As winter approaches

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JediJinx, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. JediJinx

    JediJinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2014
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    Not sure if this is a coop question or not - sorta. I have just had a new coop built on site, it is 8 x 12 and the idea was to split it in two sections in the future. But for now, there is no need to do this.

    Since I will be culling my chickens down to 8 birds, will they get too cold in this big coop? Should I make them a smaller "doghouse" area inside where they can sleep to keep warm together? Also, After thanksgiving, I will have only 5 pullets left (I am raising some for my out of town sister).

    The chickens are very young still - only 8-12 weeks old and are still in the garage with a little heat lamp. It is about 50-60 in the garage now. They are sort of sickly and we are hoping they will get well soon so we can have our garage back!
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Assuming that the coop is draft free, and the birds are healthy and have access to good nutrition, they should be fine in that size coop...better too ample than cramped, even in winter time. And ample space helps a lot for really frigid days, when the birds will choose to stay inside.

    As for you young birds, I would start withholding the lamp so that they can begin adapting to colder temps...give them a week or so without the lamp and then move them to the coop - with lots of bedding...
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Why are they sickly?

    8 weeks should be way too old to need heat, unless you've kept them too warm all along.
    Agrees you should start weaning them off the heat asap.



    My notes on chick heat:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85F on the brooder floor right under the lamp) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker integration to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.
     
  4. JediJinx

    JediJinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2014
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    I did as you suggested and turned off the heat lamp. It actually was not right inside the brooder, just hanging above at one side. It is a large brooder - about 30" x 4 ft. and 3 ft deep. We have had below freezing temps and I was told to give them a heat source to help them fight off the illnesses going around our place. IB and Newcastle were indicated on blood test at very low levels, but they have had a hard time with cocci off and on. They also have outside time when it is sunny out. We have a LOT of wind here, I mean like blowing over a greenhouse type wind. They are fully feathered. I just don't want them down sick with all the others.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Well if the illnesses are confirmed then you need to treat/house them with that in mind.

    If they are seriously ill I would consider whether you want to integrate them with your existing flock.

    How many birds do you have in that brooder?
    8-12 weeks are pretty large birds to be in a 30" x 4' enclosure, might be part of the illness problem?
     
  6. JediJinx

    JediJinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2014
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    There are 4 of them who are around 11-12 weeks old. The other 4 are 7-8 weeks old, but they are stunted (maybe because of the shortness of space, maybe from cocci). Yes it is sort of cramped - I did mis-measure, it is more like 6.5 ft long, 30 inches wide, but still cramped.

    The temps here have dropped into the low 20s at night mid 30s daytime. We have been putting them outside the last few days the whole day because we have had less wind. THey have been one fence over from the main flock now and soon will be in the big coop which now has electric. Getting sand soon. I will have a small heater in there to use when it's really cold. Hopefully everyone will be confortable.
     

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