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How do you heat the laying boxes?

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

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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  2. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    1 person likes this.
  3. Brennigan

    Brennigan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my first winter, so I haven't experienced frozen eggs. Do they crack or are there visible signs? Mine are always cold (its around 30* in the coop), but they seem normal otherwise.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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  5. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    They can freeze in the egg without cracking.

    When they fully freeze, they will crack open, these are exposed to the environment and questionable.
     
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  6. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Update!

    Last night the temps dropped to 30F in the coop (thermometer that offers 24 hour high and low temperatures, and humidity %).

    By 9am (It's a Saturday and I'm not going out early) I'm in the coop and the thermo cube powering the nest boxes is lit.

    Ambient temperature (pitchfork on wall) reads 34.1F infrared thermometer, wall thermometer 34F.

    Nest box 1 with 2 ceramic eggs, 53.3F.

    Nest box 2 with 2 ceramic eggs and 4 real eggs, 53.5F

    Nest box 3 with 2 ceramic eggs, 3 real eggs, and 1 angry chicken, 98.9F.


    This Tuesday, we are predicting a high of 33F with a low of 22F.

    As my birds can start laying as early as 5:30am, I have to consider night time lows as a freezing threat.

    I will be taking temps at 8am and 8-9pm.


    I made an interesting observation I thought I would share.

    The outer layer feathers of an angry chicken in 34F ambient temperatures were within 1 tenth of a degree of the ambient temperature.

    The inner layers were very close to 100 degrees, 66 degrees warmer.

    Nice jacket!! [​IMG]
     
    3 people like this.
  7. GNRMorgans

    GNRMorgans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have a heated coop or nest boxes - but the boxes are completely inside the coop. It's been getting down to -14*C here (8*F). So far, the eggs have not frozen. It's our first winter with the chooks - so I'm curious as to what will happen as we go along. Thanks for this thread, it's very interesting and I'm planning some possible improvements for our coop. My DH may not be impressed! lol!
     
  8. Cluckies

    Cluckies Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    It has been less than 25 degrees here almost all week during the day, single digits to negative digits during the night, I haven't had a frozen egg yet. I work all day so can't gather eggs till about 4:00 pm, so hmmm. Mine are insulated and the hens tend to use the same box. maybe they are just keeping the eggs warm all day long taking turns in the nesting box? lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  9. Brennigan

    Brennigan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the nesting boxes are heated, will the hens stay in them all day? Has anyone had that happen? Do you unplug them at night?
     
  10. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    A hen will heat the box naturally when sitting, so eggs can stay unfrozen even when temperatures are way below freezing.

    My issues occurred last year when daytime temperatures never exceeded 20F in the coop.

    Mind you my coop is VERY well ventilated, and not insulated, other than against drafts.

    Eggs gathered in the evening hours, after I arrived home from work, were frozen solid and noticeably cracked.

    Dozens fed back to the flock.

    My girls wake up at 5:30am.

    My gatherings are at 8am and 8pm, due to my work schedule.

    Also, eggs froze in the shell uncracked, unnoticed, ...usable but runny yolks.

    Try explaining that to folks accustomed to store bought eggs...[​IMG]

    This is the main reason for the heated nest boxes.

    As stated, this is my hobby, and I gift 90% of my eggs to family and friends.



    Update:

    I am getting consistent readings from the heated box of 19F degrees above ambient coop temperatures.

    Still waiting for some real cold weather.
     

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