chicken coop temperature

oosul(z8 az)October 29, 2009

I built a well insulated chicken coop. During the day the inside of the coop gets to be around 63 degrees F with my light on.

At night when the light turns off it cools down

to 33 degrees F. So my question is... is 30 degrees fluctuation okay for my chickens?

I am very very new at all this. I have looked in two chicken books and online for

average/general temps of coops but I couldnt find anything.

Someone at the feed store told me to try and keep the temp at 40 and someone else said just make sure it stay at or above freezing. Is 63 degrees too hot?

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Where are you and how are the summer/winter temps? Also, what breed(s) are the chickens?

'Heavy' breeds such as Orpingtons are bred for colder climates. In addition to being big ol' fat chickens, they carry a thick suit of feathers and have small combs that better resist freezing. Leghorns on the other hand, are skinnier and are without the extra-thick feather coat, and have large combs that tend to get frostbitten in cold winters.

Lots of people in cold winters leave a light burning in the coop at night to help warm it, or use something like a milk barn heater.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 12:31PM
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oosul(z8 az)

They are Red Stars from Mcmurray Hatchery.
I am just north of British Colombia so it gets pretty
cold here in the winter. Around -20 degrees F sometimes.
I have my light timer set for 14 hours from 8am to 10pm.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 5:49PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

I don't think that the fluxuation in temp. is a problem. But -20? What type of light do you have? Is this just to keep them laying in the winter or is it a heat source? both?
Velvet had some good advise and your next flock you may want to try Buff Orpingtons, my choice in chickens. It does get very cold in Ohio, too. I tried foam insulation in my coop last winter and they ate it. So, make sure that it's covered. Also, I assume that you have a heated water fountain for them. You can leave the litter all winter and just throw on wood shavings to keep it dry. This generates some heat and insulates the floor. Good Luck, Luke

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 8:27AM
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oosul(z8 az)

It is a white heat lamp that I am using for both, to keep them laying during the winter and keep them warm. I was thinking of buying one of those ceramic heaters on a plug thermostat that you screw into the light that a good idea?
Right now I just have a small bucket of water in their coop for water....I need to do something different because they
keep kicking it over. I have a layer of wood shaving and then a another thin layer of straw on top of that. So do you
think I should just put more shavings on every week or so to keep it dry....and maybe pull out the big pieces of
feces and add it to my compost. I am new at all this and dont want to screw anything up. I will take both your advice with the Orpingtons next year.
Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 10:01AM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Well, I don't know if this is correct or not, but I think that a red light is better for chickens?? Maybe someone else knows for sure. I have a red heat lamp suspended about 3 to 4 feet above the floor of the coop. I leave it on 24-7 if it is really cold. My chickens do not seem to get stressed by this and continue laying. There is always the fire safety issue, so I have it properly secured and have a cover over it. I have never tried the ceramic heaters, but they may be safer.?? I would recommend a metal fountain that fits onto a heater designed just for the purpose, to keep the water from freezing. Water is very important for them to produce eggs. If you don't do this you will have wet conditions in your coop and drive yourself crazy trying to keep them with water this winter. But, the reason that I checked your thread again, was to let you know that proper ventilation is also very important. Even though it's cold they need to keep excess moisture out of the coop. This goes for any farm animal. Better cold than on the warm side.
I use only wood shavings on the floor and straw in nests. It's easer to clean out when you don't mix the two together.
Those "big pieces of feces" is actually chicken poop,(humor) just throw more chips over it and put it in the compost next spring. Don't worry. You will do just fine with your chickens. Enjoy them. Luke

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 1:52PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

I have chickens here and they are fine in the winter. I turn the heat lamp on in the coop when it gets below about
-10 or so. Without it the rooster gets some frostbite on his comb and wattles. I rub a small amount of vaseline on the comb and wattles and that helps, as well.

Its an addition ceramic light socket attached to the ceiling about 4' above the roosts with a red heat lamp bulb in it.

The problem is more about the frozen water than anything else. The waterer in the coop freezes. You will need a heated waterer for your chickens. I used a standard heating pad underneath a zinc waterer but I don't think this is very safe. I am soon going to buy a commercial electric waterer.

A friend uses heating roof cables wrapped around his zinc waterer.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:14PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Check Murry McMurry online, they have the heater and galvanized fountain that you need. Ot check around. They are a litle over 40.00 USD each. Do it right. It's cheap insurance.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 6:17AM
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We get -10 occasionally in the winter and use no heater, just a 40 watt bulb hung from the 10' ceiling to keep them laying. Our coop is enclosed w/a concrete floor. We clean out the shavings completely in Nov & leave it, piling new shavings as needed-the deep litter method. It helps them stay warm. Also we offer enclosed nesting boxes they can sit in to stay warmer-though they rarely do that. The coop gets chilly, but warmer than outside & no wind chill.
We have Buff Orph's, RI Reds, Black Astro's, and Easter Eggers.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 6:54PM
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dethride(7a / 6b GA)

I'm not too concerned about temps as much as I am ventilation. Read up on this in this article:

Having said that, minus 20 is brutal. I'd have to protect them just to make myself feel better. Buffs with their small combs, like oosul mentioned above.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 9:18AM
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My husband built me a "Chicken Palace" as he calls it. It's double walled and insulated. Plywood floor was tarred and covered with waterproof roofing material to include 2' up the sidewalls. It has held up very well and my only problem so far has been that it is too air tight! I had to put in vents for humidity. A hanging light provides all the heat they need it seems. Water container gets a thin coat of ice from time to time but since i check them a couple times every day, i just empty out the ice and replace with fresh, warm water. They love that. Orpingtons, Dorkings, silkies and banties. I love my chickens. They are so much fun to watch.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Our temps flucuate wildly here in KS. Winters definitely get below freezing and summers get blazing hot 100+. Our coop is basically one of those 3-sided tin animal shelters that we converted to a coop by putting the 4th side on and a floor. It is not insulated in any way and can actually be a bit drafty. We use a couple of heating lamps in there when the weather gets too cold and do not clean the coop at all during the cold months. Between the lamps and the warming manure/straw floor, we have had no problems. During the heat of the summer we provide plenty of cold water during the day and at times have even put the sprinkler out in the run on those record-high days. In the first couple of years I really fretted about temps and all that but they seem to be more resiliant than I thought. Lori

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 10:06PM
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