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How warm for winter eggs?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by gilpinguy, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. gilpinguy

    gilpinguy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2015
    Gilpin County, Colorado
    My first flock of birds (17 females, 3 males) has just started to lay. I got 1 egg each of the last 2 nights. [​IMG]

    I've done some searching and I'm getting conflicting info on how warm the birds need to be during the winter for them to continue laying in winter.

    I've read "at least 60 degrees", "70 degrees is perfect" and even "no additional heat is fine, they'll lay when it's below zero". What is accurate?

    My birds are in an unheated insulated shed. I can get some heat in there if I have to. I'm in the mountains of Colorado and it can get WICKED cold here sometimes.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. steven29128

    steven29128 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 25, 2015
    South Carolina USA
    Our birds lay year around. We have them outside.
     
  3. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Some breeds lay in the winter others don't... Generally with the cooler weather you will have less than optimal egg production but you will still get some... And generally optimal egg production will be when they are comfortable in the 70s, I believe most commercial egg houses aim for about 74° year round but maintaining that temp in the winter in cold areas is unrealistic for the backyard producer...

    You say your coop is insulated, well they need lots of ventilation so that insulation likely isn't going to do much good...

    Generally heat is not advisable, and most will choose not to heat as the cons of heating in most cases outweigh any pros for the small coop owner... But there are instances and case when it can be beneficial if done safely and properly... Extension cords and heat lamps is not safe, if you choose to heat you need a safe and viable heating plan, and ventilation needs still needs to be addressed as well, so it's not going to be very efficient heating...

    I personally heat my coop to about 35°, and I have many reasons why it works for me... Also it's done properly, I have proper up to code electric, propane and water to my coop... I have a real house style forced air furnace in my coop, with additional filtration, I check and/or change my furnace filter daily and open up and check the furnace once a week to make sure no dust is accumulating... I adjust ventilation based on outside temps, when it's warm they get more ventilation on extreme cold nights ventilation gets reduced to some degree... But, I also don't have a small coop, my coop is bigger than many peoples houses so I can more easily play with ventilation without an immediate build up of ammonia and humidity...
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  4. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    MA
    It isn't the heat that keeps them laying, it's the length of daylight. You have young layers so I doubt you need to do anything to get them to lay reasonably well all winter.
     
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    It's not only light/dark hours, temperature factors in as well both hot and cold extremes... Many cold intolerant breeds stop or drastically slow down laying in the cold even if they get sufficient light, same with extreme heat many heat intolerant breeds will cease or slow laying when it's real hot outside, regardless of the amount of light...
     
  6. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    In that case I will clarify that in my experience I have yet to find any breed of young hen that will not lay in cold weather in my location, including some of the Mediterraneans. Older hens (over 3) are another story. Getting the eggs before they freeze is another challenge.

    But yes, my Faverolles do not like the heat. Neither do I. I need to move north.
     
  7. gilpinguy

    gilpinguy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2015
    Gilpin County, Colorado
    I should have mentioned that my birds are Coturnix. Thanks for the insight folks!
     
  8. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you heat the birds they wont be fit for the cold weather they live in. They will grow down feathers appropriate the ambient temps. If you heat them, then your power goes out, all your birds will die. Not worth the risk really. Theyll lay when its cold but youll have to keep a light on to make up a 16 hour day. Make sure theight doesnt put off heat.
     
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    I beg to differ...

    What is the ambient winter temp in any given area? Are you talking about the average winter temps? Because in the Chicago area where I live we can have 60°s or -20° depending on the day, there is no steady ambient winter temp that the birds 'adjust to' even in an unheated coop... If you average the winter highs and lows for my area (Chicago) Nov = 41° Dec = 30° Jan = 25° Feb = 27° combined for a winter average of about 31°... I heat my coop to about 35° a mere 4° over the average winter temps in my area and I personally don't believe that is going to effect winter plumage... Even birds in an unheated coop are not going to be adjusted or ready for a sudden drop to very low temps when it happens...

    Also consider that in a highly populated coop the birds themselves will raise the temp above the outside temp, this raise in temp by them naturally is in reality no different then supplemental heat of the same degree...

    There is a huge difference between heating to avoid frostbite, frozen water, frozen eggs and extreme cold stress as I do vs heating to a point where it's summer all year round...

    I hear this as the basis for no heat all the time, and every time I toss it into the argumentum ad passiones combined with false dichotomy bucket of fallacies...

    What you describe is a potential absolute worst case scenario, there are many other more likely and probable scenarios that could happen, imminent death is by far not the only outcome of a power or heat failure...

    Lets use my own heated coop as and example for that argument...

    If my power goes out that means my house would not have heat either... I have several pets inside my house that absolutely can't tolerate freezing temps (topical fish, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians) and I also have small children in the house that won't cope well... For this reason I have a backup generator to restore power to most of my house as well as to my barn and coop, and once power is restored so is the heat...

    So the 'what if the power goes out' at least for me and others that are proactive and plan ahead is not much of concern nor risk factor...
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2015
  10. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    So how do wild birds grow down feathers sufficient to survive in your constantly changing temps? Because they do. If your local birds are capable of it then birds that originated in northern china, southern russia, and the mountains of japan can surely handle it.

    Eta: I was also curious how the Canadian members are able to leave their birds in unheated coops with nothing more than plastic sheeting to block draft, and them still survive. It gets much colder in Canada than Chicago.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015

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