Do I need to provide a heat source and if so, when?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by newbie donna, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. newbie donna

    newbie donna Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
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    It's forecast to get down into the 50's later this week. I'm wondering if I need to consider adding heat lights to my henhouse, especially at night. My chickens are almost 6 months old and not babies anymore. I know some breeds are more cold resistant than others. I have BR, Wyandotte and EE. They are also free range during the day.

    I know nothing about temperature control after they are fully feathered. Please help educate me!
     
  2. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No. Your coop should be secure, without drafts. They will self-regulate. I only add lights to extend the day somewhat and keep them laying better.
     
  3. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, good heavens, no. They'll be just fine. Especially at only 50. With those breeds you should be fine all winter long without supplemental heat. A coop, a little protection from the wind, food and water and they're good to go. [​IMG]
     
  4. newbie donna

    newbie donna Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
    SW Missouri
    Thank you both so much. I'm afraid I am living up to my username of "newbie". *laughs* There's so much I still need to learn!
     
  5. shareverwonder

    shareverwonder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2010
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    I'm a newbie too. This will be my first winter with my girls and roo. Our coop isn't insulated. Hopefully with a little extra straw, and a heat light for the coldest nights they will be ok. I've been reading some terrible things about frostbite. Wish us luck.
     
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're scaring yourself--frostbite is rare if the chickens are kept in a well vented coop--too much moisture causes more problems. I've kept birds like yours for 25 years where it gets down to 20 below and never had a problem with it. Those breeds like leghorns that have big combs are more likely to suffer.
     
  7. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    And even in those breeds with large single combs, it's still a rarity, not the rule. It's good to be informed about how to take care of your chickens, but don't, to shamelessly quote country music, out smart your common sense. Take what you read with a grain of salt. [​IMG]
     
  8. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    We're already down in the 30's at night. We get below 0 with days that don't get above freezing for a high. And the chickens do just fine. I don't have insulation or a heater for them. Usually right after Halloween I can find a few straw bales that were used for decorations and now ready to get rid of on Craigslist for free. I add one bale to the floor of the coop, helps to insulate the cold air that comes up from the ground. And any other bales I can score for free I use as the weather gets wetter to keep the mud factor down in the run.

    I also move my one rooster into the coop for the winter. He is housed the remainder of the year in his own enclosure, alone. I figure he needs the extra warmth in winter and it gets him friendly with the girls so I can start collecting fertile eggs to hatch at the beginning of Feb. I also move the banties into the big coop about this time. They don't jump up on the roosts, but will nestle into the straw on the floor at night, all huddled together. They also benefit from the extra warmth of the other birds.

    This year is the first year I'm trying extra light for the winter. I just purchased a battery operated LED light for the coop (no electricity out there, don't like extension cords) and hung it on the wall near their roosts. Our egg count has gone down recently with our sexlinks so I'm hoping this helps.
     
  9. animalover

    animalover Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    Wide roosts and a little Vaseline on the combs are helpful in preventing frostbite, if you start having problems with it. As another said, you shouldn't, though, if the coop is both well ventilated and draft free. Where heat comes in handy is keeping the water unfrozen; there are some effective, inexpensive solutions for this, like a light bulb mounted in a concrete block under the water. Old fashioned metal cookie tins can be converted to a great water heater.

    Sometimes I turn on a heat lamp over the roosts on really cold nights because I feel sorry for them. They don't even collect under it. I'm probably not warming anything but my conscience.

    There are people in Alaska who don't heat their coops.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2010

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