Coop heater for COLD weather

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Candi1777, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Candi1777

    Candi1777 New Egg

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    This is my first winter with chickens so forgive me some of my ignorance and maybe simple questions. I live in Alaska, where I'm at it gets down to -40 for many consecutive days. We have had several cold spells so far (-10 to -20), it's -15 now. I have a brooder lamp hung high in the coop for warmth, I know it's not warming the coop but it gives warmth under the lamp. I have concerns about fire and if it is really giving enough heat if needed. Egg production defiantly slows when it is below zero. I have been looking at a hanging infrared heater. My questions are: Is a infrared heated safer than other heat sources? What is the fire risk? Any other ideas that I may not have thought of?
     
  2. PolkaDot77

    PolkaDot77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a regular brooder lamp during the winter (in Idaho), along with a well insulated but still ventilated coop. On those particularly cold nights I also give them more bedding and put out a reptile heat pad. Regular heating pads usually have an auto shut off, but the reptile ones don't. Good luck!
     
  3. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    X2 on the heating pad but also what kind of chickens do you
    have I only ask because there are chickens who survive in
    Siberia and you can bet they do not get a heat source .....
    Oh before I forget [​IMG] !!!!!!!!!!!

    gander007[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Candi1777

    Candi1777 New Egg

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    I don't have an insulated coop, it does have ventilation. I'm pretty rustic, the floor is a sealed plywood on top of pallets on the ground, the hens have 6 nesting boxes. I would love to have one of the coops you see posted but I don't :( I have limited power to the coop as well. There is one power outlet and I don't want to overload it; I have a 250 watt water heater plugged in already.
     
  5. Candi1777

    Candi1777 New Egg

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    I have Black Austrolorp's, I chose them because they were to be cold hardy.
     
  6. PolkaDot77

    PolkaDot77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Boise, ID
    Not to worry! My coop is very rustic (aka cheap and reused!) as well. In the winter I cover he run with clear shower curtains from the dollar store to block out the wind and as for insulation that is just an old wool blanket stapled to the inside walls with room in-between the wall and blanket to stuff in straw. Works great and is super cheap! Is the outlet an extension cord? I have the reptile heating pad, lamp AND a heated water bucket on an extension cord from my house and haven't had an overload problem in the years it has been that way. Don't be afraid to get creative. I have heard of people lining their coop walls with newspaper, straw, even bubble wrap and pillows. Just staple it up. It won't be super warm, but as people have said, you have hardy birds that should be just fine in those temperatures.:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  7. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    New Brunswick,Canada
    I do not heat in my climate and I experience a cold snap of -40º or lower from time to time with no issues. I have not losted a bird to the cold. That does not make me an expert on Polar Arctic Conditions that you deal with for long stretches at a time.

    I believe that you can tell when your birds are stress and give them extra heat to ward off what you see as trouble. Canadians have an advantage in that situation compared to most of our Southern US counterparts.

    If your birds are docile, silent, inactive, fluffed up continually on the perch or floor you know something is wrong or at least I do. That is when I put my bird(s) into isolation or sick bay for added TLC.

    These are the same symptoms they display anytime of year when something is wrong. If you have been experiencing -40º for weeks and following your winter feed and water program as normal it does not take a genius to know what the trouble maybe if most of the flock is acting in the same manner.

    Murphy's Law says your chickens will experience -40º or lower no matter what you do.
    Your chickens must be acclimatized.


    Regardless what you decide I would NOT supply heat to your birds 24/7.

    Feed extra corn you will not be sorry.
    .
    The Chantecler are overall the best dual purpose bird you can acquire and are polar bears when it comes to cold (they maybe difficult to acquire in your location)..

    Characteristics


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    A White Chantecler hen, taken at the Abbey in 1926
    The Chantecler is a large chicken that lays respectably well and is a good meat producer. Roosters weigh around 9 pounds (3.9 kilos), and hens are 6.5-7.5 pounds (3-3.4 kilos).The breed possess yellow skin and beaks, and lay brown eggs. With plumage that lies tight against the body but has a good deal of fluff, and an exceptionally small cushion comb and wattles, the Chantecler is one of the most cold hardy chickens. They are gentle birds amenable to taming, but can be temperamental in confinement.[2
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  8. jjackson-7

    jjackson-7 Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree with some of what Hokum Coco has to say. (Don't really understand the Canadian vs Us comment but it's irrelivent to my point) We also get cold snaps here. -30 to -35 for week or so happens a few times year, some years we reach -40 for a few days as well. My coop is not heated, nor is it a fancy thing. It's an old log building that has the old wooden pane windows and gaps where some of the chiking has fallen out. around the plywood door. I use the deep littler method, so there is mild heat coming from the litter, but it's a continuous, energy free source, and my big point is energy free. Because with that cold comes wind and brittle trees, which fall on powerlines. If your chickens are heated and then the power goes out at those temperatures, you're in trouble. They do have a heated waterer, so they have warm water to drink, they have roosts so they can perch and cover their feet, and they get hot oatmeal/cormeal mash in the morning with plenty of cayenne pepper to heat them internally. I've never lost a bird to the cold, and the only frostbite issues I've had are when two roosters got in a fight and cut each others combs. Fresh wet blood and the cold froze the tips a bit. Normally they tuck their heads under their wings to protect themselves.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    MB,Canada
    When deciding to heat/not heat,many things have to taken into consideration,what breed of bird,how many birds,even molting can have an impact and type of climate is crucial in making this decision. It is not a case of no chickens need heat b/c many in fact do require heat. Have a look at the emergencies/disease forum,see how many have frozen off feet/wattles/combs and have died,all b/c they were told that their chickens do not require heat,wrong!

    Use your own judgement,observe your birds and do not listen to what others say regarding heating coops,only you know how your birds are dealing with the cold.

    I live in Manitoba,we experience severe cold weather on a regular basis,my coops are heated,i can guarantee my silkies would be dead without additional heat. If the power goes out or the weather is extremely cold,they come in the house.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
    1 person likes this.

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