How low does it get for you to turn the heat lamp on? (If you use one)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sarahandbray, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2014
    I know this is one of those hot-button issues, but after last winter in upstate, NY, and with this being my first flock, I'm just curious as to what temperature you turn on the heat lamp in the coop? We have 31 birds in a 10'X10' retrofitted pony barn and six others (naughty hens!) in a separate smaller coop.

    Also, if you do turn the heat lamp on, is there such a thing as a thermostat/timer contraption that you could plug in? So if the temperature drops below 20 degrees, let's say, the lamp comes on?

    We have a generator, so I'm not worried about loss of power--also, we rarely lose power for long clips of time since we're next to some important public works areas.

    Thanks! Sarah
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    I guess the answer would be a temperature lower than I have ever experienced because I have never used supplemental heat in the coop - including the years of living in the cold, snowy mountains of Idaho. A draft free coop will allow the birds to provide sufficient heat in temperatures below zero.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It's not really a 'hot button' issue,
    it's just that a lot of people think they need to heat a coop when it's really best not to heat a coop.

    Ventilation and Space are both much more important to chicken health and well being.
    31 (or 37) birds in a 10 x 10 space is probably going to cause behavior and air quality problems....whether you 'heat' them or not.
     
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  4. RWD

    RWD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If your over 20 week old chickens have a place out of the wind, that is dry, and has good ventilation, you do not need supplemental heat. They are very insulated and produce body heat which is shared. More chickens are burned to death each year in coop fires, than died from cold under the above conditions.
     
  5. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Cold hardy mature chickens are good to temperatures of -30F.

    Humidity and drafts will be your biggest concern.

    As aart said, seems you have a lot of birds in a confined space.

    As to your original question, I will turn the heat lamp on if it ever gets below -30F in my coop...[​IMG]
     
  6. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, there are 9 Roos and 22 hens, 12-weeks-old, in the big coop (6' ceilings, three 10' roosts at 3 levels, 8 nesting boxes, and plenty of floor space still). 8'X12' chain link dog run, fully enclosed now with old storm windows (roof is coming soon to keep out snow). So that's almost 200sf.

    The bossy 6 girls have their own coop and run now for a total of 20'sf interior , 32' exterior (covered run). All of this is in the middle of 1600sf of 48" PoultryNet fencing, which I plan to keep as cleared as possible for the winter. They have their run of that every day, rain or shine.

    I'm whittling down my Roos, week-to-week. I think my straight-run percentage was 70/30, boys. Never again!!

    Ultimately, I'm trying to keep three Roos, thus bringing the total number of birds I'm wintering down to 31.

    Both structures are well-ventilated, lighted on a timer, safe, & toasty. Here's hoping they do well and we have a mild winter in NY!

    Thanks for the input!!!

    Sarah
     
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Which is an important point - I think a lot of people get hung up on the temperature that is showing on the thermometer outside, but the temperature inside a decent coop is considerably warmer.
     
  8. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe I'll buy a cheap thermometer to put up inside the coop for peace of mind...see how cold it is in there on most days. Do you leave the coop door open to the run/pasture daily in the winter or keep it closed?
     
  9. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    My run is as secure as my coop.

    Access is open 24/7.

    My coop also has over 15 square feet draft free ventilation for 12 birds.

    Chickens are well equipped to handle the cold, as long as their feathers don't get ruffled.
     

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