How do you heat the laying boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RonP, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last year we had some unusually cold weather for our area, many days never reaching above freezing.

    Although the birds and my cookie tin water heater did just fine, I froze quite a few eggs.

    My work schedule allows me only to collect at 8am and 8pm. I lost dozens due to them freezing solid.

    I have decided to heat the laying boxes.

    My plan is to use seed heat mats on the bottom of the nests, covered with a heavy paper leaf bag . I use shredded junk mail as nesting material. I have been using the leaf bags and shredded paper for many years now it works very well for my needs.

    The heat pads claim to raise the temperature 10 to 20 degrees.

    The power will come from the light timer, on at 5:30am off at 9pm, then through a thermo cube, on at 35F off at 45F.

    I would love your ideas or thoughts on this.
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,927
    9,457
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would love to hear how it works for you.

    Would you post a link to the heat pads you will be using?

    Will you post pics of the timer and thermocube set up? Won't you need to go timer then TC, timer needs power all the time.

    Do you plan on monitoring the temperatures and power usage?
    Would be curious to know how it heats the shredded paper compared to a few inches of seedling soils.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  3. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, here is the heating pad, 10"x20" 17 watts
    [​IMG]
    Here is the timer currently used for lights
    [​IMG]
    It already has 2 outlets.

    Here is the thermo cube

    [​IMG]

    The power will come from the house to light timer, on at 5:30am off at 9pm, then through a thermo cube, on at 35F off at 45F, then to the heat pads.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  4. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

  5. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have no way to monitor the power usage as it will automatically turn on and off with temperature changes.

    I will definately monitor the shredded paper and more importantly, egg temperatures, during the coldest days.

    I will be using 3 pads, 17 watts each, 51 watts in total.

    I guestimated my 38 watt water heater cost me about $8.00 max per season to operate.

    A guestimate would be the pads will use quite a bit less per season, as they will not be operational during the night, when temperatures are the coldest.

    Either way, if this works, gifting perfect eggs, is priceless...[​IMG]
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,927
    9,457
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You might want to test it out somehow so you know they aren't getting really warm, tho I guess they probably wouldn't depending on how cold the ambient temps and if the hens scratch down so the egg are touching the pad or maybe I just think too much :D

    How big are your nests? Will the pad lay flat or fold up along the sides?

    It will certainly be nice for you to come home to not frozen eggs, that is always so disappointing.
     
  7. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    3,431
    784
    306
    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Watering
    For along time I used heater tape around a bucket with chicken watering nipples. It worked excellent.It could maybe also be used for heating a nest box (never did it personally).

    [​IMG]
     
  8. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ambient temperature with the thermo cube should always be below 45F.

    Even if all shredded paper were gone, there will still be the leaf bag, several layers of thick paper, separating the egg and the pad, diffusing the heat.
    The bags are disposable. I change them out about once a year even though they might still be good.
    Every once in a while I'll get a broken egg in the nests, the bag saves me the trouble of cleaning the wooden box.

    I'm more concerned that there will not be enough heat for those days below 0 like we received last year.

    The pad is bendable and will cover the length of the box and ~ 3" to 4" up the back.
    I haven't received them yet, but if they aren't flexible, I can be in the final design.
     
  9. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I thought about that.

    The pad seems like an easier installation and better distribution of heat.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,927
    9,457
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    There ya go....can't wait to see this implemented....real curious what the temp will be, at the pad and at the egg.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by