When is supplemental heat required?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chyler79, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. chyler79

    chyler79 Out Of The Brooder

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    When do I need to provide additional heat for my birds? It is going to get down into the teens this weekend, and my girls are only 3mos old, but fully feathered.

    Should I give them more/different food than their current starter feed to help them burn energy for heat? I also give them mealworms in the evenings.

    Thanks for any input! :)
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    In short, never.

    We've had single digits already this year - the birds do fine. Providing supplemental heat adds the risk of coop fires, that simply isn't worth it considering the birds are built to survive the cold and don't need the heat.
     
  3. BrickWall Honey

    BrickWall Honey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree with HEChicken, you'll be fine without supplemental heat. As for the feed your fine, you can give em some BOSS and table scraps of proteins and carbs if you want.
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I thought about this thread yesterday morning. When I woke up, it was 3 degrees here. Cold enough the heated dog bowl I use to provide water to the chickens couldn't keep up and the top was iced over. Two weeks ago I had a little chick hatch under a hen who decided to go broody in November. It has wing feathers but other than that, nothing but baby fluff. I was a little concerned about Mama and chick, alone in their nursery pen, in such extreme temperatures with NO heat, but I needn't have been concerned. Here is a 2wo chick when it is 3 degrees out:
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    Notice it on the left side of Mama, peeking at the camera to see what I am doing.
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    FWIW, I have never seen this chick under its mama. The high for the day it was hatched was 24. In the two weeks since it hatched, it has rarely been above freezing. For the past few days we haven't seen anything better than teens. Since there is no heat in this pen, the water freezes quickly, so 4 times each day I carry a fresh waterer down to make sure Mama and chick have water to drink. The chick now knows me as "The Bearer of the Water" so gets excited when it sees me coming and runs over to get a drink. It has never looked cold, or shivered or acted as though it is anything but a balmy summer day.
     
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  5. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No extra heat is needed just a place out of the wind. They are very hardy animals.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I may link to this post for all those folks who are sure chicks need to be at 100 degrees all the time the first week of life. Drives me nuts they can't understand the function of a hen, to warm a specific area for a time, then the chick is out at ambient temp, whatever that may be.

    I see the white spot on it's head--what is the chick?
     
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    It is a Barred Rock from Good Shepherd lines. I know what you're thinking: Barred Rock/white spot = easy to tell gender, but in my experience with this line, the gender can't be determined at hatch by the white dot as it can with other lines of BR's, because they all have pretty much identical white spots on their heads. I've learned that I have to let them feather out to figure out the cockerels from the pullets based on barring instead.
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I can't always tell on hatchery chicks! I don't know if some folks just have a better eye for it, or what. I can frequently tell an obvious male, but there are lots of "in-between" spots I'm not sure on.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    With very low termperatures feed intake increases which you should enable. Growth / productivity also slows. Tolerance and productivity are very different things. Descission to heat is usually an economic one for me where productivity is compromised but not health.
     

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