keeping my chicks happy this winter

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by peepy_peep, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. peepy_peep

    peepy_peep Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Hi Everyone,

    My cute little chickies are 3 months old this week and doing great. We put them out in the coop when they were 6 weeks old and they have been happy and growing well.

    Since it is now regularly getting down below freezing every night here in Flagstaff, I put a heat lamp (actually just a 100-watt bulb with a reflector dish thing) out there and I leave it on all day and all night. The hen house is insulated, but there are only 2 chickies so I'm not sure if turning the light off at night is a good idea. I have peeked in on them in the evenings before and they are always right under the light.

    Is having the light on all the time bad for them? Will it effect their egg laying when they get old enough? It'll be the dead of winter when they reach laying age, and I want to do everything I can to make sure they are happy and comfortable laying eggs in the sub-zero weather.

    I feed them and water them inside the hen-house, and the water has not frozen, so I assume it'll be okay to keep doing it that way.

    Should I get a heat bulb that doesn't give off light? I'm going to the feed store this afternoon to pick up some extra hay for floor bedding, so I can pick up some other stuff while I'm there if you think it's necessary.
     
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Quote:If they are always under the light, they could be cold. Make sure you don't have any drafts. You don't say how big the area is..... you could make a small "cave" for them out of a large cardboard box or straw bales. Put a thermometer in the hen house to keep track of the internal temps this winter. Note how cold the indoor temp registers when the water starts to crystalize or freezes solid. I found the data was really helpful for our second chicken winter.
     
  3. peepy_peep

    peepy_peep Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ
    a cave might be a good idea... I put some hay in a couple of next boxes and they do not sleep in there, so maybe a larger "cave" area would entice them.

    The hen house itself it about 3 feet wide by 6 feet long, with the next boxes along the longer wall. There is a human-sized door on one end that is well-insulated with weather stripping, and a chicken-sized door at the other end (leading into the coop at ground level) that is always open. When it's really windy, it does get a little drafty inside, I hadn't thought of that... although they do sleep up off the ground on a diagonal perch. Maybe I can build a wind-break out of wood so that any draft will be angled towards the wall (away from the main area), and then move the perch/light combo to the end of the hen house opposite the chicken door. I'm planning a full hen-house clean-out this weekend, so I'll assess the situation then. Thanks for the ideas!!
     
  4. lovemychix

    lovemychix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 14, 2008
    Moulton Iowa
    I plan to make a cave with straw for my babies when they go out this winter. I like the idea because I can take it down and use the straw later. [​IMG]
     
  5. wateboe

    wateboe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Lebanon, Ohio
    We are also building a straw-bale "cave" around our roosts for the winter. Our coop is quite large (a converted brood-mare stall) with a lot of ventilation. Although the barn is quite weathertight, I think that our flock still needs a smaller enclosed space to get away from any drafts. Since we bale our own hay and straw here we have plenty of building material.

    I have read that it might be also be beneficial to add a lower ceiling as part of the process. This would keep the birds body heat in their sleeping area. Just remember to maintain good ventilation!
     

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