If chickens are "shivering", is it time to add a heat source?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by karmical, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    I've been reading through posts about supplemental coop heating, but none have quite hit on my situation....

    4 of my 7 girls are molting (oye!! it's 20 degrees at night!!)...bare patches and everything....it's my first experience with molting birds as they're just 18 months old. When they sit in my lap I can feel them shivering :-( Last winter, they seemed fine with the cold temps...I had hung their red brooder heat-lamp above the water to keep from freezing and it did the trick. I thought I'd do the same this year, but about 30 seconds after turning on the red light for the first time, they all started fighting! Coincidence? I'm not sure, but it's made me afraid of using the red light for warmth in there.

    My coop is big for 7 birds to begin with...12x10 and a 6' peaked roof. So....I guess what I'm wondering is if anyone has had experience with birds molting in cold winter temps (in Rochester, NY we often go down to single digits in the height of winter)...considering the molting, do I need to take measures to help keep them warm?

    Any advice would be welcome!!!

    Thanks!!!
    Tracy

    (PS - I don't feed my birds cracked corn because I believe it caused a methionine-related nutritional situation that caused a feather picking problem I had last winter...but I DO feed them sunflower seed
    hearts :)
     
  2. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Gee Whiz! No feathers? Makes you want to take up knitting chicken sweaters. I don't know what will work best but I'm sure they'd appreciate any warmth you can provide for them. Some posts have talked about a RED light being used in the coops at night. Perhaps it could provide some extra warmth and no pecking problems.
     
  3. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Thanks peeper keeper :) It was actually the red-light I tried that seemed to get them all riled up! Go figure! ...but maybe I should give one of those ceramic heat lamps (non-light emitting) a try....
     
  4. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    You're right... we all assume that the girls have full down jackets at this time, but if they're molting, then a little bit of heat seems only fair. [​IMG] Once they're laying again, though, wean them from the heat so that they don't become dependent on it. A timer with 1/2 hour increments works really well for that.
     
  5. bluebirdfarm

    bluebirdfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    you could use the light , but put a 75 wat light bulb in instead of the red light and that would help until you can get the heating element light bulb, or do you have a milk house heater ? we use them in the winter a lot cause they are fairly safe to use .
    just a sugg.
     
  6. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Good advice all around [​IMG] I hadn't thought about weaning them off the heat once they're all fully feathered again...good idea I think...best not to shock their little systems!

    I'm curious about these milkhouse heaters...I saw them mentioned in other posts, but haven't heard of them before...I'll get Googling on it [​IMG]

    (In the meanwhile, I just ordered a ceramic bulb...in "sky blue"...hoping 150 watts will give off some good heat from overhead!)

    Many thanks!
     
  7. ChickNChicken

    ChickNChicken New Egg

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Canton, Mass.
    I've been thinking of adding a radiant heater, like this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Indus-Tool-CL...f=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1227215377&sr=8-16

    The pluses are it's only 100 watts, and because it's a radiant heater it heats the chickens and objects, and not the air. So, cost effective and energy efficient.

    But, I'm debating whether I should use heating at all. I'll check out the posts you mentioned on coop heating. The coop I built is very well insulated (better than our main house!) and keeps them draft-free.

    For now, I think I'm going to keep it simple and put a 12 by 12 cobblestone garden paver I have in the oven for an hour and then wrap it in some old towels and put it under the hanging waterer to keep it from freezing tonight. (We've had two nights in a row of bone-chilling temps in Boston.) That's another form of radiant heat, minus the plug.
     
  8. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    A dry and draft free coop is all you need for the chickens. Keeping the water thawed is a whole 'nuther ball o' wax! [​IMG]
     
  9. wannahavehens

    wannahavehens Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Hemlock, New York
    Hi karmical - I'm not far from you - in Hemlock. This is my first year with chickens and my chickens aren't molting, but I'm concerned with the water freezing. I just ordered a heater base and I'll see how that works. - So cold so soon! I'm not ready for this winter! Linda
     
  10. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Hi Linda!

    We're almost neighbors! I'm just up the road in Lima!

    I'm not ready for this winter weather yet either!!! I'm still waiting for the ceramic bulb for coop heat for my molting girls, but the heated waterer I ordered just arrived the other day and is working GREAT! Last winter I was bringing fresh water down every day to replace the frozen. Not fun. I ended up getting a plastic unit that's for indoor use only. You just plug an extension cord into the base and it warms the water enough to keep from freezing. A thermostat is built in and automatic, so I'm hoping this winter will be slightly less labor intensive where the water is concerned. I know you said you ordered a heater base, but if you want to take a look at another option, check out this link...

    http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=23286&criteria=heated+waterer

    Keep warm!!!
    -Tracy
     

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