Talk me down, folks; talk me down

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by yawningreyhound, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here are my forecast lows for the week in F:

    7, 9, -6 (yes MINUS), 2, 9

    Here are my forecast highs:

    22, 12, 16, 15

    Right now it's 17F with 54% Humidity inside the coop and 11F 83% outside.

    Those little bodies have provided 6 degrees of warmth.

    They're amazing.

    And I should just leave them alone, right?

    The ventilation is good, the coop is clean and draft free, and late afternoon everyone got a crop full of warm crumble mash with a little coconut oil with a 1/4Cup/5 hens scratch sprinkled on top.

    I'm itching to turn on the heat lamp, but with all the reading I've done about chicken keeping, they're going to be fine.

    They're going to be fine.


    Oh, and we got our 2nd egg today. UNDER the coop again. So much for my carefully planned nesting tunnel.

  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Step away from the heat lamp. They will be fine. My chickens have been surviving double-digits below zero for weeks (air temp, not windchill, and some days those were the highs). They have their own special heating systems called feathers and down. They fluff their feathers and trap the heat. Now, go have a cup of hot cocoa and think of all the eggs you'll be getting come spring. [​IMG] Oh, and:

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Stay strong! They're really better off without the heat lamp, and they don't need it. Chickens have been living in areas where it stays below freezing forever, and they do fine. I believe it makes for stronger, more hardy birds myself.

    If you need any more incentive to not heat, just read any of the multiple threads about coop fires from heat lamps. Think how devastated you would be to kill your birds while trying to help them.....and be glad you have a good coop, healthy birds, and congrats on the eggs! That right there shows you're doing something right!
  4. Bocrates

    Bocrates Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 5, 2013
    9,000ft, CO
    My Coop
    Have you tried placing fake eggs in the nesting area and making sure it is darker than other areas? It works for ours. And don't worry about those temps. They are warmer than our girls can hope for 3 months a year. No heat.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Follow the birds.. meaning if they are acting fine then they probably are. Most people don't need the lamps, unless it's extreme circumstances. My big hens have only seen a lamp as chicks never since, our weather is crazy here, polar vortexes... above freezing, well below and snow! oodles of snow.

    As for the eggs... hmm perhaps the other posters suggestion of a fake egg in the box? is the nesting area private enough? i am fortunate my girls have only laid in their coop.. now once somebody thought they were cute and laid in the duck barn(they free range) but can't say i blame them, it was the nesting area for the ducks so technically not an inappropriate place. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I think they like the individual nest boxes better, I tried a community nest (about the size of 2 nests) and they used it as one. I keep a couple golf balls in all 4 nests all the time and the 8 hens seem to mix up where they lay.

    Leave the heat lamp for baby chickies only, just pain and danger to put one up the for the big birds.

    When my day time temps are below 10 degrees, which they have been repeatedly this winter:
    -Keep liquid water available at all times, I have two waterers for each coop so I can swap them out several times a day.
    -Maybe throw some extra bedding in one corner, a few of mine seem to like nestling down in that during the day.
    -I spread some extra scratch or BOSS or wheat fodder around the coop at noon just for some extra eats and keep them busy.'
    -Scratch given out at about 3pm so they go to roost with full crops.

    I've had a couple patches of frostbite, but everyone seems to be weathering the weather just fine......even the girls less than completely done with their molts.
  7. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    EVERYONE LIVED! It only got to 15f inside the coop, 10F outside.

    Thanks for helping me keep my hands off the heat lamp switch!

    Since we could, Jim wired the coop for a couple of outlets and two light sockets (up high) so we could have heated water, illumination, and, yes, heat; but in my mind, after being educated here, that was only for when we got down to -15F again (and maybe not even then). That temp is very odd for here in Colorado, but we had several days running in December that played around that low with not much higher in the daytime.

    They all 5 must've huddled together on the top shelf above the nesting tunnel as that's where all the poop was this morning!

    They seem no worse for the wear!

    No eggs, but the two we got the past two days were daytime laid. So I'm holding out hope!

    Yeah, I'm ok with the eggs being laid under the coop, BUT it'd be nice if they'd use the inside. I'll try some golf balls and Jim offered to put up a panel for a little privacy inside as where they ARE laying outside is VERY private I feel like an Army recruit in bootcamp doing the belly shuffle under ropes to get to it!

    At their previous house, several of the birds were also laying in the little doghouse-like shelter inside the goats' enclosure next to the coop. Thank goodness the goats never got a taste for eggs! We'd find 3 and 4 in there daily. And there were 5 private nesting boxes in that coop along with a plastic box we stored wood shavings in for replenishing which was very popular for egg-laying.

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