When to use heat lamps?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Scooter, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Scooter

    Scooter In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    Western WA
    I was wondering if and when we should use a heat lamp for our 8 girls. It has not been much below freezing yet, but at what point will they suffer from the cold? Their coop is draft free, although it is open near the top for ventilation. Our youngest is 5 months, so they are all a pretty good size. Not sure of all the breeds (most were adopted locally) but all are standard sized.

    As you can probably tell this is our first winter with chickens as family members, and I would hate for them to be too cold!!!

  2. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    If you have a small coop, you probably won't need a heat lamp. The birds will huddle together and keep each other warm. If it gets extremely cold for your area, you could add a low wattage red light to take the chill off. Again, it depends on the size and height of your coop.

    You are already helping them out by keeping the coop draft free and providing ventilation.
  3. Aimless Farmer

    Aimless Farmer Songster

    Jul 25, 2007
    N. Central MA
    We just got through our first frigid weekend, down in the teens and single digits! I was beside myself with worry! (This is our first winter as chicken parents, too.) Their house is small (approx. 4 feet square) and about 3 feet off the ground. Not insulated, but draft free. We started with six hens last April, lost two the end of August, and gained a roo last month. I wish they had more bodies to generate heat.

    Saturday it was so cold and windy, but they wouldn't go inside the coop. My rooster was raised in a bigger house with windows, where he prefered to stay inside for any (and all) inclement weather. My girls were raised rougher, and they only seek shelter UNDER the house if it's pouring rain. They just don't seem to care. Well, my poor Elvis kept tucking one foot up, and limping a little Saturday, and I could tell he wanted them to go inside, but they wouldn't. I went out and picked him up to warm his foot a couple of times. Finally, at 4pm, I went out and manually put them to bed. The girls were not happy, but Elvis was content. Hearing him crow at 7am Sunday was like hearing harp strings from heaven! Today, it was about 18 degrees all day, but no wind, they seemed unfazed! I brought them a gruel of warm butternut squash mixed with oatbran, and they LOVED it.

    I'm very worried about how we'll manage if we get freezing rain or ice. I don't quite know how I'm going to juggle it if they "should" stay inside all day...what do others with little houses do with food and water on days like that? I envision a huge mess putting water in the house. Any suggestions?

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