experiment in alternative heating

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lizrndiver, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. lizrndiver

    lizrndiver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    South Beloit, IL
    We are getting ready for another brutal cold snap here (below zero weather) and I am worried about my coop temp. I have a 50w red bulb in it now, but that has been keeping the coop only 4 degrees above the outside temp. I am using a heated dog dish for water.

    My hens seem okay, cold, but okay. I notice them on one foot at a time and the up foot shivers. All their poo is frozen solid in the coop making it difficult to scape off each morning. So far no cracked eggs, but I wonder if any have been frozen and not cracked. I have one hen ( a red sussex) who has a slightly larger comb than the others and may times the tips look pale (? early frost bite).

    So..........I am trying an experiment. The closest edge of my coop is only 8 feet from the back of my house. The air outlet from our basement bathroom lines up with the coop. So DH suggested we run insulted dryer vent tubing from the bathroom fan vent to the coop. The air comes out at house temperature (68 degrees) and I'm sure loses heat the whole trip. But so far it is keeping the coop 14 degrees above the outside temp (obviously better than 4). BTW I have a min/max thermometer in the coop so I am pretty sure my temps are accurate.

    I have noticed it is a little more humid in the coop since doing this based on the appearance of some frost on the inside of the windows, but think it might do the trick until we get back up above freezing. Any thoughts?


    Liz [​IMG]
  2. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    If there is frost on the windows inside the coop, I'd seek an alternate approach. I think it may be too humid and less good for the birds. have you tried hot water jugs for them?
  3. briana1975

    briana1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2009
    Carleton Mi.
    Well I hope it works. I have had a 250 watt heat light outside on a timer. It comes on at 4 am and off at 4 pm. I have started keeping the chickens and turkeys in till the day temp gets close to 20 degrees due to the frostbite on my roo. On the nights it is dropping into the single digits I am keeping the light on all night. I am also keeping bag balm on the roos comb and wattles.
  4. ice329

    ice329 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2009
    Liz, Your house air is prob pretty dry unless you have a humdifier running. I would say pretty confidently your doing fine running your house air into the coop. G/L
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  5. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I don't know--chickens are more likely to get frostbite when the humidity is up (same process putting frost on your inside windows). Keeping the humidity down can be more important than keeping it warmer. I am not familiar with such cold temps, so hopefully some AKs or other northerners will weigh in...
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Might help to further insulate the feed duct from the house. Anything you can find can work. Might try piling a couple of feet thick layer of leaves or hay or straw on the duct. That way more heat will reach the coop area. Carpet padding would work too. Maybe scrap carpeting or whatever then lots of leaves. Best to put some plastic over the leaves to keep them dry too. [​IMG]
  7. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Ice on the windows does not mean the humidity is up. It means there is a large enought temp difrence between inside an out to couse condensation.
  8. featherbaby

    featherbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL 32210
    I am using a small heater from Lowes that has a thermostat on it. It keeps the coop at a steady temp without having to wonder if they're getting too cold, too humid, etc. It has a heating element and small fan recessed behind a grate that would not let chickens anywhere close to the element. I hung it up about 24" above their heads and it's working beautifully. I don't need any illness due to cold when that's a factor I can control.
  9. lizrndiver

    lizrndiver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    South Beloit, IL
    Thanks for all the input. I am kind of confused now though. So I disconnected the dry vent hose out of humidity fear and I am trying water bottles. My coop is 4 x 4 x6. It got up to 8 for a high today and the coop was at 18. Now it is Zero and I just put in new bottles about 30 minutes ago. Coop temp is 13. It is supposed to be 8 below tonight. Usually my coop is coldest about 5 am. I am sure my water will be frozen by then. I just read the response about the frost on the windows. Mu min max thermometer says that the indoor humidity is 44%. So the air I am pump in to the coop if I reconnect the hose will be at 44% humidity. Anyone think I should reconnect the hose? I guess this is one lesson me and DH are learning the hard way......if you live in the north, build your coop with plenty of insulation!!! We have a project for spring.

  10. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Good luck!
    I too think the frost on the windows is more from condensation because of the heat differential. The heat duct from the house sounds easier than water bottles and more cost effective than electric heaters.

    Our forecast is for -15F tonight.. Our 12 EE Pullets are 2.5 months old and still in the house! They are moving outside within the week. Their coop is almost done. Insulated like a cold climate house. R38 ceiling, R19 walls. Having a heck of a time getting the door to be tight so ice does not build up. I just want the coop to stay in the 20's or low 30's which is 45 degrees warmer than the outside air!

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