What's The Best Barn Heater For Poultry?

velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)September 30, 2011

We've moved to northern Nevada and have carted our 38 chickens along with us. We are now house hunting, and since it gets cold enough here for snow for months at a time (elevation about 4750 feet) I'm thinking these southern California birds are gonna be in for a bit of a shock this winter!

Anyone have any advice or recommendations as far as barn heaters? I'm going to get a small one to help the chickens out in their coop this winter...all I know is to get one that shuts off automatically if it tips over, beyond that our choices seem to be electric, propane or natural gas. Infrared?

Thanks! :)

Velvet ~:>

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CT here, we can get to -15 degrees, but normal is around 0, fluxuating sometimes. We've never used a heater on any of the animals, except when the goats are kidding in Jan/Feb-but that is a different situation.

For the winter we use the deep litter method. Starting right about now, we do not remove the shavings. As it gets soiled, we add a layer, and continue this on through March. The general rule of thumb is your knee doesn't get wet then you kneel on the bedding. Our chicken coop is 4-sided, and we close them in. We open the door & window on warmer days when the sun is shining in the door. We also have to keep the light on with a timer.

You are in Nevada now? If so they have plenty of time to acclimate to the weather, if you brought them up in late Nov or Dec that would be another story.

Having said that, heaters are dangerous. It only takes once and your barn and livestock are gone.

If I was to use a heater in the chicken coup, I'd probably string it Securely!! along the wall/ceiling and hang it down to about 4feet from the ground. I'd take up any slack, so if it fell it would unplug itself. If there wasn't a protective wire, or the existing wire had large holes, I'd wire some 1/2x1/2 wire around the heating element so it would never come in contact with anything flammable. Easy enough for them to gather under it or move away as they see fit.

If you start the season with a heater expect to keep using it until warmer weather. You know this, I'm just writing it for the benefit of new readers.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 6:25PM
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I re-read your post. Are you heating a barn or a chicken coup?

Our main barn, where the goats kid out, has it's own oil furnace. The goats have removable pens for when they are kidding, and the other side is usually a workshop, though it's purpose has changed often. The guys like to go down there to work during inclement weather. We keep it at 50 degrees. Less hassle & costs less than a portable heater over time.

Just thought I'd throw that out there in case your coop is a large barn.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 7:47PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Thanks! We still haven't nailed down a new house so I don't know if it will end up being a barn or coop we'll be heating.

I'm super cautious about the heater burning down everything, and since chickens have more to worry about from drafts than cold...at least where we'll be living...we'll make sure they are somewhere snug. :) I'm thinking one of the heaters that hang from the ceiling might be the way to go if we have the room. It may never get cold enough to use a heater, but I want to be prepared.

I feel bad for my Polish hens mostly, they are the thinnest and least fluffy of all the girls. My Giant Cochins are big fluff monsters that will do just fine.:)

Can't WAIT to see the chickens' reaction to their first snow! Gotta have the video camera ready for that one...

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 10:56AM
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