[FONT=verdana,geneva]Space Heater in the Hen house[/FONT]
Warning: Not a recommended source of heat!
Hello again everyone. I have been out of pocket for awhile..started attending online school and it was harder than I thought but I must have a knack for it I got A's and B's so far, so good.I was born in Wisconsin and have seen some tough winters...I cannot imagine how hard it would be to raise my backyard urban ladies in that state through those devastating cold winter.
However, I have been living in Texas for 23 years now and love the warmer temperatures. The last winters have been hard for me as I do not like the cold. Last winter we even had some snow tho it melted by afternoon. This year, we have had eighteen degrees at night plus a wind chill factor. My ladies are quite spoiled..my little no-arm babies..as you should know already. They have an air conditioner, television(they love to watch "Charlottes Web" every night before they go to sleep) They also like to come in the house and watch me play farmville and happy aquarium on facebook.
They are much more than eggs for breakfast to me..lol. Needless to say, I do not eat chicken..too me it would be like cannibalism. At any rate, this is about a solution I found that is very controversial too many. Space heaters in the hen house.I do not have a lot of money to work with and I needed to keep them warm or I would be bringing them in the house..there are too many for that!
I have a space heater in my hen house. I will tell you how I managed it safely. I use pine shavings for bedding and some hay in their nest boxes, in the winter. A fly away pine shaving or hay or even feathers could quickly turn a space heater into a terrible fire. This method is not advisable but in an emergency situation such as ours was with a seventy degree temperature change in twenty four hours..we had to do something.
Space heaters can be very dangerous to use in a hen house if not used properly.
In desparation to get heat to my ladies quickly this was my best solution. I am open to any new, economic and safe ideas at [email protected]
I have found a way to use them. You can make a cage with 1/8" mesh wire to fit around the heater on all sides including the bottom. The space between the heater and the cage for the heater on all sides and especially the top and bottom.
The mesh should be small enough that fly away pine shaving will not get kicked into the heater. It should also extend 12" in every direction, top, sides and bottom, front and back. Box shaped.
You can place the cage on a sturdy platform and staple the bottom with heavy gage staplesto it. Make sure it is wide enough on all sides that it will not topple. The cage is the key to the level of safety.
Features to look for when puchasing a space heater:
  • Automatic shut off if tipped over
  • Automatic shut off if it gets to hot and back on after it cools
  • Outside of the heater does not get hot
  • Wide base
  • Handle on top of heater
I got a good one at Wal-mart for under 50 dollars.
A long chain such as a choke collar for dogs, can be used to stabalize the handle on top and secured with a piece of coat hanger twisted through the loops to make it just tight enough to go through the handle and through the top of the cage. You will have to use wire cutters to make a hole large enough for this size chain. This will keep the heater from falling over.
Make sure there is 12 inches available between the heater and the top of the cage, just in case the hens want to sit on it. (Mine do) Make a wire door. Make sure when you place the heater in the cage the door is at the back of it. That way the hangar wire holding the dooron will not be exposed to excessive heat.
Set the heater on top of a concrete block And place other ones to fill the empty floor space. I have two concrete blocks on each side. There are three fitted into the inside of the cage making a floor for the heater.The heater will not topple because the chain is holding it in place. If it was to fall over..mine never has(even when I bumped into it quite hard one day)Make sure you check your hanger wire daily as they can give under extreme heat.
On top of the cage I put a cookie sheet, and fastened it with hanger wire after punching holes in two ends. The girls love to sit on it. I do have to clean it daily. This also keeps feces from falling on the heater.
My cage is 3'x3'. I have two concrete blocks on each side. There are three fitted into the inside of the cage making a floor for the heater. I put a block on each side of the cage to secure it..They love to sit on the blocks..too keep warm on chilly nights. I have used it for two months now and have not had any problems with it falling over or anything getting inside the cage due to the small gage of the wire.
I could not afford the expensive heaters that are usually used. I already have a fire alarm because they have a window unit air conditioner in the summer. Unfortunatly, the winters are getting colder every year..it actually snowed for Christmas day the last two years. and melted by afternoon last year. This year the cold snap came quickly and I was not prepared.
I am sure I will not be using this as a long term solution but I thought it may help others in the same situation..who need emergency heat for the girls. Most people as soon as you mention, space heater and hen house in the same sentence panic and do not wish to discuss it. However, not everyone has a lot of money especially during the holiday season to run out and buy expensive heating equipment. This is a temporary solution that works. I do not know how the girls are going to take it when I get them central heating...they will miss their warm concrete blocks they have become so fond of that they fight sometimes for a position.
I have even seen them pile up two on each block on very cold nights. They are toasty warm. Even on the coldest nights. .