Heating Coop for chicks in the winter...

Oct 13, 2019
451
835
151
Longmont, CO
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Hey there,

Curious what some people with experience think about my current situation. I have 10 chicks that are 2.5 weeks old and 3 little pullets that are 9 weeks old today. I have them all in my heated work shop as of now. I’d love to get them out of there sooner rather than later. I’m working on integrating them all now with a see, but don’t touch situation. The babies are being raised under heating plates are are feathering out rather quickly! My pullets that I did under a light took FOREVER.

For context, I am in Longmont, Colorado. We have fairly cold winters but nothing like farther north. It will be in the teens most nights. I am generally against heating chicken coops, especially with a heat lamp. I have no plans of doing that. But I’d love to get them in the coop in the next few weeks and the littler ones will need some sort of supplemental heat. I have been looking at mounting a sweeter heater in there. It’s more than I want to spend, but I am not willing of doing anything that risks fire. Thoughts? Do I have other options? I could of course put their heating plate in there, but I think they will have outgrown it by then. The coop is 3x8 feet. I don’t plan on keeping them all in there together once their big. I’ll be picking my favorites. I also have a second coop. But for winter they will all be in there.
Pic of current situation that they will quickly outgrow attached as well as coop (and yes I’m adding more ventilation). ;)

Thanks!
 

UrbanHenKW123

Chirping
Jun 25, 2019
73
133
96
Kitchener - Canada
So what I've been told is that heating your coop is kind of a double edge sword so to speak. If you heat it, they don't grow as many feathers, and then if the power goes out you have chilled chickens. I am in Canada (southern Ontario) so we get pretty cold up here. I have 3 sex links. Their coop is insulated but no heat. I also have coworker that has 6 and she doesn't heat her coop. I think its totally up to you how you want to handle it. Maybe something like a heated perch is a good compromise and adding insulation to your coop so their heat stays in more. Lots of shavings on the coop floor for insulation too. And I'd keep them inside for the full 6 weeks. Good luck!!
 
Oct 13, 2019
451
835
151
Longmont, CO
So what I've been told is that heating your coop is kind of a double edge sword so to speak. If you heat it, they don't grow as many feathers, and then if the power goes out you have chilled chickens. I am in Canada (southern Ontario) so we get pretty cold up here. I have 3 sex links. Their coop is insulated but no heat. I also have coworker that has 6 and she doesn't heat her coop. I think its totally up to you how you want to handle it. Maybe something like a heated perch is a good compromise and adding insulation to your coop so their heat stays in more. Lots of shavings on the coop floor for insulation too. And I'd keep them inside for the full 6 weeks. Good luck!!
I guess my main issue is their indoor situation is going to become too small before they reach 6 weeks. That’s why I’m contemplating what exactly to do. I definitely don’t want to keep their coop heated permanently.
 

UrbanHenKW123

Chirping
Jun 25, 2019
73
133
96
Kitchener - Canada
I guess my main issue is their indoor situation is going to become too small before they reach 6 weeks. That’s why I’m contemplating what exactly to do. I definitely don’t want to keep their coop heated permanently.
hmm well can you put the 9 week ones out first and open the other side so you have enough room while the 10 younger ones mature?
 
Oct 13, 2019
451
835
151
Longmont, CO
hmm well can you put the 9 week ones out first and open the other side so you have enough room while the 10 younger ones mature?
Yes that’s definitely an option...my only reasoning for having them all in their now was that I wanted them to get used to each other ASAP, as that was the advice I was given was that I should get them together as soon as possible as it can be harder later down the road. My hope was to take that divider out in the next week or two, have them all get along in the current set up and then move them out to the coop together. I could move the bigger ones or sooner, but I’m not sure how I’d then integrate the smaller ones to the coop, as it would be harder for me to do a see but not touch set up out there. Plus then the big girls may feel like it’s their turf already whereas if I move them all together it’ll be neutral ground for all. Thoughts? I’ve never done any of this before so it’s all hypothetical to me!
 

UrbanHenKW123

Chirping
Jun 25, 2019
73
133
96
Kitchener - Canada
Yes that’s definitely an option...my only reasoning for having them all in their now was that I wanted them to get used to each other ASAP, as that was the advice I was given was that I should get them together as soon as possible as it can be harder later down the road. My hope was to take that divider out in the next week or two, have them all get along in the current set up and then move them out to the coop together. I could move the bigger ones or sooner, but I’m not sure how I’d then integrate the smaller ones to the coop, as it would be harder for me to do a see but not touch set up out there. Plus then the big girls may feel like it’s their turf already whereas if I move them all together it’ll be neutral ground for all. Thoughts? I’ve never done any of this before so it’s all hypothetical to me!
You definitely make some good points there about integration. It may be tight but I'd try to keep them all inside as long as possible. They're almost three weeks now right? I think that size of brooder should be ok for another 3 weeks. You can start having them outside in short spurts at around 4-5 weeks. But very short seeing as its pretty chilly out. This will help them climatize to the cool air. Then doing daytime in the coop for a few days then outside once they're completely feathered.
 

wyoDreamer

Crowing
Nov 10, 2010
4,715
5,707
411
NE Wisconsin
Once your chicks are fully feathered, they can move out to the coop. I would keep on with the integration, maybe use some of the wire to make a fence around a "safe" area for the chicks by making a small opening that they fit through and the bigger girls can't. When you remove the divider between the 2 sets of birds, add a low roost bar for them to hop up on, play on, sleep on, etc..

One option for the chicks when you move them out into the coop is a small animal heat mat ( ~ $25). It is flat, hard plastic so easy to clean and sits on the floor of the coop. They will pile together to keep warm, so a heated mat to sleep on may be all that is needed until they roost. After they don't need it anymore, you can use it in your nest box to keep the eggs from freezing, under your waterer to keep that from freezing, for your barn cat for cold nights, etc.
 
Oct 13, 2019
451
835
151
Longmont, CO
Once your chicks are fully feathered, they can move out to the coop. I would keep on with the integration, maybe use some of the wire to make a fence around a "safe" area for the chicks by making a small opening that they fit through and the bigger girls can't. When you remove the divider between the 2 sets of birds, add a low roost bar for them to hop up on, play on, sleep on, etc..

One option for the chicks when you move them out into the coop is a small animal heat mat ( ~ $25). It is flat, hard plastic so easy to clean and sits on the floor of the coop. They will pile together to keep warm, so a heated mat to sleep on may be all that is needed until they roost. After they don't need it anymore, you can use it in your nest box to keep the eggs from freezing, under your waterer to keep that from freezing, for your barn cat for cold nights, etc.
Ooh you’re a genius. Wonderful advice. I hadn’t heard of those heat pads before. Going to look into that. Thank you. I’ll definitely employ the technique of making a safe space for the little ones like that too. Thanks so much.
 
Oct 13, 2019
451
835
151
Longmont, CO
Why not put the heating plate in the coop with them?
Once they are done with it just remove it.
Definitely an option. I’m just concerned by the time they are 5-6 weeks they won’t be able to all crowd under it. They wouldn’t really need to do so if they were in the heated workshop. Know what I mean?
 
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