Red party bulbs and food in the coop?

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

  1. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    So I have 2 questions....

    We are in the process of winterizing our coops...this is the 1st winter we will have our chickens. It got down to slightly below freezing last night and they are not acting cold this morning, phew ( I was worried). I have read about putting lights in the coop for warmth..I am not interested in increasing the light for laying..I just want a light for warmth. So...I read on here that a regular light bulb is enough to keep them warm cause we don't really want the electric consumption that a heat bulb will give us. our coops are approx 5' X 5' and house 6 full size RSL's in one coop and 6 smaller chickens (phoenix, bantam and some young RSL's). Can I get a red party light..will that be sufficient for heat? I plan to leave the light on all night for them and turn it off during the day when it is warmer.

    I live in NY where a typical winter day is 20-30 degrees F and 10-15 degrees at night..the occasional cold weeks it might get to 0 at night and 15 in the day. I use pine shavings in the coops and my coops are plywood and raised off the ground (which we are planning to run plywood around 3 of the sides so that they can get under the coops and huddle when cold)


    I see that a lot of people put food and water in the chickens don't seem to eat or drink at night when they are roosting and come out 1st light to eat and drink. Should I put food and water in the coops for night time? Does it change in the winter..will they suddenly start eating and drinking at night? Seems like the only thing that happens when I put food and water in the coop is the food get spilled and the water gets dirty. what do ya think?

    And yes...I have 2 coops cause I couldn't get the resident RSL's to be nice to the new flock! Someday I will have to master the skill of introducing new chicken family members!
  2. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I feed only inside because I do not want other birds dropping in for a free meal and leaving behind their diseases/lice, etc. I use a piece of pvc house gutter with two end caps as a trough. Is rests on a shelf so that it tops out at 8" above floor. Shelf is made so that it cannot be removed except by lifting front (closest) edge first then sliding towards me. I did same for water and it works good, but litter gets into it. I have to clean it twice a week. I put a flap made of vinyl siding above both troughs which sit side-by-side. I then put a 2x2 under the bottom edge of that to make it where it overhangs about half of the 4" width of each trough. No roosting or pooping in them that way. I do use water bowls outside too, but never any feed. I do cut up garden scraps outside and also toss things like pepper plant limbs in for them to eat the leaves. They love those. Strawberry cuttings too. kBut no store-bought feed outside ever. And no spilling inside ever either with my home made troughs.
  3. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    Quote:I feed outside in the covered runs, so no birds of any sort (esp. hawks) will get into the runs. Being that I already have feeders I am not really interested in building another two. I have seen pictures of this pvc feeder...very nice and ingenious! If I decide I need to put food in the coops that would be ideal.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Do you have a max-min thermometer in your coop? If not, get one. You will discover two things. One, your coop stays warmer than the outdoor air (in terms of nightly lows); and two, when people say that chickens are plenty cold-hardy, we *are not kidding* LOL

    Below freezing is *nuffin* for a chicken in dry draft-free air.

    I live in NY where a typical winter day is 20-30 degrees F and 10-15 degrees at night..the occasional cold weeks it might get to 0 at night and 15 in the day.

    Unless you have some serious design or management flaw in your coops, you are unlikely ever to need heat. At most maybe a few days/weeks per year if a bird is already in a weakened state from some other reason. So while it is never a bad idea to have a fixture already ready to go in case you DO someday want to add heat, it is really not something that will need (nor *should*) be a regular feature.

    As far as food/water in vs out, it is complex and depends on lots of things. If your coop is tiny and you always let the birds out at dawn and don't close them in til sunset, it is often useful to have food/water outside. Although remember it will take more electricity to keep your water liquid outdoors than indoors (are you planning on running a heated base, or will you just bring fresh water once or twice a day?). But if they will EVER be stuck in there for a while during daylight hours it is a good idea to have the food and water indoors if at all possible. Often relocating them (to a different part of the coop, and/or setting them higher, no lower than the level of the hens' backs) will fix a lot of spillage and contamination problems. There are a complex pros and cons to the whole in/out thing, though, so you just have to pick what works best for your particular situation.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think it would be far cheaper to insulate the coops and sheathe the insulation than to add heat.
    Layers need water at all times, it's worth figuring how to provide it. Apple cider vinegar lowers the freezing temp of water slightly so is worth a try.
  6. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    I have brought food and water in the coop in times where we needed to keep them in for a few hours during the day, but that is soooo rare. I do have a few flaws in the coop (areas where the wood has gaps, but we were gonna put some foam insulation in there and that will cover the gaps. It is draft free ( I have closed myself inside to check). Lucky for me the temps will be warmer the next few days so I have lots of time to figure it out.

    I will have to put water in the coops I guess...think a small quail waterer would be sufficient? (I attend to changing the h20 every morning)
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Give your flock a late afternoon treat (scratch or whatever) so that they go to roost at night with bulging crops. Then they'll make their own heat in their cozy, draft free coop.

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