Winter lighting for heat

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Freshegglvr, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. Freshegglvr

    Freshegglvr New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2010
    Minneapolis
    I'm writing because I'm so impressed with the knowledge shared in this forum. My husband and I have 4 Golden Star chickens (all 4 started laying in the past 2 weeks [​IMG]) and we're new to all of this. Living in MN, we expect some pretty cold days and nights in the upcoming months. We're looking at lighting and having a hard time deciding what is best to keep the girls warm but not hot. We will be using the deep litter method this fall/winter as well.

    We have an 4x6 A-frame coop. Being an "A", there is plenty of floor space but diminishing vertical space (2.5-3' inside). I suggested we purchase the under the cupboard style light so that the chickens have more space. The issue is they come in fluorescent, halogen, and xenon. Any experience or knowledge about these? Based on our experience halogen get warm but will they be too warm?

    We just added a 60W bulb in a caged automotive trouble light--to help with egg production. Will this provide enough warmth?

    What other suggestions or experiences do you have that we can learn from?

    We use this site and the Raising Backyard Chicken for Dummies book but it seems that most coops are much larger than ours and I'm one of those who likes all the answers before I have to learn the hard way (and at the expense of our new family members).

    thank you!
     
  2. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi from just west of you! Halogen gets so hot it would scare the bejeebers outta me in the coop. I have a heat lamp but I suggest you look for a heating panel. Is your coop insulated? [​IMG]
     
  3. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I forgot to mention you might want to get a thermocube, 25 bucks at Fleet Farm, turns your heater on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees.
     
  4. Freshegglvr

    Freshegglvr New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2010
    Minneapolis
    Thanks for replying, good to hear from a neighbor [​IMG]. The coop is not insulated--it is made of Cedar 2x4s, with 3/4"plywood over that and then roofing shingles over that.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the heating panel (size and safe for the girl from a curiosity-lets try to eat anything-stand point. Where would I find one?
     
  5. wiss0023

    wiss0023 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 1, 2010
    Wisconsin
    Hello, and welcome! I posted a similar question just a few days ago, and our coops are similar in size etc. I live in Wisconsin. Here is the post on that, you might find some good responses in regards to heating panels and other various methods. Good Luck!! (I plan on doing the thermal cube and either the sweater heater or the heating panel.)

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=4811207#p4811207
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Actually in a coop that size, I think a 60w bulb would provide some decent warmth... But I would be wary of leaving a white light on 24 hours a day...might disrupt sleeping patterns. With your coop being so low, I'm not sure how well deep litter method would work; DLM seems to be used mostly in taller coops, as the bedding and "stuff" builds up (gets turned, etc.). I don't use deep litter myself, but you might want to post a question about that...
    Same with a heat lamp...I'd defininitely be leary of using one in a low coop. Maybe you could look up the cookie tin heaters...I've used clay pot heaters, because I worry about tin getting so hot (not fire hazard, but touching hazard for the chickens)...
     
  7. Freshegglvr

    Freshegglvr New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2010
    Minneapolis
    Thanks for everyone's advice. Even though I'm not in often, I think this is my favorite website! I've learned a great deal.

    We've installed a remote thermometer and insulated the floor (from the underside of the coop). The girls are doing great right now and are adjusting better to the daylight shortage than I am. [​IMG]
    I miss the extra time with them at night as they are such a fun way to entertain oneself.

    We've moved their coop and run (ours is portable by design) to the winter spot which means the majority of the run is over concrete and the other part +coop are under a pine tree. I've increased the food we leave for them during the day since they don't have grass to eat. Anything else we need to consider or do for them?

    Relatives are amazed at how delicious the eggs are. We're thrilled to share them with others.
     
  8. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Spent many winters in MN--southern part--so know about the weather but I doubt your birds will mind it as much as you do. The deep litter will insulate the floor well enough so the birds' feet should be okay. From the sounds of things your coop will be protected from the wind and as long as you have good ventilation there shouldn't be a moisture problem. While I advocate extra lighting in the northern climes, I don't like the idea of 24/7 light--a timer that limits the light to 14 hrs will be better. All that being said, I doubt very much as you'd really need to go to the problem of adding extra heat. As long as you can pick up the eggs before they have a chance to freeze, your birds should be fine--they are a winter hardy breed that, with all the other things you are providing them, can take it to 30 below.
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    One problem with the A frame design is that the coop portion tends to be cramped vertically. Do be careful if you put any kind of heat bulb in there that your chickens can't dislodge it (fire!) or burn their combs on it. A friend of ours had one of her hens burn her comb badly on a heat lamp last winter, so it happens. If it was me, I'd insulate the roof and skip the heat lamp. That radiant foil insulation is thin and easy to install; I just don't know whether you'd need to cover it to prevent chickens from pecking at it.

    Also, take a careful look at your ventilation. Inadequate ventilation lets moist air build up inside the coop and makes the risk of frostbite much higher in freezing temperatures. Aim for 1 square foot of ventilation per chicken, ideally high above the roost height...but again with the A frame design this can be very challenging to manage. Do the best you can and watch for condensation and ammonia buildup.
     

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