1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

A question about temperatures and imprinting... (pictures added)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Laney, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. Laney

    Laney Songster

    787
    1
    141
    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    Hey everyone,

    Well my coop is finished enough to move my 7 weekers into. All the walls and doors are in place and the roof is on with just a tiny hole at the top to be capped - no rain in the forcast in the forseeable future.

    However, it's hot. I turned the lamp off in their brooder last week thinking they were going to have to get used to being a bit cooler outside. So they have been huddling in the about 70 degrees in the basement at night, and very happy to run around and play in it during the day. I think the huddling is more about the dark than the temperature (I've been slowly weaning the lights so they will get used to the dark.)

    Now, I'm ready to move them and the temps have gone up to June levels. It's supposed to get up to 91 today. It was 94 yesterday. Wednesday it will drop into the Mid 80's. I've got to get them out of here as they are sharing a pen with 7 week old Ducks and it's just not working any longer. The chicks just can't keep themselves clean anymore and that is with me constanly cleaning the pen.

    The coop temp registers (with infrared thermometer) at 11:30am 95-97 on the floor full of pine shavings with all doors closed since last night. The temp at roof level is 114 degrees on the wood beams, and 137 on the plastic corrugated that we used for roofing.

    I plan to go take temps again at 3pm.

    My question is: At this point do I give up on "imprinting" them on the coup and just put them in at dusk tonight (night time temps in the coop are fine, it cools off fast here)? Then let them out in the a.m. and do the old round up tomorrow night? Or are the temps still OK to keep them inside the coop for 3 or 4 days provided I keep them very well watered?

    This is my first time with chickens and I really have no idea what OK daytime coop temperatures are.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

    Laney
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,520
    154
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If your coop is 95+F at floor level in "June temperatures", you've got a big problem to deal with before july and august temperatures hit!

    Pretty much all chickens are good up to 90 or so, but beyond that they get stressed (bigger-bodied, fluffier-feathered ones especially so) and soon you have to start Doing Something, be it providing a cooler place for them to hang out or some sort of active cooling (fans, misting, ice blocks, etc), if you do not want to start losing chickens. Problems set in sooner (that is, at less high temperatures) in humid climates than in very arid climates.

    What can you do in terms of maximizing ventilation in your coop and providing a large area of shade? (And, your corrugated plastic roofing is opaque, right, not translucent or clear?)

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  3. Laney

    Laney Songster

    787
    1
    141
    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    Thanks Pat,

    Yes the plastic roofing is Opaque. We toyed with the idea of "skylights" for them, but decided they would like a dark place to roam.

    These temps are with the coop fully sealed up. So they will have some cooling from their door being opened once they are set to roam. As far as shade goes, it's going to be up to them to find it. They will be free range. We have plenty of wooded areas on the farm, but not right next to the coop.

    The Temps this afternoon at floor were 103 degrees, with the ceiling being 110 or so. It is 86 degrees out in the shade. I live in eastern North Carolina. So on average the temps will get into the 80's sometime in June and stay that way through the summer with a few spikes for heat waves.

    I'm thinking without further ventilation these will be the average daytime temps in the coop - if it is fully sealed up. (as I had intended to do to imprint the chicks on their new home...obviously no longer possible unless I wait until this heat wave breaks....)

    These little ones are intended to have free roam of the farm. They have complete ability to fly and I have seen them all fly but one.

    I'm uploading pics of the coop now so that maybe I can get some advice on ventilation. We have all the spaces where the corrugated meets the roof, plus a rather large gap where the door is attached (unfortunately no pics of the door yet).

    Laney
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,520
    154
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It sounds like you need greatly more ventilation than you've got... maybe cut out most of one or several walls and cover with hardwarecloth in place of your siding. You can keep the cut-off siding panels to use to close it off in cold rainy weather or during storms.

    The thing is, even if they are free range and can find shade, if the coop is getting hot like an oven during the day there is a good chance they will not want to roost in it at night, meaning they will roost in trees, meaning you will be creating a raccoon buffet. So IMO it is really really worth having a good well-ventilated comfy coop even if it's just for nighttime.

    GOod luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. Laney

    Laney Songster

    787
    1
    141
    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    Thanks Pat,

    We made the side panels modular, so that they could come out and be replaced and modified at any time. It won't be difficult to take one out, cut off the top triangle and put chicken wire into the slot that is missing. We plan to add the roosts and nest boxes this way in a few weeks.

    Most of the time we've been building I've been so concerned about them being cold......

