When to start heaters and heat lamps??

lifein1840

Songster
Mar 29, 2009
123
161
201
kansas city area
I am wondering the same thing as a new chicken mom. I have 7 week old chicks (1 Bielefelder, 3 Wyandotte, 3 Crevecoeur) that have been in their outdoor coop for one week. It's been pretty cold here (Rochester NY) in the evening, but comfortable (70's) during the day. I have been temporarily using a heat lamp at night-- hung above (but not too close to) the coop window. I know my chicks are cold because they all cram up against the wall facing the lamp (completely ignoring the 3 roosts available to them). We typically get our 1st snow in late Oct. and I am worried that my use of the lamp could be interfering with their natural acclimation to the weather and could delay the timing of their first molt. Should I just let nature take over and allow them to adapt on their own? Also, should I purchase a Sweeter Heater or Cozy Coop for those nights when it gets below zero? Which one would you most recommend and why? Thank you for any insight you can provide.
Young chicks sometimes roost on the floor in a "pile" if they don't have a hen with them. It could just be that they are scared more than cold. You can try working with them by putting them on the roost during the day and when it seems like they are comfortable, go in after dark and put them on the roost for a few nights - they will get the idea! They should be completely feathered out at 7 weeks and should do fine in the coop as long as it is dry, not drafty and well ventilated. I know it seems worrisome to have them in a cold coop, but they really are designed to take the cold. I have never used a heat source in my uninsulated coops - and I'm older than dirt and twice as dusty!:old You don't want them to get used to having heat in the coop because, not only do they have more issues going from warm to cold quickly by going out of the coop, but if you loose power to the heat on a very cold night (snow storm, ice storm, etc.) you can have serious problems....not to mention the fire risk! Good luck with them and try to relax and enjoy them as they grow!!
 

lifein1840

Songster
Mar 29, 2009
123
161
201
kansas city area
I was so with you when I started chickens 15 years ago. I was making the mistake of worrying about keeping chickens warm. Since childhood we have been taught, close the door, trap the heat in.

And that is the wrong worry. Do not worry about keeping them warm, worry about keeping them DRY. Dry chickens are warm chickens.

To keep them dry, and thereby keeping them warm, you need to have deep dry bedding on the floor. You need to either remove dropping by using a poop board, or sprinkle the bedding with scratch once a week so the birds turn the bedding and break up the manure, drying it out.

You need to look at the position of the roosts. They should be placed so that birds have about 15 inches ABOVE their heads, away from the ceiling. And placed so that a bird is not right next to the wall. If too close to the ceiling or wall, their breath will collect on the wall or ceiling and rain down on them.

You need a lot of ventilation above their heads. You want the warm moist air to leave the coop, warm air naturally rises and will escape and not collect on the birds. The coop should act as a wind break, not a warm spot. A place to get out of the wind, that is dry is warm for chickens.

I also set up a wind break in the coop, a place to get out of the wind. I do hook some shower doors to it, so they have a little sun porch. But it is open on both sides.

I live in western SD, and we are frequently below 0, often -10 to -20, and a couple of years ago, -35 which is very, very cold. Healthy, well fed birds, came through that just fine.

The chance of fire is real, beware.

Mrs K

Beautifully stated!!! You should have given all new chicken owners a lot of comfort!! Bravo!!!:thumbsup
 

Anabelle

Chirping
Nov 12, 2018
49
50
58
Good morning, our temperatures have dropped quite a bit this last week, from 70s at night to 50-55 for the next few forecasted weeks. Highs around 70 each day. I know they don't need it now but at what point should I start winterizing their coop/yard. I have 6 (1 roo and 5 hens that are 7 months old), then have a second coop in the works for 3 silkies arriving in November. Just curious on the temperatures to start adding heat. Thanks
Don't. Just insulate the coop, heaters and lamps are terrible in coops, they do not help make them cold hardy, they are at risk of fire, and the lamps a mess up production making them think it warmer so its better time to lay when in the cold it's a bit unnatural to force it especially because it can cause more strain on the body. My best advice is to feed them a lot of corn or insulate the coop. Chickens are also generally cold tolerant, we have gown down in minus 37 F with some of our least cold-hardy birds and they still do fine. Generally, with a dry draft-free coop, there is no need for heat or light. Plus the heaters may cause humidity and the liquid may be prone to growing diseases. I agree with the other commenter, don't worry about keeping them warm, keeping them dry is the most important part. I mean, look at the Justin Rhode's their birds barely suffer frostbite in a dry, but fully wired tractor coop!
 

21hens-incharge

Slightly nuts
Premium Feather Member
Mar 9, 2014
21,072
86,710
1,542
Northern Colorado
Don't. Just insulate the coop, heaters and lamps are terrible in coops, they do not help make them cold hardy, they are at risk of fire, and the lamps a mess up production making them think it warmer so its better time to lay when in the cold it's a bit unnatural to force it especially because it can cause more strain on the body. My best advice is to feed them a lot of corn or insulate the coop. Chickens are also generally cold tolerant, we have gown down in minus 37 F with some of our least cold-hardy birds and they still do fine. Generally, with a dry draft-free coop, there is no need for heat or light. Plus the heaters may cause humidity and the liquid may be prone to growing diseases. I agree with the other commenter, don't worry about keeping them warm, keeping them dry is the most important part. I mean, look at the Justin Rhode's their birds barely suffer frostbite in a dry, but fully wired tractor coop!
They are in Georgia. No need to insulate, feed extra corn or heat the coop.

Insulation gives rodents, mites and other undesirable pests a great place to take up residence.
 

chickmamato7

Chirping
Aug 13, 2020
50
69
61
Rochester, NY
Gas or electric dryer?

I don't think it's going to hurt to vent it outside, with as large and open as your run is.
Electric, so no worries there. That would make my life easier to just keep it as is. I put a screen on the vent to prevent any lint from escaping into the coop & I can adjust my wash days if the weather gets too cold or windy.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
86,313
102,385
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
Electric, so no worries there. That would make my life easier to just keep it as is. I put a screen on the vent to prevent any lint from escaping into the coop & I can adjust my wash days if the weather gets too cold or windy.
I'd just run it as is...and observe.
Don't cover the vent, your dryer lint trap(if cleared every cycle) should catch it all.
Cold or wind shouldn't make any difference.
Some folks vent an electric dryer into the house in the winter to 'save' the heat and humidity.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
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