First winter with my hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gotago, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. gotago

    gotago New Egg

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    May 27, 2008
    PA
    My hens are 15 weeks old and doing great, they have been in the coop since 4 weeks and haven't a a heat lamp since. My question is at what temperature do i need to put a lamp in the coop, if at all. I don't want to wake up some morning to hensicles. There are 8 of them in a smallish coop, i use lots of pine shavings for floor. They do free range 2-6 hours a day right now.
     
  2. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    gotago, you will get a wide variety of opinions on this topic! I have seen pics of chickens playing out in Minnesota snow, and I have also heard stories of frozen chicken legs here in Tennessee.

    I think most people will agree that no matter where you are, it is important to keep chickens dry and out of the wind. Most will also agree that you need a decent amount of coop ventilation as well.

    Factors to consider with your own chickens are:

    * size (banties can suffer from cold more than standards),
    * comb type (breeds with large combs/wattles can get frostbite more easily;
    * feathering (heavily feathered and feather foot breeds can stay warmer, but you have to watch they don't get ice balls on their feet).

    That is a long-winded way to say there is no one temperature that clearly indicates you need extra heat. Some folks in your area probably never use heat, while others will use a lot.

    For my spoiled hens, I use ceramic warming bulbs with heat-holding clamp lamps when it gets down around freezing or below. My personal goal is to keep the inside of the coop over 40, and I like 50 even better. The first winter I just watched the hens to see how they acted in different types of weather, and my oldest hen started shivering around 38ish degrees.

    I also install windbreaks around the run in winter, and I leave hay bales in there for warmth too.

    Hope this novel helps. Good luck!


    ** Ed. to add link to article from my site on my winter arrangements ~

    http://theworldofjenotopia.com/cmsjoomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53&Itemid=27
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  3. blueskylen

    blueskylen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2008
    WV
    i have been worrying about heating in winter too. our run is a gravel base and layer of sand on top, so i'll add some hay bales too. the tarps on the top only go down half way, so i'll probably get a larger tarp to entirely cover the roof and sides, and just leave the door end open for venilation - the other end adjoins the coop.

    there was an article in Poultry magazine that showed making a heater out of a clay pot and clay bottom plate - took a 20 watt bulb on a small ceramic light fixture with cord, and put inside of the pot and then taped the tray and pot together with electrical tape ( so that they could not peck/knock it open and get at the light wiring ) and set it on their roost. it would not get too hot, and they could snuggle around it for extra warmth. i am going to make one of those, as it would be cheaper electric for that than a heat bulb. i can add a picture of it, if anyone wants to see what it looks like? they also mentioned finding an small old crockpot at a thrift store/yard sale that had the removable crock - and putting a ceramic tile on top of the burner - put on the lowest setting and then putting their waterer on it to keep it from icing.
     
  4. gotago

    gotago New Egg

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    May 27, 2008
    PA
    Thanks for the good ideas. Buying hay and dismantling a crockpot are on my to do list today.
     

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