Monday, November 28, 2011

Winterizing the Chickens

This weekend we made the coop cozy warm for the chickens. Not over-the-top warm. Just warm enough not to freeze their combs off. This is what we did...

The easy part was placing a water heater under their metal water fount. It is automatically set to go on when the temperature drops below 35 degrees & will keep the water from freezing in temps as low as 10 degrees. So far, the water has only froze once and that was just a layer on top. Of course when there is a  stretch of days below 10 degrees (ugh, hate to think of that), we will have to check the water for icing.
Next, after much research, we bought a thermostatically-controlled outlet (comes on at 35 degrees & goes off at 45 degrees) to which we plugged in a ceramic infrared heat emitter placed in a metal lamp with the protective shield around it & hung it from the coop ceiling. This set-up will keep the chickens from freezing, but will not allow it to get too warm in the coop. We will have to see if the heat lamp will keep the water from freezing.
The coop is so well insulated, that we may have just needed the water fount heater. The chickens give off quite a bit of body heat too. But, since this is our first year of raising chickens, we want to be sure they are all right. I once read a blog that talked about letting her chickens combs freeze like it was no big deal to have to trim off the dead black tips of the comb. I'm sorry, but I won't purposely let an animal suffer if I can help it.
Vinnie supervising Steve with Bubbles looking on.

The rest of the weekend was spent cooking (me) and mudding & sanding the foyer drywall (Steve). We had our Thanksgiving dinner at the farm on Saturday in the midst of the drywall dust floating around. :-) . A decision was made on someone else to finish the small amount of drywall mudding & sanding we have left. It's not that much, but it will get rid of a whole lot of frustration for one fantastic custom woodworker who shouldn't have to do drywall too.

This week, I am visiting family. Love seeing the two granddaughters! I was supposed to leave tomorrow, but couldn't wait any longer, so I hopped in the car this afternoon.
Should post some new pics here this week...


Lois Evensen said...

Those are lucky chickens to have such great "digs." We have a heater in our gold fish pond, too. The fish have been very happy out there for years.

SkippyMom said...

I just love your coop. It is so pretty and well thought out - and I like the "picture windows" on the top so the chickens have a view.

Of course you would take such good care of them [that other blog about letting their combs freeze made me shudder] Yours our lucky chickens.

Enjoy the grandbabies!

angie said...

Hi Barb,

This is totally off topic, but I've got chestnuts on my mind. I know you guys know Mark Shepherd and I believe that he is growing chestnuts. Did you see them? Did you consider planting some on your farm? Why or why not?

You did plant hazelnuts, right? How are they growing? Problems with deer?

Barb said...

Hi Angie,
Mark has a great operation. We saw the hazels & chestnuts. We planted 100 hazelnuts & 10 chestnuts. Only a couple chestnuts made it through the first winter. The hazelnuts have been totally neglected but are still growing. No deer problems yet. We'll see next year when we try to stop neglecting them. Right now, there are weeds growing all around them so maybe the deer can't find them :-). They sure like our apple & pear trees though. Give Mark a call. I'm sure he would be glad to give you a tour. If you do decide to plant hazels or chestnuts, you should contact him soon. He sells out fast.