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Age Old Question, To Add Some Heat Or Not To Add Heat

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Adopted Chickenman, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Adopted Chickenman

    Adopted Chickenman Out Of The Brooder

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    Rogers
    [​IMG] I know for the most part that chickens can handle cold rather well especially if they are a cold wheather breed (mine are). The question I have, once the temperature gets into the teens and lower, should I use an electric oil heater to take the edge off? I also know that I do not want them to become accustomed to the heat incase we loose electricity and the cold shock factor to their system can be dangerous. My coop is a well made coop but I failed to insulate it prior to this cold wheather season. I am still new to this chicken game and this is our (chickens and mine) first winter here in Northwest Arkansas. I have two windows on the coop which I leave open just a crack to allow fresh air in through the coop. Helps to eliminate respitory problems. The entire floor along with the nesting boxes are lined with about six or more inches of wood shavings (not cedar). Eventhough I am using an electric water heater plate to keep their drinking water from freezing it still forms a thin ice topping that I have to either break or I add warm water to the 5 gallon waterer to melt the fresh icy water inside. By the way, my nine hens (had 11 but lost two due to a fox and red tailed hawk) are laying really well, I am averageing 6 to 8 eggs a day. I do however use an automatic 60 watt light in the coop that comes on at 0300 each morning. Any comments would greatly be appreciated. After all, I want to keep my hens as comfortable as possible without spoiling them. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  2. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are doing bare basics and everything is going very well.... No lights, no heat... we bring out a warm bucket of water in the morning and replace it mid day and check again later..... good ventilation, no condensation on windows etc...and our girls are doing fine! [​IMG] We are in NH near mountains and it is cold here.... have Reds and Buff Orps. I had one lady on here say something that i remind myself of once and a while when i think," gosh it is cold out there"...... they have BUILT IN DOWN COATS ON...... I wear my full length down coat when i go out and don't feel the cold..... [​IMG] good luck with your chickies [​IMG]
    Oh and i want to edit to say...... we are getting an egg a day from our girls....... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  3. Adopted Chickenman

    Adopted Chickenman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2010
    Rogers
    Thanks & Awesome
     
  4. sixty7x

    sixty7x Out Of The Brooder

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    Keeping chickens is new to me also. I live in R.I. and we had temps in the low teens and I too was nervous. I hung a heat lamp for the really cold nights and I found myself worrying more about the coop burning down (if hens jump up and broke lamp) then about the cold weather. Since then I've taken lamp down and found that the hens are perfectly fine. My coop is relatively small(3ft. wideX4ft. longX 4ft. high) but the 3 hens can keep it about 10 degrees warmer than the outside. I check on them at 5a.m. and they aren't even huddled together when it's 12degrees outside. If they were really cold they would be huddled together for warmth. I agree with oliviadehav. No drafts, good ventilation, and no moisture and everything will be fine.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    Quote:[​IMG]
     
  6. cannoteatchickensanymore

    cannoteatchickensanymore New Egg

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    I was always wondering why people like to add insulation or a heat lamp in the coop...[​IMG] I live in a mountain in North East, so winter is really, really cold. These days, everything is frozen in the morning. But my chickens are totally fine and energetic despite the fact their coop (8x4x7) does not have any heat source nor insulation. Like someone already said, I just bring mildly warm water to the coop in the morning, and even leave two of the 4 windows opened a little bid (their roost bars are away from the slightly opened windows so the chickens don't get a cold draft).

    Yes, they all have a pretty thick down jacket and that's why they have survived until now in this harsh North East winter. We feel cold, but they don't.[​IMG]

    Someone I know put a lamp in the coop, but it is more likely for keeping egg production ok (if hens are not exposed to light for long enough period, the rate of egg production goes down...). But I prefer to give my chickens a winter break! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  7. Adopted Chickenman

    Adopted Chickenman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2010
    Rogers
    Thanks & Awesome
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    There is no set answer; it's personal choice based on how you view your chickens, in my opinion. I treat my chickens as I would if I had outdoor dogs/cats, because they're primarily pets. Most folks view chickens as non-pet status though, or even if they are somewhat pets, they are a much lower status than dogs or cats when it comes to comforts. So to me, how you view your chickens will be primary in whatever you decide to do. It got down to 4F here last night, and my coop stayed right around 33F. So it's not like my girls were basking on the beach or anything...lol. I can tell you based on my girls behaviors/activity levels through the seasons, temps. ranging from 50s - 70s seems to be ideal for them. So while the 30s isn't ideal, it's better than bitter cold... [​IMG]
     
  9. lighthawk

    lighthawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1 degree outside this morning when I woke up. I keep a cookie tin heater under their water in the run but I have no electric in the coop. My birds came out of the coop like it was no big deal. They were slightly wary of coming out after the first snowfall but they had never seen snow before. They eventually got used to it and they still beg me to let them out of the run even with 8 inches of snow on the ground. They are a lot hardier than most people think but I chose BRs just for that reason. Owner of the local feed store has already reported two coop fires this winter. I want no part of that.
     
  10. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I agree with this. It was -10 here last night and even with my hanging heat emitter it got down to 13 degrees in the coop. Since it is radiant heat and my sensor is off to the side, I assume it was probably 20-25 degrees on the roost right under the lamp. Chickens have a thermo-neutral zone of which the low end is 20 degrees C so any temp below that they burn food to keep warm. That's not a bad thing but it doesn't support the down coat theory that chickens don't feel the cold very much.
     

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