most chicken experts do not recommend heat lamps in the coop. It is far too dangerous of a fire hazard. It’s very hard to secure the lamp without a chicken flapping its wings and either getting itself burned or knocking the lamp down. A knocked over lamp in a wooden chicken coop with bedding is not a good combination if you don’t want the fire department to come out to your house.
So we just kept the tarps up and nixed the heat lamp idea.
This morning we woke up to snow, well more accurately, ice and very cold temperatures. We walked out to the coop to see how the girls were doing and we were pleasantly surprised to see that the inside of the run was warmer and more tolerable than the temperature outside of it. Their water basin had a very thin layer of ice that I easily broke through whereas our koi pond had a thick, solid layer of ice. Making sure your chickens have access to fresh water daily is very important as they can dehydrate very quickly. You can either replenish their water as needed throughout the day to prevent it from freezing or buy a heated water base.
From my research I also learned that most breeds are cold tolerant and do a good job at keeping themselves warm in the winter. After all, they do come with their very own winter coat made of thousands of feathers. Chickens will fluff up their many feathers to trap air. They will also huddle with each other to share body heat.
We let them out of their coop to enjoy some sunshine, but they were a little hesitant at first. Even after they finally ventured out they weren’t thrilled. I’m sure they did not enjoy the fact that the ground was frozen over and their little feet could not scratch. Chickens are also susceptible to frost bite so I am thinking they didn’t like the feel of the cold ice on their feet. We decided to leave the coop open for the day and they can come and go as they please.