A couple of coop questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by toddntiff, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. toddntiff

    toddntiff In the Brooder

    Aug 10, 2008
    New Mexico
    Hi! We are new to raising chickens. We got our brood August 1st. We modified a playhouse into a coop and have the chicks in there during the day (it's averaging between 75 and 80 degrees). My question is this: they are getting too big for the brooder that we have to continue bringing them in each night. I live in New Mexico so the weather isn't cold, but can drop to the high 50's, low 60's at night (if that). Can I run a cord out to my coop and heat them in the coop at night? I have the ability to close the windows and door leaving a vent for circulation and can attach a light to one of the higher roosts that they can't even being to reach right now. And, while I'm asking this, I will ask about the heat lamp for the winter? Should I plan to have one at the top to keep the coop warm in the winter and what temperature should I be aiming for in the coop in the winter?
    Thank you for your help! I will post pictures of my coop here a little bit later (gotta get them uploaded) or you can see them on my blog at: http://creativemomma.blogspot.com
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    First, if you have a good sized coop and good daytime ventilation, you should be able to close the ventilation down at night and it will stay warmer in there than the outdoor temperatures. I'm not advocating closing the coop at night in GENERAL, but for a few weeks with young chickens I think it could make sense. You have to have a good-sized coop to get away with this - if it's marginal-sized and is reach-in rather than walk-in, I would definitely not try it.

    Second, there is no major reason not to hang a nighttime light out there for now if you are really concerned about their warmth... however, I would strongly recommend you NOT use a heat lamp. First, b/c it is overkill (waste of electric bill for what you want it to do) and more importantly because they're always a fire risk so it's smartest not to use 'em unless there is no other choice. In this case, a regular ol' lightbulb (like 100 watt or so, depending on your options for hanging it near the roost) hung over one end of the roost where they will sleep will give them a pool of warmth to move into, should they require it. Use red if at all possible. And really, it's worth putting a max/min thermometer in there (away from any lightbulb) because it is quite possible you won't *need* a light at all.

    Same goes for winter, except that you may not need it at ALL once they are grown. Lots of people way up north don't use heatlamps. Depends partly on what kind of chickens you have and whether your coop is insulated. In DRY (=well ventilated) air, chickens can really stand a good bit of cold, and they also generate a good bit of body heat to warm the coop up a bit. So I would not assume that of course you will need a lamp in winter.

    Good luck,

  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    You didn't say how many chicks you have or how big the coop is.

    You can definately run a cord to the coop and give them a heat lamp so they can gather around it if they become chilled.
    You want to make sure the heat lamp is approx. 18 inches from the floor.
    I have raised chicks in my coop at tempatures much lower than 50's-60's and they do just fine as long as there is a heat source.

    As far a heat in the winter, as long as chickens are fully feathered, have a dry and draft free (venalation is still required) coop and the proper food (add a little cracked corn when temps fall below freezing) and fresh water they will be fine. Adult chickens can tolerate cold much better than they can tolerate extreme heat. I honestly can't think of the last time I lost a bird in the cold but I almost always loose at least one in the heat.

    I live in East Central Missouri so we have winter temps as low a zero and summer temps to 105 with high humidity, fortunately this had been a relatively mild summer.
  4. GopherBoyFarms

    GopherBoyFarms Songster

    Mar 18, 2008
    Vancouver WA
    I would go ahead and put the heat lamp in there and check the temp for them in the evening. If it stays a good temp, then the next night put the chicks in there. How many do you have? Cute playhouse coop! OMG your daughter is the cutes!
    I dont know about the heatlamp in the winter when the chickens are bigger. Heck, we have a heater in our chicken coop and I dont know if we will ever use it. make sure there arent any drafts, and make sure the coop is secure so nothing can get the babies in the night.
    hope that helps a little.

  5. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Here in TN I use ceramic heat lamps in the winter to keep things above freezing. I have a thermometer in the coop to keep tabs in the ambient temperature, and my setup has worked out well. The ceramic lamps are safer than light bulbs or regular heat lamps, and I have them plugged into a thermocube that only cuts on when the temp outside gets cold. You are welcome to check out the links to the heat lamps on my site ~


    Good luck!
  6. toddntiff

    toddntiff In the Brooder

    Aug 10, 2008
    New Mexico
    Thank you for your ideas! I have 9 chicks right now, but won't be keeping in roosters that happen to be among the crowd...they aren't allowed in my neighborhood, so I don't know what that will take the numbers to. The playhouse is about a 4x4 area.
    Yesterday, I put the chicks in the coop all day and left the door open, with a dog gate up to keep them in and the temp stayed in the 80's. I brought them into the garage at about sundown. I put them out this morning at about 7am and it was about 60 degrees. I'll keep an eye on the temp and even check it tonight w/out the heat lamp just to see what I'm looking at. If I don't have to run the lamp I don't want to, but will of course if I need to!
  7. chickenfanatic

    chickenfanatic Songster

    Jul 19, 2008
    deming new mexico
    hey what part of new mexico u in? ill say this yes u can run a cord for a heat lamp to your coop. however once they are old enough its not really necessary here the temos are so mild they do fine for the most part u need to look at what your feeding too when they are old enough feed them scracth the corn in it will help heaat them up in the winters but rite now since they are babies a heat lamp will do just fine hope this helps. and [​IMG] there are a few new mexicans here youll enjoy.
  8. toddntiff

    toddntiff In the Brooder

    Aug 10, 2008
    New Mexico
    I'm in Los Alamos!
  9. CA Bean

    CA Bean Songster

    Quote:Hi there, I am new to byc but regular on Diaperswappers/ Thebabywearer.com etc..I checked out your blog..cuz I love to look at the chickies. I just wanted to say what a cute blog, you are right up our alley. Hee hee.
  10. cherrychicken

    cherrychicken Songster

    Jul 7, 2008
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Quote:yay! im from NM too! i wouldn't heat the coop b/c if for some reason the light fails one night your chickens wont be used to it and could become very sick. however i am new too and this will be my first chicken winter, if it freezes i may break down and bring my six babies inside...

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