Can 13 week old chickens do without a heat light in winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dtress, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. dtress

    dtress Out Of The Brooder

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    I live in Northern California, and it's been between 34-40 degrees at night. I have five hens in a 3x4x4 coop. They are 13-14 weeks old and fully feathered. Can they sleep without supplemental heat/light now? Do I need to wean them or can I quit the light cold ...ahem...chicken? They have been sleeping with a 75 watt infared bulb.
    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Absolutely! They haven't needed heat for well over a month to six weeks now. My first pullets were put out at 4 weeks old, in an 8x8 coop with a single 125 watt heat lamp suspended from the ceiling in 12 degree weather. Now, I put chicks out with a heat lamp at 2-3 weeks old and remove the heat by the time they're 6-7 weeks, maybe 9 weeks old if it's really super cold outside in winter time.

    If it bothers you to just quit cold turkey, change to a 25 watt bulb for a night or two, then remove it altogether to get them used to less light and heat more gradually. They'll be fine, though.
     
  3. dtress

    dtress Out Of The Brooder

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    Really? Oh my, I wish I had asked this question a month ago! I've probably been toasting my poor birds. Not to mention the constant worry at night - are the too cold..too hot...too cold. Ugh.
    I've noticed a ton of feathers in their run, which seems odd at this time of year and age. I have a 25 W incandescent light, or I can opt for none at all. What do you suggest considering they've been in 100W light their whole lives.

    Live and Learn. I LOVE this site. Thanks a bunch.
     
  4. angie3881

    angie3881 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I live in Iowa. It is cold. My chickens have one heat lamp suspended from the ceiling, also and that is mostly to keep the water from freezing. They do well in cold weather and make sure their coop is ventilated very well. You are doing great! I wanted to bring my chickens in the house when it got the least chilly. I found out that was not necessary. [​IMG]
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    They are fully feathered usually by six weeks old. After that, they really don't need any heat whatsoever, especially where you live. So as not to scare them, I'd change your lightbulb to a 25 watt for a night or two, then remove it. It's not the heat so much as the light they've gotten used to. You don't have to wean them off it slowly, but that's probably what I'd do, at least for a night or two. [​IMG]
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Yep. They freak a bit when they first experience it getting dark in the evenings. They get over it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  7. aubreynoramarie

    aubreynoramarie designated lawn flamingo

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    Mine are 8 weeks and have been outside without a light for two weeks. They compensate with cuddles!
     
  8. dtress

    dtress Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! And any advice how far should I slide open the window? There is no other ventilation (working on fixing that) and the window is 1x1 foot. It's a small coop. About 3x3x3feet. It's windy tonight but their perch is tucked back - not right in front of the window.
     
  9. angie3881

    angie3881 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I would open it an inch or so, that will help, but from everything I have read on here, you need air in, air out. My coop is not tight. You can see day light through some cracks on all four sides and in the ceiling. If you have some cracks, you should be fine- otherwise I would work on an opposite side window. The ventilation is supposed to be high.
    It was difficult for me to leave a draft in the hen house... but am now glad I did. It is always dry.
    Good luck!! [​IMG]
     
  10. dtress

    dtress Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the input! I left the window and little door open last night, and the birds were fine with no heat light. No smell this am. I'm just going to empty the roosting tray every day to prevent the ammonia build up. I can't believe that 5 birds can squish onto a roosting bar 30 inches long!
     

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