Help with coop for 4 small chickens!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sunnie7, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. sunnie7

    sunnie7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one silkie and 3 bantam Cochin mixes that are about 5.5 weeks old. I'm really having a hard time deciding when to move them outside since it's so close to winter I'm thinking I should now or soon so it won't be such a climate change for them. This week the high is from 45-72 and low ranging from 27-50 I'm in southern Indiana. I was thinking maybe for the first week or so doing the coop during the day and brining them back into the garage at night?! Or when should I move them outside?

    I'm also really worried about using a heat lamp in coop since my coop is pretty tiny. It's this one from tractor supply http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/precision-pet-orb-country-classic-coop
    And we are building at 6'x3.5' run off of it (is that large enough for 4 small chickens?) The coop is small on the inside having a lamp in there worries me but I also know since my chicks are so small they probably can't handle the cold as well. Advice please!!!
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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  2. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Living in a galaxy far, far away...

    If they are fully feathered then they can go outside. I wouldn't put a heat lamp in such a small coop - fire risks. Since it is small they should be able to heat it with their bodies if they are old enough. The usual age for putting them outside is 8 weeks. That's usually when a broody hen would kick them out, too.
    I think that the run is big enough. If you notice that they are fighting alot you can let them out to free-range in the evening; they will put themselves away.
     
  3. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At 5 to 6 weeks, I would say they need some heat, if night temp is as low as you say.

    The heat lamp you mentioned is probably 150 to 250 watt. way too strong. You can find incandescent flood light from 50 to 100 watts at HD. I use 45 watt black bulb in my grow-up coop of 3x4x3. No problem. Make sure the lamp has plenty of clearance from its surrounding and well secured.

    You can control the amount of heat by adjusting the hanging height as they mature.

    Next time, get the chicks in late spring.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  4. sunnie7

    sunnie7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes lesson learned that my timing to want chicks was not at all ideal!!!

    Can anyone post or show me some examples of how to hang a light in a small coop like mine and what all can be used to secure it. I'm thinking if was to put a light in is have to hang it as close to the top as possible, would I have to drill a hole in the coop somewhere?
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I would try a heating pad instead; TSC has some for chickens. I have zero experience with the heating pads, but they are worth a look. For hanging a light safely. you could screw in a hanger to framing, and use a chain to attach the heat lamp, and also run the electric cord up through or next to the hanger. I always double or triple attach lamps in the coop. Fire safety is #1! A lower watt red heat lamp, found in the reptile section at pet stores, would work. That's not such bad weather, with some time for them to acclimate. Maybe indoors at night, or the electric pad or light. Mary
     
  6. sunnie7

    sunnie7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice! I'd really like to not use heat at all except for a cookie tin heater for the water when I need it. I worry too much about fire risk. This is our weather for the next week. I'm thinking of putting the in the coop and just bringing them in the garage at night for another week or two to help them get used to the climate. I've had their lamp off and no nightlight for the past two nights.
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  7. sunnie7

    sunnie7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few more questions where exactly do I Put their food and water? The actual inside of the coop seems too small would it be okay either underneath or next to the ramp? Also would one of the cookie tin heaters be okay there since it's not completely inside just has a roof over it?!
    Last question I do close the door at the top of the ramp each night right?! Sorry I'm such a beginner!
     
  8. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Living in a galaxy far, far away...

    If youo predator proof the bottom section, then you can leave their food and water down there. They should be locked up top at night for heat/warmth and just in case a predator does get in. Since the top is to small for food or water, then pull out their food at night so mice and rats don't have a free buffet to waste your feed.
    I have a friend in town who has a coop similar to yours, and what she did is get a metal hanging feeder (where you open the top and the food falls to the feeder part), cut a hole in the wire part of the run, and put the lid side on the outside for easy access, and the feeder side on the inside. As for water, I would recommend a nipple waterer. It is much easier to keep clean and you can go for a few days without having to fill it. You can make your own, too. Buy chicken water nipples on amazon, and drill holes in the bottom or side of a five gallon bucket. Then bam, you've got chicken waterer, done.
     
  9. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OP

    You say you have a cookie tin? The cookie tin can be your heat source instead of heat lamp. Mother hen is a warm body rather than illumination.
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Chicks the age of yours do not need a heated coop. As temps drop, heating the coop will cause condensation and increase the risk of frostbite.

    If your chicks haven't yet been exposed to colder outdoor temps, start letting them spend time outside during the day, increasing the exposure every day. After four or five days, they should be acclimated and can be moved into the coop to sleep.

    Chickens respond to cold temps by increasing their feed intake to stoke their metabolism. They will also grow thick feathers to insulate themselves. Your chickens will do just fine without heat.

    As for the cookie tin warmer, it needs to be protected from water getting into it, but it will be fine for keeping water from freezing. I use them myself for this purpose.
     

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