Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by billybigrig, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. billybigrig

    billybigrig Hatching

    Nov 28, 2014
    I have a coop with 19 hens and 1 roo. I was looking for advice on whether or not to give artificial light to my girls during winter. I am currently using a red heat lamp at night. Is this a good idea? How cold would it have to get to where I should use heat? Thank you
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    So glad you could join our community!

    Some birds will lay all through out the winter, others will slow down and some can stop all together. So it depends on the breed. To keep them laying, they will need about 14 hours of daylight. So you would turn the light on about 2 hours before sun up and then turn it on again 2 hours after sun down, but NEVER leave it on 24/7. Always give them at least 8 full hours of complete darkness to keep the alive and healthy.

    Turn off your heat lamp. Not only do these birds need to sleep, but they do not need heat unless your temps are in the minus zeros or more. Chickens come equipped with insulating feathers and can withstand the most brutal of temps if they have time to acclimate to the cold. There are members here in Alaska that keep their birds in uninsulated coops with no heat when temps are -40 degrees Fahrenheit. So if your over night low is going to be 30 or more degrees colder than your AVERAGE over night low, then you might turn on a lamp for them. You are not trying to heat the coop, but warm up their bubble of air around them. You can turn off the lamp when the temps return to your average over night low. And always permanently attach the heat lamp to the wall or ceiling and never rely on the clamp. They can fall and start a fire.

    To keep birds warm in the coop at night, make sure to have adequate ventilation in your ceiling or eaves. about 1 square foot per bird. Venting on two opposing sides, one higher than the other. All the moisture from the pooping and the breathing needs to go somewhere and if it has no place to go, it falls back down on the birds as water or frost really chilling the birds. Keep the roost bar low to the floor so there is plenty of space between the ventilation and the birds. They will be sleeping in quiet air close to the floor as all the moisture rises and goes out the roof. Never close off all of your venting no matter how cold it gets. You can close off some of the lower venting during a windy night to control the movement of air, but always always always leave enough venting open to keep the birds dry which will keep them warm. You can also tack an old towel onto the roost bar to keep the feet warm. They lose heat through the feet. So warm feet mean warmer birds. And use a 2x4 with the 4 side up so they can tuck their feet under their breast feathers and keep them warm.

    Good luck this winter with staying warm! Your birds will do fine in the cold. Let them out during the cold winter days if they wish. They will be so much more healthy if you let the acclimate to the cold and get out during the winter. Shovel the snowy paths for them if they wish to venture out into the snow.

    Welcome to our flock!
    5 people like this.
  3. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us.

    TwoCrows has given you great advice.
  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC![​IMG] We're glad to have you.

    X2 on TwoCrow's advice.
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    Two Crows gave you some good advice.
  6. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC!
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. TwoCrows has given you some great advice. I've never used either supplemental lighting or heating even where winter temperatures dropped as low as 30 F below zero. The laying will drop off somewhat (more with some breeds than with others), but their laying lives will be extended by the slowing of their laying. Just make sure that your coop is well ventilated, but draft free and dry. Feathers are wonderful insulators and moisture is a much greater enemy than cold. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your flock.
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to the BYC flock
  10. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!

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