transitioning birds from a heated to unheated coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chica-z, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. chica-z

    chica-z Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 23, 2008
    Northern WI
    I'm looking at getting some birds (full grown) from some folks who free range their chickens, but heat their coop. My coop is not heated. My girls are acclimated to it, but I'm thinking it would make theirs sick if I switched them straight to an unheated coop. The raw temp tonight is -1, by the way.

    Is there a way to transition them?? Mabey run a heat lamp and then decrease the amount of heat by moving it higher in the coop little by little? I don't want to make anyone sick (mine or theirs), so if I have to wait till spring, so be it. What think you?
  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    That is how you would have to do it, little by little. But from heated coop to -1, that is a huge difference, and I don't know if it could be done in just a few weeks. They probably do not have enough 'winter feathers'
    What is the temp they are free ranged in? How warm is the coop they keep?
  3. chica-z

    chica-z Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 23, 2008
    Northern WI
    When they are out of the coop during the day the daytime temps (highs) are 15 degrees or so- is that what you're asking?? They should be fully feathered if they are free ranging in 15 degree weather, don't 'cha think?

    I'm not sure how warm they heat the coop, but when I picked up the first bunch of girls in October they mentioned base board heaters in the coop. Whoa. Now THAT's pampering! I think I'd spend alot more time out with the girls [​IMG]
  4. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    I'd give them, at most, a little night-time heat with the heat lamp, reducing to none it over the next week or so.

    The birds "transitioned" from heat to no heat every day they left the warm coop to the un-heated great outdoors. I wouldn't worry too much about them.They're pretty rugged already.

    You are going to be isolating them from your birds for a while, aren't you? I'd be more concerned with them infecting my birds with some illness than in their acclimating to an unheated coop.

  5. chica-z

    chica-z Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 23, 2008
    Northern WI
    Ok, so I talked to the lady again and they heat their coop to about 40 degrees, plus the girls are allowed out in the day. Now with the deeper snow coming on, the girls really aren't venturing out too much, but they have the option.

    Would a heat lamp be best, or a small space heater? I'm a little worried that they'll start picking on each other too much if I leave the heat lamp on all night. Am I being too careful, or will they be fine? Should I just put them in without heat? The nights are getting down in the low single digits here.

    No I am not isolating them because in reality they are from the same brood, I just picked their sisters up a little earlier. My older hens just got eaten by the neighbors dog (grrr), so I am replacing those with more from the same seller. They shouldn't have anything that my girls don't have anyways, right?

    Any other thoughts?
  6. needmorechickens!

    needmorechickens! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2008
    West TN
    Use a red heat lamp bulb and they will not pick on each other (at least not because of the light). I think the idea you had about gradually raising it higher and higher is a good idea.
    I would think the space heater would be too dangerous with all the chicken dust and bedding out there.
    Good luck and I bet whatever you do, the chickens will be fine.
  7. chica-z

    chica-z Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 23, 2008
    Northern WI
    Will they get sick if they go from a 40 degree coop to a 0 degree one in one day? Do temp drops like that hurt them if the coop is relatively draft free?
  8. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Quote:I think it would be really hard, and you might have some losses.

    Look up about a reptile ceramic heat bulb - no light just heat - that might work for you. As you said moving it away from them slowly to reduce the warmth.

    Keep them separated from your hens till they're used to the cold and you know they're not sick with anything.
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I would put one or two 250 watt red heat lamps over an area initially of their roosts and let them find their comfort zone. See how close they get under the lamp. Also, how many birds are you getting? There is warmth in numbers. I use a red 250 watt heat lamp bulb in a brooder lamp on really cold nights when it gets below freezing. I guess I'm a softie.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008

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