What Temperature is the Lowest it can be when a Chicken is Alone in a Coop?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Scooter&Suzie, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Silkie who wants to hatch some eggs... She was trying to hatch golf balls, so I had to take those out of the coop. But she still sits there, broody, without anything under her. I have a rabbit hutch turned into a chicken coop and was thinking of having her have some babies in there. I would put a light (a heat one, not one for light) in there to keep it at a temperature where she wouldn't get frostbite or anything. How cold can it be when it is just her and her eggs/chicks? 50? 60? I don't think her babies would be alright with the rest of the hens because of the cold. It has been going down into the 20s and I just don't think the babies would survive, even with mama hen.
     
  2. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any ideas? I was talking to a lady who has had chickens for 7+ years and she thought 50 would be alright... I just wanna see what you think! She wasn't 100% sure, she was just using good judgement. Please remember that she won't have the body heat of the other hens. Does anyone think that the chicks would be okay in 20 F with mama? I don't really want to take any risks. But of course there are some that need to be taken.
     
  3. tec27

    tec27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She will definitely be able to hatch some eggs, even in 20 degree weather. However, the probability of the eggs hatching is low and the probability of the chicks surviving is even lower. I had a hen hatch 10 chicks in 30 degree weather and only 3 survived. 50 degrees is fine and probably the lowest temp where you get the greatest amount of hatches and the greatest number of chicks surviving.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    The mama will take care of the chicks similarly to how a heat lamp would work - they'll go under her when they need warmth. As for the mama - she could probably survive in temps down to zero, even with babies. That's certainly not how I would keep her though, if she was my bird being kept alone. Personally, I'd get a Thermocube, the on at 35/off at 45 model, and plug a heat lamp with a lower wattage heat bulb (maybe a 75W) into it. But you need to take all safety precautions: Double wiring the lamp, making sure there is AMPLE clearance, making sure your extension cord is outdoor rated, etc. I feel confident that your mama can safely hatch/raise chicks at those temps.
     
  5. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So what temperature? 35? Would a heat lamp be enough? It is a small area, only about 3 square feet with a smallish run (that's why I'm not keeping any chickens in there now).
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If she's a dedicated broody, then above freezing should allow eggs to hatch. That's why I like the Thermocube I mentioned. That would keep the temps between 35 and 45 (or there-abouts). A small area like that would be easy to heat to those temps. Your biggest issue will be having enough space to insure the heat lamp is far enough away from combustibles (including the hen) to be safe. That's another reason to use a lower bulb wattage.
     
  7. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In the morning I will go out and see what the wattage is on the "heat" lamp (It is one of the light bulbs that are supposed to mimick the sun so you don't get so dipressed in the winter, but it works great as a heat lamp for older chicks, and if my hens need more light to lay eggs)
     
  8. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is a 100 watt light bulb, is that cool enough?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  9. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have set up the light. The coldest place is 40 F and the warmest spot (which is the nesting box btw) is 60 F. Does that sound right? The light is hung up on the side, but is directly shining on the nesting box. That won't make it too warm will it? The farthest away is where I probably will keep the food and water. Everything alright with this? [​IMG]
     

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