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Thread: Do Alaskan chickens need heat lamps?

  1. #1
    Member billy jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Wasilla AK

    Default Do Alaskan chickens need heat lamps?

    I recently moved up to Wasilla from Valdez. I live just outside of the city limits and would like to get a few laying hens. My question is do they need a heat lamp in the winter or is there a breed of tough chickens that do really good in the winter?
    Thanks Billy

  2. #2
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Missing Palmer AK in Phonix AZ.


    Light Brahma Giants are the way to go here, they are both good layers and good eating birds. They are also one of the most docile and friendly breeds there are. I would order chicks next March or April as there is no benefit getting them this late just to winter them over.

    You will need a good insolated coop, heated dog water dish and roosts up away from the cold floor. You may also need a 100 watt incandescent bulb (or two in large coop) for cold nights. I had a 60w colored bulb (so they donít peck as bad) on all the time and two 200w bulbs on a thermostat set to 15F in my coop. The more birds you have the more they keep the coop worm and you need to feed them a good balanced mash in winter not just scratch even though they arenít laying.

    I got lazy and let mine go 2 years ago, but after the bugs around here this year I will be getting more next year.
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  3. #3
    Member garnede's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    soon to be back in Alaska


    Some breeds do better in the winter, but you are still better off if you have a heat lamp. Try the feather leg breeds, they come from breeding for cold climates. A 100 watt bulb will do enough for most occasions.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008


    I keep 6 buff's all through the winter only heat is a heated water bowl and a single 60 watt light. I only used 2 inch rigid foam in the walls but in the winter I would bring the height of the coop down to four feet to help keep some heat in.

    Then I would removed their roosts but an entire bale of straw on the floor and a couple wilk crates full of straw in there as well.

    outside the coop I would box off an area with plywood and foam to keep out the snow and weather about 6 foot by 6 foot around the door and put down 6 or so inches of straw and sawdust.

    Throughout the winter the hens would be hunkered down under the straw with no roost to sit on and would go outside to deficate keeping their inside area clean. All the hens would lay at least once a day and with the light on 24 hrs some would lay twice.

    I live in wasilla too so you should not have a problem these birds made it a week at -40 laying the whole time so I think you should be able to do it also.

  5. #5


    Hens will need a light bulb during winter to keep laying. Our coop isn't insulated but its only about 8x8 x 6 tall Use 2x4 for roosts. Heated water bowl is handy or stomp the ice out of black rubber ones. Lots of varieties do well depends on what you want meat eggs or both. Spring chicks will start laying about now and should lay thru winter.


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