10-03-2012, 11:53 PM
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I too am uncomfortable with heat lamps left on in the barn or coop for winter use. (They are great for short term type of stuff though.)
My winters often go below zero temp wise and the ground stays frozen for months.
I kept that in mind when choosing my hearty heritage chicken breeds. I do not have to do a whole lot for them for winter… deep bedding (leaves and shavings) help, using large wooden perches instead of anything metal, and of course a non-freeze water system is about as fussy as I have needed to get.
Mine are allowed to roam the barn and pasture as they desire and unless the snow is really deep, I don’t even shovel paths for them and they all adapt and do great.