Chickens in the Arctic

camariaJuly 11, 2008

Okay, so we're not at the North Pole, but we get some very cold, long winters where I live. We only get 90 frost free days a year. I realize that if I get breeds such as buff orpingtons that are cold hardy, and set the girls up with a well ventilated, insulated coop, they'll make it through winters alright. My question is this, it's extremely unpractical to let chickens out into a run when the majority of our days in winter are at best -10C and at worst -40C. If I house the girls in a 4'X8' coop, with a few windows, will they be happy being (pardon the pun) 'cooped up' for the entire winter, or will they start picking eachother? I'm only planning on getting 3 chickens. Is a 4'x8' coop roomy enough for prolonged confinement? In the spring/summer/fall, the girls will have access to an 8'x8' run, but like I said, over half of the year will be impractical to let them out of the coop. Thanks in advance for your advice!

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msjay2u(7)

hmmm I bet that is something most of us never thought about (Chickens in the artic). What would happen if inside your coop you had a little box planted of grass with a heat lamp over it? Maybe taking 1x8 of floor space. Would that lamp keep the coop just warm enough that something could grow under it?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:21PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

I have had chickens WANT to go outside in subzero tempteratures,,as long as the wind wasn't blowing. I would give them the option. I would provide them with lots of good hay or shavings on the floor too. I have also NEVER had problems with chickens picking at each other. The less chickens you have in a small space the less problems you will have with that. I would just make sure they have plenty of room in their coop to move around,,AND plenty of light and of course plenty of fresh water and food. They cant regulate their body temperature without plenty of water. I add whole corn to their feed in winter because it helps keep them warm...or atleast that is what I have been told. Goodluck

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:34PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Do not let them outside if its below say -10C. My aunt kept muscovies and chicens up in Fairbanks one winter and their feet kept freezing off when they went outside. 8X4 is enough for three chickens, if you put in a window make sure its nice and windproof and a shutter for after its dark outside will go a good ways towards keeping them warm. Watch out for mink!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 3:51PM
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