Cold and Heat

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by henrykel, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. henrykel

    henrykel Hatching

    Jan 15, 2019
    1.We have 1 rooster and 4 hens (4 RIRs and 1 Buff Orpington) in an 8*10 shed/coop, with a 1*6 roost (so they can sit while sleeping).

    Adjacent to the roost, on the floor, is is a wooden elevated platform, and under it is mounted a 150 ceramic heater, 12 volts (made for cars) and powered from the outside by wires from a computer power supply. I am not concerned about shorts (though the wiring is hidden) as the power supply automatically would shut down. And about 150 watts is the most I source from that supply, and I have not seen any auto heaters any more powerful (due to 15A fuse ratngs on most car auxiliaries).

    There is a small vent at the far end for ventilation (and it does have a window (when neded).

    My question is, with temps dropping toward teens and single digits, and the heater providing only 2-3 temp increase during cold weather, is whether this is sufficient - or whether i should be concerned at all - as there are no noticed drafts inside when the door is closed at night.

    At what temp should I consider bringing them into a side building for the evening (in cat carriers!).

    2. And now for #2. Roger. An australorpe cock who arrived gentle and turned mean, who resides in a pen adjacent to the others. In an endtable. It is big enough for him to move around inside and even crow. It is not heated, but at night I close the door, but leave about a quarter inch for breathing/ventilation. Would his body heat be enough to keep him warm in what is esesentially a thick wooden box.

    I am not concerned about running 120vac into that pen, like a heating pad, or electric blanket to cover the box at night (and be removed when I let him out).
    Any suggestions here appreciated!

    We are new to chickens :)
    (Our first post...)
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    Welcome to BYC!

    I think the easiest way to get help is to provide pictures of your setup; I'm not sure exactly what you're describing, but more knowledgeable people than I could look at the pictures and give better advice based on that.

    If your heater provides only 2-3 degrees of heat, I personally would just turn it off. If it was a lot of heat, you would have to leave it because your girls are already accustomed to it, but in those temps and at that output, I think you can safely pull the plug.

    Temperature-wise, I don't even begin to worry about my girls until it gets down into the negative twenties. I have mostly large-bodied laying hens, with a scattering of Leghorns, three silkies, and a quintet of OEG bantams; they all do well.

    Hens don't need heat; they need good ventilation. That means that the drafts need to go, (though I wouldn't worry about them in the weather you describe) and you need some sort of system to get rid of the warm air. Warm air carries more moisture, and it can condense on the roof, but more importantly, on the chickens. Then it's like the chickens are sweating, and they get much colder than they would be otherwise. To prevent this, my coop is built with a lower and an upper vent. The roost is lower, so the air comes in through the lower vent. Hot air rises to the top, and proceeds along the bottom of the roof until it escapes out through the upper vent.
  3. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    It can get down to -30°F here and has been as low as -17°F so far this winter. The chickens and guineas have their own coops and the turkeys sleep outside at night. I do not provide any heat for them at all.

    Providing heat for poultry prevents them from growing the proper feathers to protect them from cold weather.

    A draft free environment with good ventilation is far more important than providing them with heat.
    RoosterRules, aart, 007Sean and 2 others like this.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    With the size of your coop ( a nice size) and the number of birds, you should be fine. I would not worry about any of them, and I would not run the heat. Inefficient, and not warming the chickens at all.
    R2elk likes this.
  5. henrykel

    henrykel Hatching

    Jan 15, 2019

    Question about Roger and his 'box'.
    Is being without other chickens to huddle with OK?
    And is ventilation a problem in a small space?
    His head is near the slightly opened door at night.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Why are you keeping Roger in a box? The problem with a box is that moisture builds up inside the box, think of being in a car without the heat on a cold night, almost immediately it fogs up.

    I think keeping him in a small box, even one that he can stand in is not a good idea or good for him. When you say he turned mean, do you mean to the hens or to people?

    Mrs K
    aart likes this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    I agree no heat needed......but pics would be great.

    Where in this world are you located?
    Climate is almost always a factor.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!

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