Keeping everyone warm

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ejnovinsky, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. ejnovinsky

    ejnovinsky Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 7, 2014
    Im not sure whether Ill need to heat my coop this winter. Ive heard arguments for both heating, and not. However we had a brutal winter here in Ohio last year, and I dont want to get caught in an emergency situation. Heres my plan. Tell me what you think. Basically I ran a cord into my coop that goes into a thermostatic switch. It switches on when the temp is below 35 and off when the temp goes over 45. It goes to a clamp on reflector mounted in the roof that will house a 125 watt heat bulb. I tried a 250 but its way way too much for this little coop. Will it be enough? i dont want to cover the windows. They need the ventilation. I was thinking of hanging plastic curtains over the windows and doorway to hold a little of the heat in but still be loose enough to vent. Opinions appreciated thanks![​IMG][/IMG][/IMG][/IMG][/IMG]
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2013
    The windows look pretty small. Chickens can build up a lot of humidity in the coop and that can be worse than cold in the winter. We are in Tn so I'm sure your winters are quite a bit colder than ours. Just make sure you get plenty of ventilation. Our chickens dealt with 20 degree weather with no ill effects as long as we kept the water from freezing. My grandfather's chickens used to love the snow and even the week old chicks would come out in it. I would not hesitate to use heat for a prolonged cold snap but I always keep the coop door and at least a window on each side open for ventilation.
  3. ejnovinsky

    ejnovinsky Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 7, 2014
    Good to know. Ive heard about issues with humidity. I try to keep alot of air flowing. We had a prolonged stretch of days last winter of below zero temps. 10 below in some cases. It was pretty bad. Those are the days I worry about. I just want the electric heat as a barrier in case things get seriously cold Im not scrambling in a blizzard or something to save my girls. I dont want electric heat running all the time though. Wasting power and creating humidity in the coop. ill leave the windows and doors uncovered then. I have barred rocks and rir's. Both are supposed to be cold hardy. This is my first winter with the chickens though, and since Ive managed so well with them to this point Id hate to lose any this winter. Thanks for the tips
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    And when you have that blizzard and the power goes out then what? The chickens will still have to deal with the cold and after they haven't acclimated to it how will they fair? They can take -10 with ventilation to keep the moisture under control.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    You need to rethink warm. Warm air holds moisture. You really don't want to heat your chicken house or trap the heat inside.

    What happens is what you trap is moisture, and moisture makes for cold chickens. Measure how far from the ceiling your roosts are, they need to be pretty close to 25 inches below the ceiling, and about 15 inches away from the wall. This allows the moisture to escape from the chicken. Their breathing produces copious amounts of moisture. If they are close to a ceiling or a wall, that moisture will not evaporate, but rather condense near the chicken making her damp.

    What you need is a shelter out of the prevailing wind, dry bedding underneath so that the poop moisture can be absorbed and dry out, space above the birds and to the sides of the birds. Cold still air is best for chickens, they will fluff up, and hold their heat next to them, like a down blanket.

    Well fed chickens that are dry the cold will not bother. Space, and dryness is what is needed, not heat. We ususally spend several weeks near -20 at night and sometimes during the day. I used to get frostbite doing like you, trying to trap the heat..... finally I caught on, I don't need more heat, I need more dry. I dropped my roosts, moved them out away from the wall and have much healthier chickens.

    Mrs K
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  6. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    What she said.
    Even -10 isn't that big of a deal. Keep them dry and well fed and they'll do the rest.

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