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Should I Install A Heat Lamp?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ClareScifi, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop is 4 feet by 5 feet by 6feet tall. I have a rooster who has a large comb which is looking frostbitten. It is to be about 0 to 5 degrees F the next several nights.

    I have considered installing a 125 watt heat lamp in the coop to help keep his comb warmer. I can't go any higher wattage than that for fear of popping the cicuit, and the store sells 125 watt heat lamps in clear only, not in red. The red is said to be less glaring on the chickens at night, helping them sleep better.

    I have 4 hens, and they have not laid eggs since early November, since the coop has not been lit. Would it shock the hens were I to install the heat lamp now, in the middle of winter, making them start laying? The store was out of oystershell, which they might need if they were suddenly provoked into laying by the heat light?

    I also read that making hens lay in cold climates in the winter with artificial lighting can be very taxing on their bodies and make them sick. It is thought it might be best to give them a rest during the winter months.

    I also read that an artificial light can be dangerous if it goes off in the evenings when they are trying to get on their roosts and can't see how to jump up there.

    It sounds like there are a lot of drawbacks to the bright heat lamps. What do you think? Would it protect the rooster's comb enough to justify using it for just a few days. Or could the few days trigger the hens' into a laying cycle, at which time removing the light suddenly (if it warms up), could cause the hens to have health problems?

    I do worry about fire danger, as well.

    The stores are all out of the bales of pine shavings I was hoping to put around the coop for insulation, and they don't know when more will arrive. It seems they don't keep supplies well stocked, which is quite frustrating. No oystershell, no pine shavings, no ired lights in 125 wattage. My poor chickens!
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely NOT put a heat lamp in the coop. The chickens will be fine! Lots and lots and LOTS of coop fires start that way. How would you feel if you went down to the coop the next morning and found the whole coop burnt down and no surviving chickens. It would be terrible. If your worried about them being cold, pile some more bedding in the coop and try the deep litter method if you don't already. Search coop fires on the BYC search thingy!
     
  3. chickers

    chickers Out Of The Brooder

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    Gold Country California
    Vaseline on your rooster's comb should help protect it from frostbite.
     
  4. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agre with chickers...
     
  5. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I forgot to add a detail. My rooster is a very mean boy,raised by hand. He'd kill me if I tried to put Vaseline on his comb. He has a very sharp beak. I'd have to wear heavy gloves and eye goggles, and I still don't think he would cooperate. It would be hard to smear it on his comb with heavy gloves? I can't hold him. He's very feisty. Don't get me wrong, I love him, and I would if I could, but I can't.

    And I can't get in the coop to clean it while he's in there. He'd peck me apart. I have to put him out in the icy run while I work in the coop, and I'm not sure it's worth scooping poop if he's going to get frostbite while waiting for me to finish that task?

    I'm thinking of just letting the poop go while it's so icy cold these next few nights? If I go in through the coop door, I'll have to disturb the drifted snow which is providing a nice insulation. I think the extra warmth from the snow may be more valuable during this extra cold spell than a clean coop?

    What do you think?
     
  6. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I agree. The deep litter method is when you DON'T clean the coop during the winter, and just pile new bedding over old bedding. The old bedding starts composting which makes heat. Could you try that? I definately get it about your rooster!!!
     
  7. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The deep litter method works for part of the coop, yes, but I can't get to their nesting shelf where the poop accumulates every night and freezes. I'd have to crawl into the coop through a small side exit, and the rooster would get me... There is no other access around him, unless I move the nice insulating snow that is covering the main entry, and that will make it much colder in there. I wanted to buy bales of pine shavings to put around that entrance, but all the stores in my area are out of them at present.

    Will it hurt them to sleep on their old poop for several days?
     
  8. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can sprinkle new litter near the small side door at night, when the rooster is on his roost, safely away from me, but there's no way I can get to that roosting shelf that needs poop cleaning without risking my life.
     
  9. SarahJaneB

    SarahJaneB Chillin' With My Peeps

    If at all possible when you catch him, hold him by the feet and flip him upside down wait for him to relax and the flapping stops and he'll be easy to handle. I don't think it's recommended to do it for to long because i think it interrupts their breathing patterns and will cause them to go to sleep eventually or pass out. But it would be quick and easy to apply it to his comb then. Also if you do this I don't recommend dropping, if we have to do this we gently hold the breast and slowly rotate them up and gently set them on their feet. If you feel that's a little wrong or don't want to try it, if you catch him you can tuck his head under his wing to calm him down if at all possible although this doesn't help you to put the vaseline on him hmm [​IMG]. One of our roosters started attacking us and the boys. After a pretty mean attack to me one day i grabbed him by the feet and took him to the house to see if anyone wanted chicken for dinner but after bringing him right side up and holding him and carrying him around the house then i realized that he was really calm in my hands so we delayed dinner and I'm going to try and hold him and give him treats everyday now to try and calm him down around us. He's stays calm if he's held now and it's still a work in progress. Our chickens are for meat and eggs so i'm sure he'll end up on the table eventually.
     
  10. SarahJaneB

    SarahJaneB Chillin' With My Peeps

    I thought I needed a heatlamp and put one up but from the folks here at byc I was reminded how cold hardy they are [​IMG] I think I left it on for a couple of nights but it didn't make a big temp difference so I stopped turning it on. I'll be taking it down soon for a brooder though, have eggs in the incubator.
     

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