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Laney
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,520
    154
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Whoa, that's wild, that's the first I've seen that kind of structure used for a coop! [​IMG] Yeah, if you remove 2 or 3 sides, maybe N and E and maybe S also, it will be MUCH cooler and nicer in there.

    Better put gutters on the roof though (which could involve some exciting engineering at the angles), at least the parts over any sections of wall you're planning on removing to be just wire mesh. Otherwise, first rain with *any* little bit of breeze at all, you're dumping a waterfall of runoff right into the coop [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  7. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Songster

    That is an interesting design. I haven't seen one like it.

    Could you move the coop to a shadier spot for the warm months to help with the cooling in addition to the added ventilation?

    We had a major heat wave a week or so ago. My coop was in the shade but part of the covered run wasn't. The chickens were panting. We normally stay around 85 in the hot part of the summer, but it got to 104 here that week. It felt like oven outside! Ugh! I moved a patio umbrella over it and it helped a little. I also hosed down the run each afternoon once the sun got to that side of the garage until the weather returned to normal.
     

  8. Laney

    Laney Songster

    787
    1
    141
    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    This puppy isn't moving. It's made with 2x4 pressure treated construction. If a hurricane pops up, I'm pretty sure my house will move before it does. The roof might go, but it's staying put. It has a solid base with a plywood floor.

    The chickens won't have any trouble finding shade though. There are 15acres of trees that you can't see less than 70 feet to the side of the coop. To be honest, I really want eggs from these guys, but the eggs are secondary to their bug eating potential. So if they flock to the trees in the daytime I'm Ok with that in the heat.

    My problem will be at night when I want them home for protection. These are the tamest birds I've ever heard of. I've got 5 OEGB Silver Duckwing I think. 5 Pretty white Brahma (Is that buff? Or Light?) and 1 that I believe is an Ancona. The OEGBs just love to sit in my lap. The Brama's are less affectionate but like to flock at my feet. The Ancona is a solo bird and hides behind the feeder on her own.

    I don't think I'll have a problem getting them to come to ME....just getting them to come to the coop.

    Oh..and the coop is built using Stromberg plates. My husband designed packaging all of his career and was drawn to the unusual shape. We'll be building a goat barn nearby very shortly just like it only much bigger, hopefully that will shade the coop.

    Thanks so much for your advice Pat. The chickens are in the coop for the night. We'll let them out to forage tomorrow and keep an eye on the temps. If we need too, we'll be adjusting the triangle shaped panels to allow more ventilation at the top, and in those spots using left over roofing to provide more overhang.

    Laney
     
  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    3,788
    13
    221
    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    That is a very neat looking coop! Pat has already given you great advice I just wanted to give some ideas on cooling them down:

    Use large soda bottles filled with water and frozen. Put them around inside and even outside for the chickens to lay against. Keep extra bottles in your freezer so you can continually change them out as they thaw.
    For fans put one on the coolest side of your coop and have it blow through the coop. Set the speed according to how the chickens react... you don't want to blow them around in there! [​IMG]
    Can you add an awning over the door to give them some shade at the door way and to keep the sun from beating directly into the coop?
    Make sure they have cold, clean water multiple times through every day. I would even put ice cubes or something frozen in the water to help keep it cold for them.

    Good luck - we'd love to see pictures of your chickens! [​IMG]
     
  10. Laney

    Laney Songster

    787
    1
    141
    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    Great idea!!! We don't drink soda so I adapted. I stopped on the way home from the feed store. Now that the ducks and chicks are separate I was picking up a lower protein feed for the ducks and some grit for the chicks now that they are outside.

    I stopped and got an 8lb bag of ice so that I could start right away. I filled up a bunch of disposable tupperware with the ice and placed it at different places about the coop. They are not coming out willingly so we flushed them out.

    I put an ice tub on the shady side of the coop where they are hanging out as well. Some of them have gone back in the coop. I have moved their water outside. I can see I might have to grab the small waterer and move it out and place it inside for those who prefer to lay next to an ice bucket inside.

    It was fun to watch one of the hens take her first dirt bath. I'll post pictures once the Brahma's have cleaned their feathers. Living with the ducks no matter how often we cleaned the pens has reaked havok on their white feathers. If I take pictures now I'll feel like a bad Mom!!!

    You should have seen the look they all gave me as I walked away and left them outside this afternoon. If chickens could feel shock....this was it. I'll have to go and check on them and the ice in a little while to be sure it's doing the job.

    Oh, there are some chick pics on my BYC page. I think only up to 3 or 5 weeks though.

    Laney
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by