Bitter cold on the way: girls in the house?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Agilityscots, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Songster

    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Geez, I'm gone for a week or two and I come back to find 37 pages about a dame with a crocodile in her yard...but not really. Good stuff!

    This weekend it's supposed to go down to 0, with wind chills at -10 to -20. My 250-watt heat lamp can't keep up with that kind of cold, and I'm afraid my girls will freeze to death. If it's 5-10 degrees, the heat lamp can keep the coop just above freezing.

    I'm seriously considering bringing my girls in the house for the weekend, but I don't want to unless I absolutely have to. The thought of the mess they would create makes me shudder. Any ideas, anyone?

  2. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Add another lamp to the coop?
  3. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Yeah, mine are out in the coop WITHOUT heat - I'm also wondering and thinking about it - perhaps I should try hook up the little brooder ceramic heat thing I used when they were babies....

    We're going to be down to 4 tonight with wind chill of -10
  4. It's cold here too, but my girls have two lights and a milk house heater in the coop. It helps, but it's not by any means warm in there. If I were you, I'd get a few more heat lamps to keep them warm. My DH would kill me if I brought the chickens in the house. Of course I have over 70 of them so it wouldn't work well!
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    My insulated coop with a ceramic heat lamp has been staying above 40 degrees (my feathered friends have told me in no uncertain terms that they don't like it colder than that!). With the wicked cold coming the one lamp may not be able to sustain these temps at which point I may add another. This will do the trick. Course the problem is that even tho there are only 2 of them, the coop is small (4' x 6' x 8' high) - they usually spend daytime hours outdoors or in the larger 22 x 22 building the coop resides in - this larger space will be ice cold even with the disk furnace I can run in there. So they may largely be stuck in the small space till the weather breaks..... I could bring them in the house just for a diversion but I don't want them to get acclimated to ~60 degrees or the colder temps will feel way too cold for them. Our 10 day forecast shows no let up in the cold temps once they get here Saturday.....

    Anyway, long story short, maybe an added ceramic heat lamp would raise your temps enough? If your electric system can safely handle.....

    I have brought chickens in the house when conditions are too extreme - I did this when we had 115 heat indexes - too bloody hot.
  6. picklespickles

    picklespickles Songster

    Oct 27, 2007
    how big is your coop? the smaller their space, the warmer it will be. some people build temporary dwelings within the dwellings like with hay bales and such. or even using tarps could create a smaller area for them to heat themselves with.

    i've never done this cause it only gets in the teens here but i've considered putting towels hanging down from this shelf and making them a curtained area on the ground. they are not into the coop really summer or winter so i haven't bothered.

    but just thinking about ways to make smaller spaces inside larger ones to keep your buds warm. lots of options i think. good luck
  7. JaciesCoop

    JaciesCoop Songster

    Aug 16, 2007
    Adding another heat lamp may work fine. My coop is 10 by 8 and 2 work well.

  8. Ma

    Ma Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Camanche, Iowa
    We have two 250 watt infared heat lamps hanging from the ceiling over the droppings boards roosts. We have 8 hens and 1 roo. All huddle under the lamps, which are low enough to provide them with some warmth when they are huddled together underneath. They roost under them all night and hang out under them during the real cold days. I leave them on 24/7 until the temperatures are back in the teens at least.

    So far this has been sufficient. They are in a nice coop with no drafts and 2' of deep litter.(This is compost and also adds heat during the winter.) We are in for a week of below zero night/single digit days. I always try to remember that these birds have been here long before humans, and will probably be here long after we're gone. They are much tougher than we think. But I still like to give them some relief. The heat lamps work great, they soon learn to go under them to get warm!

    Just sharing......[​IMG]
  9. Cheryl

    Cheryl Songster

    I have a question about the heat you leave them on continously? Mine is hooked up to the on at 35 off at 45 plug...
  10. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Songster

    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Thanks everyone for your great replies. I think getting a second lamp is a good idea...if I can just get my DH to run a second extension cord out there and drill another hole for the second lamp! Argh. Neverending work, this is. But I can't let them freeze, of course. And this would certainly beat bringing them in the house. And they ARE continuing to lay every single day like good girls, even in this nasty weather. [​IMG]

    I do have a small coop (4x5 footprint) but I don't have enough chickens to produce enough body heat to keep them from freezing on nights that cold.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: