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Heated rocks (or flat pavers) as coop warmers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SewingDiva, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Seeking opinions! We don't have electrical in our coop and its a Playhouse Coop so its small. The temps have been in the single digits and below here in MA. So I was thinking of heating rocks in the oven and placing them in the coop to at least take some of the chill off at night.

    Natually I can't do this in a really hot oven because I don't want them to burn themsleves; I'm thinking a 350 degree oven for an hour or less, and I'd heat the rocks only to a point were I can still hold them in my bare hand. If I used flat pavers I could even place them on the floor of the coop.

    Crazy idea? Good idea?

  2. ginbart

    ginbart Crowing

    Mar 9, 2008
    Bloomsburg, PA
    Crazy idea? No, when I was young and stayed at my Grandmothers she would take bricks and put them on her stove and wrap them up in newspaper and put them in the bed with us. We were warm all night.
  3. Rooster Ray

    Rooster Ray Songster

    Nov 20, 2008
    South West Michigan
    I think they will do fine without the heated rocks. Last night it was -10 and windchill of -25 and mine are in a non heated coop and they all still laid today. I keep waiting for them to slow down due to the cold but they haven't. The biggest thing is that there can be no drafts, that is what chills them. If it is draft free they can produce enough heat on their own to make it even in sub zero temps. Their down is pretty amazing maybe that's why some of the warmest coats we can buy are goose down filled.
  4. Carolina Chicken Man

    Carolina Chicken Man Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    I went camping one time and it snowed. We put some bricks in our campfire, and then placed in a bucket in out tent. I was sweating in the night.

    Although it is probabaly not necessary, it will keep the coop warm.

    It was 9 degrees here last night, and my BO rooster wouldn't come down from a small tree he likes to sleep in, and he slept outside last night. He's fine this morning.
  5. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Personally, I love that idea! I've been agonizing and trying out different things to warm the coop at night, but I'm deathly afraid of starting a fire, using anything electrical. If you cover the rocks/pavers with newspaper, there won't be any risk of them burning their little tows, either. The only other cool (or better "hot"[​IMG] idea I've heard on here was to fill a 5 gallon plastic bottle with boiling water, and place it inside the coop. I've done that, too, and it worked great, except it took me forever to boil that much water, and then I had to carry it all the way down to the coop. It did keep the chill out of the coop, though (mine is 6x4x5).
  6. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    I have been reading this tread and was wondering if one could heat a chicken tractor with those reptile heat rocks instead of a heat lamp. I dont know where I would be able to put a heat lamp in the tractor but could certainly put one of those electric rocks in. I am thinking about my broilers in particular...
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    I think it sounds like a good idea, I'd do it very low and slow though, I've had stone crack, not quite explode, but definately 'pop' in/near a campfire. A low oven should be fine though.

    you could rotate 3 sets of them I'd say, I'd put them all under a board or something since the hens are going to park their feathery buts on em and there's going to be poo involved, not a good smell in the oven!!

    One 'hot' set in the coop, one 'warm but cooling' set out there too, and a the third set in the oven getting hot, and I'll bet your hens would love them!

    We want pictures cause I'm picturing your hens all gathered on top of the boards 'brrrrrkkkk brrrrkkkk-ing'
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I wouldn't try heating rocks or bricks in an oven unless you know for a fact they are dead dry. They can explode anytime temps get beyond the boiling point of water (212 F)

    Easiest thing would be to get as many of those tall square cat-litter buckets as you can round up, fill them with hot water from your tap (e.t.a. -- like, pure hot water. Let the bathtub or laundry sink tap run til as hot as it will get, then fill the buckets), put the lids on securely, and line 'em up in the coop with shavings banked high along the back of 'em and shovelled on top. It won't warm a large coop, but a small coop it might warm a bit for a while, and if the chickens wanted (and were smart enough) they could snuggle against the exposed side of the warm buckets.

    I can tell you that a single, lone, not-insulated-in-any-way-except-lid-being-on bucket of hot tapwater will stay noticeably warm to the touch in a cold barn (maybe 10 F) for a couple hours at least. Grouping a bunch together and banking/topping with shavings for insulation should improve on that.

    (e.t.a. - note that water has a higher heat capacity than rock. So unless you heat the rocks up hotter than your hot water would be, which would risk burns to the birds, you get more 'bang for your buck' outta water anyhow)

    GOod luck,

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  9. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I've wondered about the rock/paver thing too, but more as a way to keep my waterers from freezing. I don't have electricity in the coop and I have to go to work all day. The darn things are freezing up almost as soon as I put them out there! Ack!

    I was wondering if a heated paver under the waterer would help. [​IMG]
  10. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Check the sporting goods dept. at a Walmart or similar store, or a military surplus store, for emergency survival blankets. They're thin, tough, silvery, heat-reflective plastic, like mylar. They may be mylar, I don't know. They work, I used one when stranded in my car in a blizzard, once. If you stapled it to the walls inside the coop, and the ceiling over the roosts, it will reflect the chickens body heat back to them, and help keep them warmer. No hot rocks, no power cords, no fire risk.

    My DH and I used to camp and hike a lot, back-country wilderness, not the parking-lot camp grounds. Once when the weather was colder than expected, we boiled a bunch of river rocks in a skillet, poured off the water and put the hot rocks in our jacket pockets to warm our hands. Once the water was poured off, the rocks dried quickly so they were nice and dry in our pockets. The warmth lasted a long time, too. You could boil a couple of big pots of large gravel or river stones, pour off the water (or leave the water in the pots, if you wish, it wouldn't hurt anything, (unless it split the pots) but you might have a pot full of ice-encased rocks in the morning) and set those in the coop, one under each end of the roost poles. I think the rocks would hold heat better than just water. I haven't done a comparison, but that's my instinct.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009

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