Water in winter and light in coop

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Erdin, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. Erdin

    Erdin Hatching

    Apr 26, 2014
    Hi folks.....I have learned a lot from you all on this site. I do have some questions though. I do not have electric to my coop/run although I can run an out door extension cord to heat a dish if needed. So.......I know I can provide water via a heated dish/waterer to the birds in the run. But, instead, would it be ok for the birds for me to provide water first thing in the am, say 600am knowing it will freeze at some point soon thereafter. They would drink their fill at that time and then I would take out fresh water for them in the late afternoon for an afternoon drink. So, if I do this they would be without water from between say 700am and 400pm on the coldest days. As for light in the coop my hens, eight month old cochins and marens, have quit laying for the winter and I would like to put some light in the coop say from 300am-700am each day to hopefully get them back on track re laying eggs. Again, no electric to the coop so are there any inexpensive solar lights I can install? Maybe those lights that are used in landscaping? I am well aware of the high risk of fires in coops so I obviously want to install something that has a high risk for danger/fire. From reading this site I know there are a lot of suggestions of things to try to encourage egg production in the winter via feed, supplements, spices, etc. I don't want to get into all of that but am interested in a light if that might help. Thanks,
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Songster

    Oct 18, 2014
    Well, technically, yes you probably could do that, but it would be a lot of work, and you run the risk of having dehydrated chickens. If i were you, i would run an extension cord and give them a heated water. That seems pretty risky to me. Light does help, but i don't know about solar light that ain't super expensive.
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    They will get used to the schedule twice a day watering. The water on most days will remain with only a thin layer of ice that the hens can easily break through for a surprisingly long time. Is ideal, no. But that is what chickens successfully dealt with before such things as heated waterers came along.
  4. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    How cold do your winters get?

    Do you have cold hardy breeds?

    12-14 hours of light is optimal.
  5. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I just read today an ingenious idea to put a few plastic ping pong balls (or similar) in an open dish waterer...any slight breeze will move the floating balls and keep the water from freezing. I'm not sure how cold this would work to, but an easy idea to try.

    As for running an extension cord, from what I've read, the greatest dangers come from:

    * poorly secured or placed cord that get's stepped on, chewed, pecked or otherwise abraded
    * old extension cord that is damaged or has exposed wires
    * too thin of a gauge of wire for the type of heating you're doing

    I'm no electrician, but what I did was plug in a BRAND NEW fairly thick gauge outdoor extension cord into the closest outlet. I ran it up to on top of the coop (which has a metal roof above the wooden roof of the coop) and then down into the coop. The entire length of the cord is protected from most sun and from all water. An ideal cord would have an integrated splitter (2 or 3 outlets), but I used a plug-in one. Everything is secured up high away from the chickens. Once they managed to unplug it from the splitter and I fortunately found the weak secured spot and secured it even better. I only run a max of 300W at a time (it's not running 24/7), which is fine. It's when people run a 1500W heater for 24/7 on too thin of a gauge of extension cord that they end up overheating the cord and starting a fire. Don't mess around with inferior wiring and check it regularly to make sure nothing has been chewing on it.
  6. Erdin

    Erdin Hatching

    Apr 26, 2014
    Thanks...this helps
  7. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    Please begin by making sure ANY outdoor extension cord is plugged into a GFCI outlet.
  8. Erdin

    Erdin Hatching

    Apr 26, 2014
    Hi..I am in SW Colorado. Temps in winter can range from 0 - 30 degrees or so Dec- Feb. Below zero at night is not uncommon. Chicks are Marens, Cochin, and Austrothorp.
  9. Erdin

    Erdin Hatching

    Apr 26, 2014
    Ok thanks
  10. BroosterSpringsteen

    BroosterSpringsteen Songster

    May 15, 2011
    NW North Carolina
    I run both my light and de-icer on a long outdoor extension cord. I used to carry out water twice a day in the winter, but that did get tiresome.

    I run my light from 3am to 8am. That gives them about 14 1/2 hrs. It was working well, but I recently switched to a LED floodlight bulb. It seems somewhat less bright than the incandescent bulb I was using, but I thought it would be bright enough. (I can read a newspaper). They stopped laying entirely though. Not sure if it's the bulb, or the weather, or what? They always seem to stop laying right before my holiday baking starts.

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