First winter with my hens

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

  1. gotago

    gotago New Egg

    May 27, 2008
    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 ~
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  3. blueskylen

    blueskylen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    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

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

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