Brooding birds in the winter (New England)??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by spook, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi everyone and I appreciate your stopping by to help out with my foolish query. I hatched out a batch of Standard Cochin's (8 weeks old) and found that only one is worth keeping. I refuse to cull them, yet as they age, winter is not a time to put them out in a coop.
    We so have a addition with a cement floor, insulated walls with the exception of windows.
    we are looking at 6x6 area, would like to surround it in plastic , and here is the real dumb question, will a heat lamp keep them comfortable? Especially when it can get below 0 in another month or so.
    I miscalculated space and expected to no have as many hatch! Love to hear your recommendations!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Let me see if I have this right. You are in Maine, you have some 8 week old cochin, you have a room with a concrete floor and insulated walls, but with some windows. You want to know if you can keep your cochin in a 6x6 plastic enclosure in this room over the winter.

    At 8 weeks they should be fully feathered out. They should not need a heat lamp. I appreciate that they have been kept in a warm environment and you do not want to shock them by moving them from a 70 degree Fahrenheit life to one that will soon be around 0*F at night. If you can gradually lower the temperature, they should be fine without any heat.

    Is this room atttached or detached? How cold will it actually get in the room? I'm not clear on that from your post. I think it is an extension to your house so it will not get all that cold in there, but it could easily be a totally detached room somewhere else. What you are looking at is how cold it will get in there, not outside. In either case, if the room is air tight enough to prevent the wind blowing though, it should not matter as long as you are not shocking them by moving them directly from a semitropical environment to an arctic environment.

    Another issue is ventilation. They are going to put off a lot of moisture, both from their poop and their breath. If their poop builds up, it can put off a lot of ammonia which is bad for their respiratory system. The room needs to be vented well enough to get rid of the moisture and ammonia. A decent poop management plan will help too. If it is an attached room, it will probably not get cold enough to cause frostbite even with high moisture, but you might get condensation on your walls and ceiling. In any case, you can expect a lot of dust.

    I'm not sure how many chicks you have, so I can't comment on whether that is enough room. I'm also not sure what you are trying to achieve with that 6 x 6 plastic enclosure. I can see some possible advantages, draft protection, trying to contain some of the mess, keeping heat in if you want to add heat. The room is going to be real dusty but I can see trying to keep the heavy duty cleaning down to a smaller area.

    I don't think heat is going to be much of a consideration to their comfort. I think space and ventilation will. I don't know enough top further comment on those.

    Good luck. Sometimes these things can be a bit rough to work out.
     
  3. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    First off, Ridgerunner, thank you for your words of wisdom. Here are the answers to your questions,
    At 8 weeks they should be fully feathered out. They should not need a heat lamp. I appreciate that they have been kept in a warm environment and you do not want to shock them by moving them from a 70 degree Fahrenheit life to one that will soon be around 0*F at night. If you can gradually lower the temperature, they should be fine without any heat.

    Guess I needed to hear another persons advice on how to deal with them. I am just needing another persons opinion on this matter.

    Is this room atttached or detached? How cold will it actually get in the room? I'm not clear on that from your post. I think it is an extension to your house so it will not get all that cold in there, but it could easily be a totally detached room somewhere else. What you are looking at is how cold it will get in there, not outside. In either case, if the room is air tight enough to prevent the wind blowing though, it should not matter as long as you are not shocking them by moving them directly from a semitropical environment to an arctic environment.

    The room is attached to our home, it is insulated and is air tight, of course within reason, it is finished and the plastic was to keep heat in, but the way you are making sense with them being feathered. I have seen water freeze, but cactus can survive.
    Another issue is ventilation. They are going to put off a lot of moisture, both from their poop and their breath. If their poop builds up, it can put off a lot of ammonia which is bad for their respiratory system. The room needs to be vented well enough to get rid of the moisture and ammonia. A decent poop management plan will help too. If it is an attached room, it will probably not get cold enough to cause frostbite even with high moisture, but you might get condensation on your walls and ceiling. In any case, you can expect a lot of dust.

    I would need to clean the litter out completely every week in the least. I already see all the dust having them in one of the spare bedrooms. I notice that they all put out a bit of heat as it is without a heat lamp, although the house is only kept at 65 degrees.

    I'm not sure how many chicks you have, so I can't comment on whether that is enough room. I'm also not sure what you are trying to achieve with that 6 x 6 plastic enclosure. I can see some possible advantages, draft protection, trying to contain some of the mess, keeping heat in if you want to add heat. The room is going to be real dusty but I can see trying to keep the heavy duty cleaning down to a smaller area.

    We have 9 standard Cochin's fully feathered like you say, and at the same time a couple bantam cochin's too that are the same age.
    I don't think heat is going to be much of a consideration to their comfort. I think space and ventilation will. I don't know enough top further comment on those.

    Good luck. Sometimes these things can be a bit rough to work out.

    I plan on using a heat lamp at first, dropping down gradually like you mentioned in the above paragraph and pray that its a mild winter.
    My intention was to raise up a few show birds, but my rose colored glasses are still hanging on my nose, we had a decent hatch. I need to learn to cull, but hate to at this point, and well, we have all been there.
    Again, thank you so much for your input, on the porch we should be able to wean them from the 70 degree heat to a point of no longer needing to give them heat, or at least a lower watt bulb until spring....we have this awesome pen in the garage with plastic and it could do with some cardboard insulation to help them spend a nice comfy winter! Now, mind you, I have always told everyone, don't heat your coops in winter, if the heat goes out your birds will freeze! Hah, guess who goofed.
     

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