Ideas for Providing Supplemental Heat During Extreme Temperate Lows

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Haunted55, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last night it was forcasted to go to -12 degrees F and the winds were blowing sustained at 15-20 mph. Since I have a diverse variety of birds, peafowl, turkeys, ducks, geese, chickens both large comb and small and a silkie and showgirls, I was concerned about some of them being able to handle the temps.. All but the ducks and geese [their insulating isn't finished as of yet] are in insulated, full sized buildings. The peas and turkeys are housed in a 16'x12' building with seperate pens. The peas were the ones I was very worried about because they had already suffered frostbite with their previous owners.

    Chickenhouse [18'x16'] is easy, throw a couple of heat lamps in there at opposite corners of the building and it keeps it up above freezing fairly well. Ducks and geese have deep shavings on the floor and a heat lamp high enough up they can't reach it. Because their insulating isn't finished, this building has temps that vary greatly but there are enough of them to keep each other warm.

    My thoughts, I have read extensively on the pros and cons of heating your houses. Things like last night make me think there has to be a way that is safe, doesn't require electricity, and could be a simple build for the DIY person. I am tending towards a rocket furnace. I don't have it all worked out yet but I know this would be set up outside of the buildings with ductwork or water pipes, not sure which route to go, running to each house, the furnace itself would be bermed with dirt to provide heat mass and the heat collected either with water, for a thermo syphon system or a sand/rock filled plenum, which would give off heat for long periods that would be allowed to rise into the buildings by convection.

    Anyone else set up a system they can use during extremes? I'd be very interested in hearing about what you use!
     
  2. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Last night in Canada it was -20 with a windchill of -34 Celsius temperatures to remain this extreme for a week.. I have 6 Golden Comet hens. NO heat, NO light, NO moisture, NO PROBLEMS! Poop board 3 inches below roost to catch eggs laid in the night. I had squabs hatch end of December 2012. NO PROBLEMS there but will take action once babies get too large for parents to incubate. Temperature inside coop was -20. Hens are going on 4 years old 3 eggs a day as regular as below zero temperatures.


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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  3. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply Hokum Coco. At -20 C, that would be -4 F. My chicken house isn't the problem, there are enough warm bodies in there to keep the temps hovering near 32 F. They too have lived through lower temps but if they don't have to, why should they? My concern is the Peafowl. The people that owned them before me allowed/left them to free range last winter with no shelter. The breeding pair both have issues with having frostbite last year and it's after effects now. Their 3 offspring do not. When it's cold they are suffering, a lot and if there's a way to mitigate this I will.

    We are in for the same weather it seems, for the foreseeable future. While my houses are opened during the "warmth" of the day and I say this with tounge in cheek, they are being battend down in the afternoon until this cold spell abates.
     
  4. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    I have no experience with frostbite of any harsh degree. I did have a Delaware rooster with a few points of his comb blacken last winter but nothing mother nature could not handle on her own. Sorry I can not be of more help. I should have read you post a little more closely I did not take it all in completely originally.

    On a similar note; It is nothing to have -10 F where I live for a week or more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  5. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey! Ya done good far as I can see, lol. The only reason I knew was I suffer from the after effects of frostbite myself. It's not fun and it's been years since it happened. I hope you never see it or have to deal with it yourself. It's one of those gifts that keep on giving until the nerves can totally regenerate.
     
  6. We have a heat lamp that turns on when it gets below 35 degrees fairenhiet, and a space heater that we put in when it gets down in the single digits.
     
  7. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll still argue against any added heat source for the coop. As long as the coop is properly built and draft-free with proper ventilation it is just not needed. And you also have the issue of this....if you use added heat and the electricity goes out for a day or more your chickens WILL suffer then because they have not been allowed to acclimate to the NORMAL temps. Come on folks....understand that heat lamps and space heaters do more harm to your girls than they help! They have those wonderful down coats that will keep them perfectly warm when they cuddle up on the roost. And frostbite is not a problem if the coop is properly ventilated. So if you have frostbite you need to correct the coop issues,adding heat will NOT help that issue.
     
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  8. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As I said in my first post, I am trying to come up with something that doesn't require electricity and would only be used in extreme conditions. When you get into the minus numbers for actual temps and then add the winds, I don't care how well you've built your houses, there will always be some place air will get in. In the summer, if the temps rise above 88 degrees, I have no problems adding a fan to pull the hot air out of the building. I have never seen where anyone complained about doing this, yet as soon as adding supplemental heat is brought up....

    This thread was started with the hopes that like minded people would put forth their ideas and maybe help the rest of us, who choose to help our feathered friends in extremes. If you don't agree, that's fine, I have no problem with that at all. Please show the same respect to me and anyone else who doesn't agree with you.
     
  9. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you hook up a thermostat to run the heat lamp? Just curious as I have one wired in the chicken house but haven't used it yet. I use the gas space heater in the Peas house but can't do it with out being right there with them. They just jump and fly around too much to trust them with something like that.
     

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