Heating and supplemental light for winter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by paprikash, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. paprikash

    paprikash Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2014
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    I think this is the right forum for this.
    I am having trouble keeping my hens laying for several reasons but I think one is not enough light and heat. My coop is a converted shed 6x6 with a barn roof it connects to an enclosed 12x12 run that has a tin roof and wire sides. I am running a 12ga extension cord from the house out to the coop and planning on adding a heat lamp connected to a thermostat recepticle (on at 35 off at 45) and then setting a timer on a white light (100watt = CFL). My question is: Am I doing this correct? Should the white light be in the run or the coop or both? Will a 250watt red heat lamp be enough to warm them this winter?
    I live in S NJ where we get pretty cold and damp winters, nothing compared to the northern states but still expect many days that are at or below single digits.
    Is a CFL bulb proper light to fool the chickens into laying?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Temperature, except for extreme heat, has little impact on egg laying and running a heat lamp will negate any financial benefit from eggs.

    A 13 watt cfl (60 watt equivalent) would be sufficient. In the run won't help. It needs to be in the coop at roost height so the light will reach the pineal gland when the timer kicks on in the morning.
    The CFL is fine but when it gets close to zero, you may have to switch to an incandescent since fluorescents of all kinds don't like extreme cold.

    Cold isn't on this list of things that limit egg production.
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/450/several-reasons-why-your-hens-may-stop-laying-eggs
     
  3. paprikash

    paprikash Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2014
    Deep South New Jersey
    I will just put in a incandescent 60w on a timer and be done with it. I think I already have a outdoor extension cord capable. That will keep my cost low also.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The CFL will lower your energy cost till it gets real cold but probably not significantly since it's only on about 4 hours a day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Even better in the cold is an LED light, something like this. You need to put a plug end on this, which is simple for me, but if you aren't comfortable with that. look for one with a plug for a few bucks more.
    That one is only 10 watts and LED's last much longer than either incandescent or CFL's. CFL's really are problematic in extremely cold weather.

    As long as you are getting electricity out there, why not hook up a heated water dish, they are a huge time saver and give the birds access to liquid water all day.

    If you buy them both at once, you get free shipping too.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Good point on LEDs. More energy efficient too but still a little pricey. Lowe's has been dropping the price of some of theirs lately.
     
  7. paprikash

    paprikash Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2014
    Deep South New Jersey
    It's about a 100 run to the coop. I think I have a 16ga cord that will be fine for a light bulb but likely not enough to be safe for a heated water bowl. I will have to find out what they draw.
    I plan on wiring the coop when I do the shed next spring. Ran out of time this year.
     
  8. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Cold temperatures can very well effect laying, it depends upon the breed and the age of the hen... In general (less breeds that are known cold weather layers) optimal laying temps are between about 50° and 80°...

    As for financial benefits or not that depends on your setup... I more than pay for my supplemental light and supplemental heating in egg sales over the winter months, the supplemental heat keeps the eggs 'sellable' as I won't sell frozen or previously frozen eggs, and because my coop never drops bellow 37° the birds are not eating copious amounts of food to keep warm as the temp continues to drop... In the end a lot of it's a wash...

    FYI most commercial egg producers keep their buildings heated to about 70° as they have found that is the sweet spot temp for optimal profits from their layering operation...
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I know that. I worked for some of the largest broiler and egg operations. But when you have a billion dollar operation, things like heat are a nominal expense.

    How cold does it get there? It can get down to -20 here and I get eggs all winter but if I kept the hen house above 37 and I had a power outage, that would be a major problem as they wouldn't be acclimated. It's also stressful to go from a warm cozy coop out into a subzero wind in the morning.
     
  10. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    I don't live or worry about every 'what if' because 'what if' that never happens? Power rarely goes out in my area, and when it does it's usually for a very short period of time... I have a generator on standby, worst case the power will be out for a short period, as I certainly want heat in my house as well...

    This happens all the time just by natural occurrences, it can be 45° one day and then -10° the next, really no different...

    Again this happens by natural occurrences...

    Have you ever taken the overnight temp of a small coop with several chickens in it? My bet is you might be surprised at how warm it is, and thus those chickens get exactly that warm to cold effect every day as they exit the coop...

    Another note, heating a coop to 70° is entirely different then heating a coop to just above freezing to take the nip out of the air...

    What i continue to see in a lot of these heat/no-heat threads is a bunch of argumentum ad passiones like pictures of burning coops and lots of unlikely or at least highly preventable worst case 'what ifs' against heat...
     

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