Temperature difference between inside and outside the coop.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SusanD, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    My Dad came up with a creative idea to heat our chicken coop this week (our morning temperatures are expected to be below freezing for about a week): He hooked up some water hose heaters to heat our coop. As far as I can tell, there is no reason why it shouldn't be safe (designed for outdoors, and they heat the coop to just above freezing).

    This does mean our chickens will be going from a 30 something degree coop to a 20 something degree run in the morning (26 outside and 36 inside this morning). Is that too much of a temperature difference? If not, I'm thinking that should work well for us as 26 is about as low as our winter temperatures get [​IMG]
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Ten degrees isn't too big of a temperature swing.
    I have a question though. Do you have young chicks in there or extremely large combed roosters that you are worried about getting frostbitten? If not, you will never need to heat. It hit -19F a couple winters ago, can regularly get below zero and I've never heated and never had any sick birds related to cold.
  3. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps


    Thanks for your reply. To answer your question, they are all 9 month old hens with small to medium sized combs. I think my Dad and I are both trying to get a sense of what their temperature tolerance is (as opposed to ours) and also, my Dad thought it would make them more comfortable (even if it's strictly not needed). As long as we are not doing any harm, I think I'm comfortable leaving it in. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    The only thing I heat are the waterers, so no ice there. The birds are fine in their coop out of the wind and weather. Mary
  5. family4god5

    family4god5 New Egg

    Nov 22, 2015
    We have chick's that are 6 weeks old. I put them out in their coup and run during the day (California ) because it is about 72-80. I want to know how soon they can stay all night in their coup? Nights are down to a low of 48. They appear to be fully feathered but not exactly sure as we are a new chicken family. Also, when it is ok to leave them overnight, do you keep food and water in their coup or just in their run? Thank you!
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Chickens don't need additional heat, especially at those temperatures, chickens are designed to stay warm a lot easier than staying cool. I would imagine providing a heat source that they can't escape from would be like standing in the house with a winter jacket on and you're not allowed to take it off. So in theory it can be stressful to provide heat.
  7. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, for the reply. What we are using is heat tape - I did look that up, and it sounds like the fire/electric shock/burn risk is less than with fire lamps, but not zero. So, given that it's not needed, I think I would be in favor of unplugging it. I will broach that with my Dad after Thanksgiving, when the temperatures go back up above freezing, if not sooner.

    As far as the chickens' comfort is concerned, I should clarify that the coop air temperature is 30 something (we have a thermometer in place) and our lows are 20 something. Please do let me know if those temperatures raise discomfort/heat stress issues that we should know about.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Nah, you don't need heat. Chickens have down coats on!
    Better to let them acclimate to the cold then try to heat them.

    Ventilation is much more important, and negates trying to heat a coop, than heat......except for water, it must be kept thawed, often using some kind of heat.

    ETA: With adequate ventilation, temps inside and outside coop should be pretty close to the same...depending on solar gain, coop may lag behind outside temps.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posters. They don't need heat anymore. I raise chicks outdoors from day one with daytime temps in the teens and twenties and don't use a heat lamp - just a heating pad and straw. They are tougher than we give them credit for. In fact, they need some cold in order to thrive, just like they need to imprint on their little brains that daytime is light and is for exploring, and nighttime is dark and for sleeping.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit when I took this photo. I always leave the pop door open during the day and let them decide what to do regardless of weather. As long as there is not snow on the ground or a strong really cold wind is not blowing, they practically always choose to go outside.

    I agree with the others, you don’t need supplemental heat, but you do need ventilation.

    Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

    , it’s normally best to start your own thread when you ask these questions. You are more likely to get an answer instead of getting lost in the thread. Welcome to the forum by the way.

    Part of the answer depends on your outside facilities. If you have good breeze protection where they are yet good ventilation, preferably higher up, you are way ahead of the game.

    I’ve had chicks less than 6 weeks old go through outside temperatures in the mid 20’s Fahrenheit with no supplemental heat. Those chicks were raised in a brooder in the coop where one end was kept warm but the rest cooled down a lot, so they were acclimated. I do think that helps. Would I put six week olds outside in those temperatures if they had only been exposed to tropical conditions? Yes I would as long as the facilities were decent.

    Some people feed and/or water in the coop, in the run, or both. There are a lot of different reasons for all of these. As long as they have access a little after they wake up it doesn’t matter. Do what is convenient for you.

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