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to heat or not to heat

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MadChicken98, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. MadChicken98

    MadChicken98 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 23, 2012
    I'm new to chickens this year so this will be my first winter with them. They are only about 5 months old, I know they are growing and will be bigger by the time the snow starts falling but I'm still worried if they will be warm enough. I have 7 chickens in about 40 square feet of coop. should I be concerned?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Welcome to BYC!!!

    Sort of a huge difference between being in Alaska or northern Alberta and being in relatively balmy North Carolina. Knowing where you are would be most beneficial in providing a basis for answering. All I can tell you is that our chicken barn has wide open ventilation, a very important thing, I do not heat, as there is no practical or economical way to do so in such a building. We've never "heated", as my father, nor my grandmother before me did either.

    We only keep cold hearty breeds, no exotics or bantams and our birds do just fine in our severe winters. No problems. Remember the chicks sleeps covering their bare feet and are covered by nature in a thick down coat. Is -25F cold? Oh my yes. They don't "like" it, but they do just fine. Again, welcome to BYC.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  3. MadChicken98

    MadChicken98 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the welcome[​IMG]. I live in new england. One of my birds is a campine bantam, I've read that they can get frostbitten easily. I'm most worried about him but the others i think will survive. I was thinking of plugging in a heat lamp(like for brooding) in at night just for him(the campine). thanks so much for helping!
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    More chickens die, unfortunately, because of fires than ever die because of cold. Just sayin'. Be very, very careful. Look into the ceramic heat emitters if you feel you must provide some warmth. Also, recommend not doing so until or unless the temps go to zero or below. You want them acclimated to normal winter. They'll adjust their feathers and they toughen up. If you condition them to a certain temperature point, and then, for whatever reason, the power goes out or the bulb or emitter quits? They would have a very difficult time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  5. MadChicken98

    MadChicken98 Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok thank you for all the help[​IMG] haha I like the smiley faces this website has.
     
  6. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    Last year was my first year with chickens also. I opted for chickens that are cold hardy. I thought too to add heat, but after so much advice against it, thats what I did. I did not lose a single bird to cold, had no frost bite because I had good ventilation to let out the moisture, which is where the frost bite comes in, not enough ventilation, to much moisture. Good ventilation, and no drafts. I even had hens hatch out chicks in the coop in January and February. I did use 75 watt red lights when the chicks came though. I used it to keep the water from freezing in their waterer since they were sectioned off from everyone else.

    If you do choose to heat, be sure that you have alternative power sources (small generator) and you secure your heat lamps or ceramic heaters in more than one way. Be very anal about it. If it looks like you are going over board on securing the heat source from falling, or being tipped, you are not. Keep all shavings/straw away from it. If your power goes out, you have got to have a back up to put to work immediately.

    Welcome to BYC. Hope you use the site to your advantage. Lots of great information here.
     
  7. dmiller415

    dmiller415 Just Hatched

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    I just read "To heat or not to heat". I also had some of the same concerns since I have just started raising chickens and this will be my first winter with them in Southeast Idaho. I feel so much better reading all the comments about not heating the shed/coop. I do need to make more ventilation, but everything everyone wrote made perfect sense and made me feel so much better. I was feeling a little guilty about not putting in a heat lamp. I have 3 hens and 3 pullets and will be moving them to a 10 ft by 7 ft shed which has insulation in the walls but not the ceiling. I am going to purchase some metal vents and place them on two of the walls.
    Thank you for all your helpful hints!
     

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