Min/Max thermometers.....ongoing seasonal results

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gabby3535, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. gabby3535

    gabby3535 Songster

    This will be my first winter with chickens!
    I took the advice of, I believe it was, PandaChicken, about getting the Min/Max thermometers........to help set my mind at ease!!

    Just installed them today........one on the outside of my coop, and the other at roost level, inside the coop.
    I have a 6' x 6' Amish-built coop, which has, I believe, plenty of ventilation......and which is moderately insulated
    with sheet styrofoam, covered with "luann" type panels (for ease of cleaning!) on the walls.
    I have only 8 chickens............and plan on providing no supplemental heat, unless it is absolutely frigid/below zero/etc.
    I am hoping the moderate insulation/good ventilation, plus the heat the chickens produce themselves, will be sufficient to keep
    the girls health, happy, and comfortable!!

    Coop exterior.........[​IMG]
    Coop interior, showing luann stuff over styrofoam.............[​IMG]

    We're supposed to get a light frost tonight here in northwest New Jersey, and
    I am anxious to check out the lowest recorded temps tomorrow..........both outside and inside where the chickies are!
    I believe the results will make me feel better on those cold nights, when I'll be imagining how cold the girls might be .....only
    to find the outside the coop/inside the coop temps to be much different!

    Thanks for the great advice, PandaChicken!!

    I can report the results now and then throughout the season, if anyone would be interested................as I know the comfort of our chickens is
    a concern for many of us.
  2. dftkarin

    dftkarin Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    where do you get a thermometer like that and are they expensive?
  3. gabby3535

    gabby3535 Songster

    Mine are not 'digital' thermometers, which can, I understand, have their batteries adversely effected by the cold.
    They are good old-fashioned 'mercury' thermometers.
    They cost $17 each..........and I found them on-line, at www.SperScientific.com
    (If you go to Sper's website.....it will say something like "Site under Construction"..........just click on "Product Brochures" anyway, then click on
    Page 3, then "Min-Max Thermometers"..........then "Temp/RH/Weather")
    I'm sure there are other sites on-line, as well...............
    I could not find what I wanted at my local hardware store, Agway or TSC..........
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Pretty much anywhere that sells thermometers will have max-min types (walmart, hardware stores, farm store, etc), although if you live somewhere that gets to 0 F or below on a regular basis, it may be worth hunting for somewhere that still stocks the old-style mechanical ones, alcohol-filled or dial-type with a little marker that gets left at the highest and lowest temps reached since it was reset. (The advantage of mechanical ones is that the digital ones' AA batteries tend to poop out in real cold).

    You can get cheap digital (battery-powered) ones for like $5-10 and up, the mechanical ones are more like $20ish and up when you find them.

    Put at roost level, or wherever in the coop you wanna know what the temps are, and remember to reset regularly if you care about learning about daily temperature patterns. Very educational [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Or for the really obsessive compulsive, you can put up a wireless remote thermometer so you can wake up in the night, roll over, and check to see what the temp is inside your coop. Not that I've been doing that...not more than a couple of times a night, anyway.
  6. [​IMG]

    This is my favorite min/max thermometer; it's a no-brainer, easy to read from a distance, and doesn't contain mercury


    My coop is only 6x8 with a 6' ceiling, I have 30 hens, and it has gotten down to 34 degrees here in Dallas, when the temp overnight fell into the mid-20s. I'm not sure 8 girls can heat up that big of a place. After much consideration, I've decided that 34 is fine, but I don't want the coop to go much below that (don't want injured combs)

    I've been thinking of getting one of these and putting it along the wall behind the roost, just to see if it makes a difference in the whole coop or maybe just would heat up that one little spot.

  7. gabby3535

    gabby3535 Songster

    Following the 'rule of 4' calculations.........a 6 x 8 coop should be 'comfortable', square foot-wise, for 12 large chickens.
    Mine have a little more than 4 sq. feet per bird (6 x 6 divided by 4 = 9 birds.......and I have 8)
    Don't know if my girls will actually be able to 'heat up the space'.....but they have nice wide roosts, so they can hunker down
    to keep their feet warm.......and they 'can' huddle together for more warmth.
    I'd rather err on the side of 'more' room than 'less'........and 'supplement' heat if really needed.......than over crowd them.
    Perhaps things are different down in Tx................
  8. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I've had a digital thermometer inside my coop for the last year. It has a remote master display that I leave in the kitchen. I check it throughout the day all winter long. As far as batteries failing in the cold, which is true - I use lithium batteries and have had zero problems. I can put sensors in different locations to see the difference in temps so I always check the outdoor ambient temp vs. the coop interior temp. It tells me humidity levels, too. It's a fun toy here in "winterland" but I feel that it's a good idea to know exactly what's going on inside the coop and that includes the temperature in the wintertime.

    Last winter, my coop got as cold as -5F, but tended to range around 10F (both temps were while using the ceramic heat bulb). That is the temp at the roost, by the bulb. The rest of the coop does not get heated, and it tends to be around 0F. The coop is nice and dry with good ventilation (Thanks Pat) and I had no frostbite issues last year.

    Mine is made by Oregon Scientific and I bought the in-home master display and two exterior sensors on ebay for around $75.
  9. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:Yes, I'm in Dallas and have been thinking about supplemental heating options, too. Those same panels have gotten some negative reviews at Amazon:


    What I'm thinking of using is just a simple clamp lamp with a red heat bulb (from reptile supplies at a pet store). I'm planning on putting it over one end of my roost, so my chickens can huddle under it, or if they get too warm, move over to the other end of the roost. My coop is much smaller than yours, though, so I'm only thinking of using a low watt bulb, maybe 40 watts to begin with, maybe 75 watts, tops.

    If your chickens are standard sized, your chickens will probably do fine without additional heat just as long as your coop has adequate ventilation. My "poultry enabler" here (the friend who gave me my chickens) has kept chickens in Dallas for many years without additional heating and has never lost birds or had problems with frostbite. He uses open sided coops, too, covering the sides with plastic tarp for the winter.

    I'm only fretting about my chickens this winter because they're Serama hybrids, and Seramas are not a cold hardy breed. And it's my first winter with them...
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:This is a really common fallacy. You do not NEED your chickens to heat up a large coop. If you want them to have somewhere warm to roost, build something *around the roost* to hold their body heat in - drop ceiling, insulated hover, 'roost box', what LynneP calls a 'huddle box', whatever, anything of that type -- then they still ALSO have the whole rest of the coop to play in, which they will. No such thing as too large a coop, not even (one might say 'especially not') in cold climates.

    After much consideration, I've decided that 34 is fine, but I don't want the coop to go much below that (don't want injured combs)

    That is waaaaaay warmer than the chickens need, unless you live in a rainforest-like climate where it is always like 90% humidity. Chicken combs are not like an icecube tray that you fill with water and when the temp drops to freezing they start turning to ice. Chickens are *internally heated to 100 F*; so are their combs. They can go *way* colder than freezing and be perfectly 100% fine, assuming a healthy chicken in draft-free dryish air. People who are getting frostbite at temps not far below freezing are generally having it happen because of a humid coop, sometimes added to by drafts and/or a breed inappropriate for the local climate. If you are doing things right, though, there is really truly absolutely no reason whatsoever to be trying to keep the coop above freezing!

    Good lcuk, have fun,


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