Used a baby monitor and light for first night in the coop....aghhhh!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Carrie Lynn, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Songster

    Aug 30, 2010
    S.E. Michigan
    My pullets and young Bantam hen spent their first night in the coop....I was a nervous wreck.
    Worried that it would be too cold for them (low 20's), and they weren't well enough acclimated to low temps, I put in a 100 watt light.
    The baby monitor was going to help me get thru the night. I've seen coons and possums in recent weeks so I thought I'd hear them if there was something trying to get them.

    What a miserable evening I had! The banty could not settle down, too much light, she was used to being in the cozy garage when it's dark.
    She never shut-up! Beep, beep, beep-beep, beep...on and on for 2hrs. straight. She was constantly scratching and throwing wood chips.
    She harrassed the 2 standard pullets, who I think just wanted to settle in. She was so excited/driven/spastic that she upset them and they strarted squabbling. All this coming loud and clear thru the monitor. I thought I'd go nuts...I turned off the light, worrying it wouldn't stay warm enough, but they had to settle before something awful happened.
    I gave them a night light (they're used to it) and left them. In less than 10 min. time they had settle down and made their going to roost sounds. That was it, after 2-3 hours of noise, frantic scratching, and arguments. I couldn't believe it. I didn't hear a peep out of them during the night.

    There was ice in the waterer this a.m. but not frozen solid, even so, I felt so badly. I plan to buy a red party light bulb for a little warmth if needed tonight. Man, what a crazy, disturbing, worriesome experience.
    Anyone else use lights for warmth? What has your experience been?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

  2. ChickieBonBon

    ChickieBonBon In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2010
    Inver Grove Heights, MN
    You sound like a great chicken mom [​IMG]
    This is our first winter with chickens and we living in MN so it is very cold here during the winter. In many of the posts that I read, people said that you didn't need to use a heat source as long as the coop is dry and not drafty. After holding out and feeling bad for the poor chickens in this weather, I put up a red heat lamp in the coop and also ended up buying a water heater. I must say that the chickens seem much happier, more active, I am getting TONS of eggs (well as many as you can get from 5 hens!), and I can sleep at night knowing that their combs won't freeze and fall off. [​IMG] Lots of people also suggest giving them warm food so I have tried that too on the really cold days. I don't think you will regret using a heat source and water heater if needed. Good luck!!!
  3. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    Quote:I am an early riser, so I've gone out to the main henhouse at 3:00 in the am several nights when the temperatures dipped into freezing territory.

    While out there, I have heard the chickens moaning in the cold.

    Maybe it isn't a lot of heat, but I provide supplemental heat to keep the henhouse from freezing overnight. The gals have a large, heated water bowl too, so that there is at least one waterer that always has warmer water in it, no matter how cold it gets out there.

    What I have not done -- at least not yet -- is bring a pot of hot coffee out to the hens on those cold nights.

    Others may disagree, but that is what I do.
  4. mommyofthreewithchicks

    mommyofthreewithchicks Songster

    Jun 25, 2010
    I have gone out at night to check on the birds and I have found that I am making the disturbance. Mostly because when I go out there the ducks decide to roam around and then are not settled in for the night when I leave [​IMG] The chickens are all roosting and give me a one eyed look that doesn't look pleased.

    This is my first winter with the birds but.... I am going for no heat. In fact I have been dragging out heated water for them and in the evening it seems to still be unfrozen. By morning if there is anything left it is iced over.

    I have heard that as long as it is draft proof that the coop should be good without adding heat. We will see when January rolls around to see if I am still singing this tune.

  5. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    I do not use light or heat in the coop. I have checked on the girls at night and they give me a dirty look for disturbing the so I just close the coop door at night and leave them alone. I take out water in the morning they dont need water at night. So if it freezes no big deal. It is not cold enogh here for the water to be a problem during the day.
  6. Found 2 baby monitors on Craig's List for $10; so I can keep an ear out for what is going on with the girls. There are times I have had to go out at 4:30am because the girls were ALL having a heart attack to the point I had visions of a red-eyed fire-breathing monster coming through their door! I run out with the shotgun and my case the monster eats chickie mama's,too!! [​IMG]

    In fact I'm listening to the girls now as I type this...they have been very busy today...very vocal.

    I do this for 4 legged predators and 2 legged predators.
  7. Boy if that don't take me back to when my kiddos were teething...

    I don't plan to use any lights for my girls. But then it's rare to get to freezing, much less below it, down here.

    Now the waterer, 'nother story. I gotta figure something out to keep that thawed on the rare freeze nights...

  8. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Songster

    Aug 30, 2010
    S.E. Michigan
    Thanks for your replies everyone [​IMG]
    I've learned that regular light bulbs keep them up and mess with their sleep cycle.
    I bought a "red" (really looks more pink) floodlight and turned that off when the Bantam got all busy again.
    Then I put in a black light Halloween bulb. That seemed much better, they settled in after 10 min. or so.
    It's only 75 watts, so I'm not sure how much comfort it will provide.
    I'd prefer no heat, but the Bantam is so small, and the other two are only 13 weeks old. If they were adults I wouldn't worry so.
    It's 25 degrees tonight, and although it's covered with some tarp, there's a west facing opening I still have to finish off where the roof meets the wall of the coop, so it's cold in there.
    The monitor is reassuring---at least when they're settled.
    It's so difficult to know what to do, give heat or not. I'll feel better when they are mature and have some fat and more feathers on them.
    Also, I must insulate this weekend!
    Is it true hens will tuck their heads under their wings to keep their combs warm? I've not seen that, although I can't sneak up on them and they're always alert when they hear me, anticipating food I guess.

    Barry, how awful you heard your chickens moaning in the cold [​IMG] I will be listening for this, although I'm not sure what that would sound like.
    Once again, thanks all [​IMG]
  9. The Lisser

    The Lisser Songster

    I think that most people recommend not using heat in coops because it's a fire hazard. I have a red 250 watt light in a metal hood suspended in my coop if I feel I really need it, but even with the temps going down to about 28 my girls all still seem bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I am sure to provide plenty of food, as that helps them with the cold. I have not found my inside-coop water frozen yet (outside water has).

    A couple things to consider - number of chickens to coop size. You don't want to over crowd, but having the right number of chickens for the size of the coop will help them to stay warm - they can snuggle together.

    Also if you are struggling with finding a light that will provide enough heat but not keep them awake, what about a ceramic heat emitter (usually sold through pet stores, also available online). They are made in different watt sizes and produce no light - but fit in a metal hood just like the brooder lights. Again, I would be very careful about not creating a fire hazard, but these emitters are no more dangerous than lights.

  10. MakNugget

    MakNugget Songster

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I don't have heat in my coop, and we just had 17 degree low, 22 high just last week. My ventilation is ok, but I'm going to make some improvements this weekend since our humidity levels lately have been really bad.

    A day or two later we had two fires in the general neighborhood due to heat lamps. I'm paranoid as it is running electricity to the coop, I don't need a 250 watter to add to the mix. I believe the general consensus is that it could get below 0 without heat with little to no problems, as long as you address the draft & ventilation issues.

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