Should I keep the light on?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by pappy1264, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. pappy1264

    pappy1264 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, my coop is 8x10, with 8 hens. My roofline is vented front and back (2x4's up on end, that opening is wired over to keep critters out, but let air flow through.) I have the run covered in plastic. So, today and into tonight temps are going to be -20F (that is actual temp, not counting with wind chill). I do not have a heat lamp out there but do have a regular light I turn on. What should I do? Some snow did manage to get in from the roofline. HELP. Are they going to freeze? Here is a pic of my coop, if you look at the roof you can see where the opening is. It is like that front and back.
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  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Many people keep chickens up in Alaska in uninsulated coops and no heat lamps. So if your birds have come this far with the cold, they have probably adapted to survive -20.

    HOWEVER....this being said, if this was my situation, I would probably turn on a heat lamp. You say you have a regular light. Regular lights put out very little heat. And it might just disturb them. Do you have anything in your house like a panel heater or those stand up oil filled heaters? You might run to the store and look for a quick heater. We use a Delonghi, stand up oil filled, electric heater here in the house to keep the parrots warm in their room. It really puts out the heat. I have taken it out to the greenhouse for heat when I had a temp hospital cage set up for a sick chicken last winter. You might find one of those panel heaters at a hardware store as well. I have one mounted in front of the roost bar in my coop. I have never had to use it yet, but it is there if I need it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens are not polar bears we have to keep in mind. If your birds or animals are showing signs of stress you have to do what is right in your situation. The one size fits all is a recipe for disaster.

    Take inventory on your animals daily and make daily decisions is what I do summer and winter. A heat lamp and TLC can happen not only in winter and not always due to cold.

    In Canada I am subject to -40º cold snaps. I do NOT heat my coop. Murphy's law says my birds will find out what -40 is all about when my hydro goes out. Regardless what you decide feed Extra Corn over the winter you will not be sorry.

    Or something like this may help also; You could even knit a hoodie for those extra cold days..

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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  4. hen madame

    hen madame Out Of The Brooder

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    Pappy 1264, I'm worried about my girls too! We have been experiencing sub-zero temps for the last several days. Coming up, we are going to get colder (high of -13, predicted, low in the range of -20 without wind chill).

    Here is my question, does cold have an accumulative effect on chickens, as does heat? With it being so cold over the last couple of weeks and for the foreseeable future, are my girls going to just get plain wore out trying to stay warm? This is my first year with chickens, so forgive me if my worries are unfounded. I only can keep 4 chickens here in the city, so can't image they produce enough heat together to make that much of a difference in the ambient temp. of the coop.

    I'm beginning to feel my will weaken with keeping them in their coop, and am beginning to wonder if I should set up temporary shelter in my garage. They do have a panel heater above their roost to help prevent frostbite on their combs, this brings the ambient temp. in the coop up about 10 degrees, when it's subzero that doesn't seem like a lot.
     
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  5. pappy1264

    pappy1264 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an oil filled heater, should I put that out there? I don't have any type of heater in there, and so far, they seem ok (but snow actually blew in from the roofline, so going out to put fresh shavings in and if and when the feed store opens, try to get some straw as well. I don't know what I should do!
     
  6. pappy1264

    pappy1264 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some pics I just took.[​IMG]

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    You can see some snow came in through the roof line area. Are the going to be ok w/o added heat? Should I put some type of material (say fleece or something) over the openings at the roofline to try to block some of the air? Not supposed to snow anymore, but the temps are dropping.
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    If I were you, I would block off some of that venting. Venting is needed for good moisture removal, however on a cold blowing snow driven night, some of it needs to be blocked off, especially if snow can blow in. That tells me there is too much venting. And you don't want too much air moving around them on such a cold night. You want to slow the air down. So throw towels over the hardware cloth on the inside of the coop. That is what I do with my venting on windy nights to slow the movement of air.

    As for adding heat, if it is going to be -20 tonight, adding heat for one night is not going to hurt anything. No, you would not want to continue using this heat for nights and days on end. But a tiny bit of heat for tonight is not going to hurt much. -20 is brutal. And if any of them are molting, older or weak birds, well, you know what could happen. I personally would go ahead and add the heat. I know others are going to chime in and say I am nuts, LOL, but I personally have a cut off for heat. When it gets below -10, I turn on heat. But that is just me. :)
     
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  8. pappy1264

    pappy1264 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. Will do the rolled up towels. Should I close them all off, just for tonight? I would imagine air would still exchange, just block the wind? So you think I should plug in an oil heater or should I just use their heat lamp (it has a 250 watt red bulb) near the roost?
     
  9. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Nice winter apparel do they have snow booties ??????
    Did you make them yourself ?????
     
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    I wouldn't close the vents all off. But at least some of them, especially if the wind is ripping. A lot of wind going thru a few open vents will whisk away moisture well enough.

    BUT....if you have you have a red bulb you can clamp near the roost bar, that is even better! I keep an infra-red lamp clamped about 3 feet above the roost bar. A 250 watt. It is not close enough not to heat the birds too much, but adds enough heat that they can keep a bit warmer than the coop temp. I have had good luck with this lamp at this height.

    Good luck tonight with all that cold! Brutal!
     
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