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Author Topic: Heat for chickens  (Read 3420 times)

Offline BjornBee

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Heat for chickens
« on: November 29, 2010, 08:06:20 PM »
We installed a 8x12 shed as a chicken coop. The shed is very airtight. We have 15 chickens. They all seemingly roost together at night, except one of the two roosters who prefers to sleep in one of the nesting boxes.

We are debating putting in a light not only for egg production, but perhaps to provide some heat. Although we could use a bit less eggs, (were getting 7-10 per day) we are concerned if warmth is an issue come bitter cold this winter. Will chickens cluster together and keep warm or would a light be worth the time and trouble.

Any comments appreciated.
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Offline JP

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2010, 08:30:43 PM »
I'm actually a member of chicken forum where Pokabee (Jody) and Ann (Reinbeau) are also members. Ann is a moderator. This topic has been discussed many times.

You can add an infrared heat source if you like for added warmth, but the consensus is that very few keepers rarely if ever have a chicken that freezes to death.

They do in fact huddle together.


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Offline Robo

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2010, 08:53:48 PM »
It somewhat depends on the breed,  but I found it to be a waste with my barred rocks.  They would rather huddle together than sit under the light.  Last year I had a few roosters in a chicken tractor with only tarp sides and roof with one side open and other than a little frost bite on their combs they did fine.   Cold really isn't an issue, just make sure they have water available.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2010, 09:02:42 PM »
Chickens produce a lot of heat, but the light has the benefit of more eggs so sure.  You can get the heat lamps in white.
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Offline AllenF

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2010, 10:16:29 PM »
I placed red heat lamp over the automatic waterer the was plugged into thermostat outlet that I bought off the clearance shelf at Home Depot on year.   Just kicks on when it gets so cold to keep the water from freezing mainly.   The hens never ever got under the heat lamp at night.   They roosted up high in the same place they always do.  And I have seen roosters comb freeze, but it has been a long time.

Offline Jim 134

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2010, 10:42:09 PM »
Chicken can take lots of cold BUT not a cold wind.



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Offline winginit

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 11:43:54 PM »
We use a heat lamp and the chickens huddle by it when it's really cold out, but it gets colder here. Not really necessary at all on 25 degree nights, but when it's 5 degrees, they like it. We also used a timed light last Winter so we could get more eggs, and found that having the light go on in the early morning was more effective.

Offline BjornBee

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 08:07:32 AM »
We use a heat lamp and the chickens huddle by it when it's really cold out, but it gets colder here. Not really necessary at all on 25 degree nights, but when it's 5 degrees, they like it. We also used a timed light last Winter so we could get more eggs, and found that having the light go on in the early morning was more effective.

That is what we were thinking. Maybe setting it for 4-8 am or something like that. Not that we really need more eggs at this point.

We did sell some eggs last week with a simply farm sign, but 7-10 eggs a day really starts adding up after awhile. So far, we have not really seen a big drop in egg output.
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Offline danno

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2010, 09:11:24 AM »
You should have about 15 hours of light to keep the eggs going.   I have a timer that comes on at 3:00am right now.   I use 2 - 100watt bulbs just in case one burns out and I dont catch it right away.  As for heat I dont use any and our winters are cold here in Michigan.   My hen house is sealed tight enough to keep the wind off them.   Back when I kept a rooster or 2 they had some problems with the cold but the hens just fluff up and tuck there heads

Offline jgaito

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2010, 10:53:16 AM »
i don't heat fully grown adults.   the lack of draft and humidity are more important than heat as long as temps don't get down into the teens.  a flat roost seems to be preferred to allow the bird to cover it's feet while sleeping and some have applied vaseline to the comb to prevent frostbite in colder areas of the country.  i've tried the lights for production with questionable results.

Offline dogger

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2010, 12:43:04 AM »
I have had eggs freeze in the nests but the chickens were okay, they will tuck thier heads under thier wings to sleep at night, but the rooster will be the lone sentry, and will not do that. so yea thier comb will get frost bite.
One winter I had two heat lamps hanging right over the water font, and it stll froze, then I got talking with a friend and he said to give them some snow to get thier water needs from, worked like a charm. 

Offline winginit

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2010, 04:18:18 PM »
... then I got talking with a friend and he said to give them some snow to get thier water needs from, worked like a charm. 



hmmm, good idea Dogger, I think we'll try that. Where are you from? Can you update your profile?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2010, 09:59:03 PM »
We had a spell back in the early 80s' in the Panhandle of Nebraska when it was between -30 and -40 F every night for a month.  The chickens had no heat and they did fine.  The eggs usually didn't freeze in winter, but they did that month...
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Offline Bee Happy

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2010, 02:25:30 AM »
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Offline VolunteerK9

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2010, 08:34:33 PM »
I used to haul hot water to the barn when it got winter time- a real pain to do. I then later asked an old timer how he did it. In the winter time, egg production usually slows anyways so he switched over to feeding scratch grains that had plenty of whole grains in it. He soaked what he would use in one feeding in hot water for about 30 minutes. The grains would soak up alot of the water providing a chicken with plenty of moisture. Heckuva lot easier and Ive done it for several years now.

Offline skatesailor

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2010, 10:45:54 PM »
Chickens are like your bees. Keep them well fed and watered and out of a draft and they will usually do fine. You might lose an occasional rooster comb but I never had one die from just cold. Even when I put a lamp on the water hydrant they very seldom used it for their heat. By the way how are those CFL's working out for sources of heat. :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

Offline AllenF

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2010, 10:48:06 PM »
Tonight we had 4 eggs from 5 hens in the nest box. They made it through the cold last week just fine.   

Offline skatesailor

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Re: Heat for chickens
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2010, 07:18:36 PM »
I've raised chickens commercially and for fun for the last 50+ yrs. Right now I have a lamb creep set up with a heat lamp that the chickens have access to. When I open the barn door in the morning, no matter how cold or windy it is the chickens run out.I very seldom find any warming themselves in the creep although it has happened. Whether you are getting eggs now or not depends more on the breed than the weather. Some do better in winter than others. Think about the wild turkeys and other birds that don't have it so good. They still make it.