What kind of heat is good for the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by McGoo, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all,
    I've been reading this forum and now understand that I should insulate my new coop, but when it gets reeeaally cold I suspect that the gals will need a little extra warmth.

    If I use an incandescant bulb it will give them light basically for 24 hours, and I don't know how good that is, so I was thinking about infrared lighting. Does anyone out there use it for their coop? Does it produce enough heat?

    Any other ideas for heat? My coop is not attached to my house or the barn and I'll need to run an extension cord for electricity.

    ps. My husband is building the new coop and it's coming along nicely. I'll post pictures soon.[​IMG]

    Colleen
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    In Europe they use Emitter bulbs to heat their 'chook' (chicken) coops. They are a little expensive but work great. They don't give off any light, just heat.

    Other ideas I've heard is to use heat lamp bulbs (expensive to run), or higher wattage light bulbs hung over the roosts.

    There are small heaters that can be purchased at Farm Supply stores but they are also expensive to run.


    I do know that the biggest issue with any heat source is preventing fire! We had good friends who were using just a regular light bulb with an extension cord. A fox got into the hen house, knocked the light bulb down and the whole thing went up in flames. They lost all their chickens and the hen house.

    So thoroughly think through how you use the heat source and make sure it can't be flown into, knocked down, etc.
     
  3. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks Windy! I sure don't want a fire - yikes! :eek:

    I liked the idea of the emitter bulbs and went to a site to purchase them, but they use 220 volt and that's too much for our home. We'd have to rewire - no way.

    I then googled and got this ceramic tile warmer/heater.

    https://stores.myregisteredsite.com/user1249836/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=LHE

    Has anyone used these? Seems real easy and supposedly can be used to keep the water from freezing. Has anyone tried it with any success?

    Thanks all,
    Colleen
     
  4. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have not used it but it looks safe. a little pricey but might fit the bill. let us know if you use one and how you like it

    RCG
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2007
  5. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    McGoo - not sure where you're from, so that may change my mind about my answer (doubtful tho). But in my opinion, no heat is best for grown birds. Here's my reasoning. If your birds are grown (fully feathered) and acclimated to your weather changes, they will be stronger in the long run. Providing heat, imo, weakens them and makes them vulnerable. Also, consider if you lose electricity (for those relying on heat lamps), your chickens will get a sudden shock they never experienced. This is not good for them and will stress them, potentially causing illness.

    We live in eastern PA where is gets quite cold and winter beams its ugly storms on us every year. Our chickens make it through just fine, except the occasional frostbite. Just my thoughts and what others may want to consider in making this decision as the cold sneaks up on us once again.

    Jody
     
  6. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There was a post a while back which talked about the fact that chickens have a natural ability to withstand colder weather than we humans, and that as she introduced heating (via light bulbs) that her birds gradually succumbed to illness. Her point was that they were just fine before she tried to make them too comfortable. Lousy paraphrase, but you probably get the point, and it is a guiding thought for me as I prepare my new coop.

    The deep litter method provides for a fairly deep insulating layer of straw and/or cedar on the floor. This seems an effectve means of insulating the floor, and I plan to do that.

    I'm providing for a light bulb, and a draft-free environment, but not much more in regard to heating. I get the idea that it really is not necessary, and potentially counterproductive/harmful to the chickens.


    on edit: Yikes, I just noticed that I wrote cedar. NOT! It's pine. Sorry. Cedar is not good for this use.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  7. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:IF you do not heat there then there is no need to heat here. good point thanks RCG
     
  8. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    If you want to forego heat you'll still have to address the issue of frozen water. I wasn't sure my 11-yr-old would always remember to bring warm water out 3x or more a day, so I looked into options. The commercial poultry-waterer heaters were way too expensive at about $65 around here. I went to the local Petco and they were having a clearance on heated dog bowls, about $6, last spring. I wasn't sure how I'd rig it up but bought it anyway. I know that some folks do use those as-is, but seemed it would get awfully messy awfully fast and require constant cleaning. So here's what we did:
    1) Removed the heating coil element from the bottom of the plastic dog bowl.
    2) Found an old cast-iron pot lid that the coil fit perfectly inside.
    3) Placed the pot lid with coil on top of an inverted flower pot to raise it up, and the existing metal waterer on top of that.
    4) Carefully secured the wire (helpfully already enclosed in a sturdy wire "spring" to prevent the dog chewing on it) to the wall of the coop and out to a thermostatic plug (about $12 at Lowes, sold to use with roof-de-icing systems) that turns the whole thing on at 38 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've yet to see how it works, but I'm sure I can let you know soon.... getting COLD here!
    Stacey
     
  9. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great insights - thanks so much. This forum is the best!!

    I live in the Hudson River Valley and our temps are probably a little more moderate than Eastern PA, given altitude and the river temps ... but it does go into the single digits and below 0 on rare occassion. And my chickens are 5 mos old....and still not laying.

    So what you're all pretty much saying is that it's best to not heat, but I definitely need to do something for keeping the water above freezing - so the heated dog dish or maybe a small heated surface.

    And as for the 'deep litter' - should that consist of hay and wood chips? And then I just add a little each week and it kinda composts itself to keep them warm? Maybe 6 - 8 inches? And I'm not supposed to clean it out of poop? I'll read the posts on the DLM.

    The only thing gnawing at me is that our new coop is going to be pretty large in comparison to the converted doghouse that we've been using and I suspect that the 3 gals (and Mr. Ed) won't be able to generate enough heat to stay warm. I did see on a website where someone in northern VT set up a big strawbale tub inside the coop and the chickens went into the 'tub' and every couple of days they added a little more straw and it composted and kept them warm...and their dog joined in for warmth too!

    Thanks so much for all the advice - this really helps and I'll pass it along to my son in VT - he's got quite a few chickens.

    Colleen
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  10. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Colleen - there are a large number of posts about DLM. I'd suggest you run a few searches as there is a wealth of information on the board concerning this.

    Also, please note that I mis-typed earlier. DO NOT use cedar - I meant pine. Cedar puts off fumes that are bad for the chickens.

    As for a heated surface to prevent the water from freezing, I recall that there is a plan somewhere around the site that involves a flat, round tin can - the sort that you get cookies in - with a light fixture mounted in the side. The light is the size that you would use for a night light. That can is placed under the water container and produces enough heat to prevent freezing.

    I'm building a large coop as well, but I plan on creating a false ceiling well below the roof. That will cause a smaller area that needs to be kept warm.
     

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