The real Frozen North

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by AKBIRDMAN, Dec 12, 2008.



    Apr 21, 2008
    North Pole- Proper
    I've been reading and reading about freezing temps and keeping water thawed. I fought it and fought it but the only thing I could really come up with is keeping the Coop up to temp. I live in North Pole Alaska (yes there is a real North Pole) and our winter time temps seldom ever get above 0 usually an average temp of -5 (yes thats below zero).
    I have to run 2 heat lamps in my super insulated coop. The coldest its been this year is -35 and the water stayed thawed. The lights keep the coop temp about 40 above.

    My questions are this:

    Will running a light 24/7 start to effect the chickens? So far production has been normal.

    What is too cold for the chickens?

    Thanks For the help.
  2. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Please do not end up losing most of your flock by not educating yourself on the lighting issue. Please read post number 24 on the link below:
    If you go up to right hand corner here and type in internal laying and do a bit of research then you can come to your own conclusion (sorry the spelling doesn't look right)on whether to keep those lights on. You might try doing a search on heat lamps in the coop also. We have lots of members from Alaska with tons of info on heating the coops.
    Above all.................. WELCOME TO BYC!! So glad to have you and hope you keep warm all winter!!
  3. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use those oil filled/sealed electric heaters that look like the old fashioned steam heaters. I have the heat lamps very low and directly above the water container, placed so the roosts and nest boxes are darkened and manually turn off and on the lights while turning up the heaters for bedtime- gives me a chance every time I go to the coop for feeding, watering and collecting eggs along w/the bedtime/morning to lessen chances of eggs freezing and to take a good look at the health and signs of problems of each bird.
    I'm in the Bering Sea area;)
  4. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    We used supplemental heat lamps last year in our coop. We used 2 and had them on timers a white one turned on in the morning and in the evening when it turned off a red one turned on. they were set to have a little over lap.
    This year we are only using heat trace cables in one coop and a heated water can base in another cause they draw less electricity.

    P.S. I passed through North Pole last week on my way out to Tok! Were down on the Kenai Peninsula.
  5. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:You know, have one of these in my office at work, and I have to say I think it heats a space more "fully" than an electric coil type that just gets red.

  6. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can also get heat lamps that don't give off light, they have them for reptiles, they are expensive though.

    For the waterers I have base heaters, but they don't work with a full 3 gallon waterer when it get into low teens/single digits. I get around that by only putting a gallon in at a time, it's inconvenient but better then changing waterers twice a day.

    I also have 1 gal. waterers on the roosts, which are flat and wide, not poles.
  7. luvmygirlsinAK

    luvmygirlsinAK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Pole, Ak
    Quote:Another "frozen chosen" chicken lover! Welcome![​IMG] I also have chosen to use an electric oil filled radiator style heater in my coop. Although we have to keep our coop at higher temperatures than most people because we also have Doves in the coop. It seems to work great. We have it plugged into a thermostat that is hooked up to the electric outlet that the heater is plugged in to, as we couldn't seem to get a consistant heat without the thermostat, with the varying temperatures here. You can find one right now for $37.00 at Lowe's, and we found the thermostat at Sentry Hardware in the Gavora Mall, in the basement under Frontier Outfitters. It was $15.00.

    I have read that keeping a light on all night will keep the chickens up all night unless it is a red light, which causes them to be cranky without their beauty sleep. [​IMG] I know that since we added a red light in our coop along with the florescent lights, that our chickens seem much calmer and peaceful. [​IMG] We use a timer for the lights, keeping them on for 14 hours a day since we are down to very little daylight right now. [​IMG] (Apparently, the red light at night has not given problems with egg laying, according to another BYC member.)

    Not sure what too cold is for the chickens here, but I made my decision to heat based on several factors besides the doves. Since I was born and raised here, I have seen the temperatures drop 80 degrees in 24 hours, which would not give the girls time to acclimate and grow very many down feathers to keep themselves warm in, and also because I've seen it get 80 below zero F. here more than once. We also live in a little pocket that when It gets cold, we seem to be about 10 degrees colder than many in the North Pole area. On the upside, it tends to be a little warmer in the summer months in our little pocket! [​IMG] Just so that you know, there is another chicken farmer with lots of chickens in North Pole who doesn't heat his coop at all, however, from what I understand, he keeps them in a building with all of his other animals, which causes the bldg. to stay at 50 degrees. Hope this was helpful. [​IMG]
  8. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    My friend who lives about 4-5 miles out of town keeps her hens in half of her barn that houses her only remaining sheep, no other heat, no electricity. The water freezes but the air temp inside feels okay to me. She's got an Araucana, two RIR's (those from me) and one very old RIR hen. She had two sheep but her border collies killed one. Hens are not laying now, taking a winter rest.
  9. Leslie In North Pole

    Leslie In North Pole Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2007
    North Pole, AK
    Quote:I also live in North Pole, AK.

    I don't use any heat lamps in my coops. I have relied on keeping the coop well insulated, with regular cleanings, deep shavings and lots of birds. The only times I have used a heat lamp in the winter on my cornish cross birds that were living in a truck topper with no insulation. When we eventually get a breeding coop going, we are going to supplement with wood heat, as the birds will be living in several breeding pens.

    When I researched the heat needs of chickens in the past, I came acrossed a mention that a full grown cornish can put out 50btu's of heat energy an hour, it makes for an amazing amount of heat when you add what a bird like a turkey can put out.

    I actually don't have any lights on my birds now. I am planning on starting them up in the next week or so, which should bring my birds back into laying again, but they will be compact flourescents, not heat lights.

    When the temp is -5 or greater, I even open their little door so that they can go out if they choose. I find that geese, ducks, and turkeys will go out to -10. Chickens like it to be greater than +10 and surprisingly my muscovies and guineas will go out until 0. I have also found that it is the snow the chickens don't like, more than the cold.

    As to keeping the water thawed, in my large coop, I never have the water freeze as long as it isn't right next to the door. The hens actually bury the door with wood shavings if the temp drops fast.

    In the smaller coop where I house the geese, standard ducks, and a couple of turkeys, the water does freeze. To combat this, we just change the water out a couple of times a day.
  10. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Leslie In North Pole wrote: . . . I came acrossed a mention that a full grown cornish can put out 50btu's of heat energy an hour . . . .

    That makes so much sense! In a newspaper article, I read that a chicken produces 5 BTU's per hour and just flat couldn't believe it.
    I think the reporter got it wrong and it may have been 5 BTU's per hour per pound of chicken . . . or something [​IMG].

    A new standard: 1 Cornish = 50 BTU's/hour [​IMG]! Obviously, it depends on the size of the birds and how much they are eating.

    To get an idea what the equivalent would be with electric heating (like a heat lamp) - - from watts to BTU's per hour multiply by 3.41. (To convert from BTU's per hour to watts, multiply by 0.293)

    So, a 200 watt heat lamp would produce 682 BTU's. At 50 BTU's per Cornish, that's roughly equal to 14 Cornish.

    I enjoy reading about raising chickens in the Far North even if my 48° northern latitude is a long way from North Pole. But, I won't be moving any farther north! Nope! This is it [​IMG]!


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