Keeping your hens warm especially during the winter is an important step to protect them from weather and non-weather-related problems. You should consider the 7 essential methods explained below and they are particularly important for those who don’t raise poultry on a large scale.
Though you may be using heat lamps for the moment, you must understand some of the dangers of such, and one such is the danger of starting a fire if the heat lamp malfunctions. The following are some of the best methods to safely heat your henhouse efficient with little or no risk;
Make Use of the Deep Litter Method Plus the Right Feeder
The Deep Litter method is one of the most sustainable ways of heating the hen house efficiently. It is designed with proper insulation to keep heat radiation efficiency. You should layer the pine shavings or similar organic matter on the floor so that you don’t have to work too hard to eliminate the chicken wastes all the time. The liter will form a compost layer that will help in dispersing heat efficiently. You may want to add the grandpas chicken feeder because they are weatherproof and they are made up of durable galvanized steel that conducts heat outward for your hens to stay warm. The grandpas chicken feeder also comes with side guards that prevent injuries to the chickens, and the anti-flick grill included will prevent the chicken from flicking out the feed.
Minimizing drafts in the henhouse is another way of safely heating the henhouse. Since the presence of wind chills can increase heat loss, you must seal off any air leaks within the henhouse. If your hen house is quite older, for instance, you will likely detect more air leaks than you probably think of, hence you should screw cut-to-measure plywood over the air leak or hole. This will ensure that temperatures don’t drop too low for the hens within.
Use Insulated Windows to Trap Sunlight
Though the days are shorter during winter seasons, this does not mean you can’t capture even the little sunlight to help keep the henhouse warm in the darker hours. Make use of the insulated windows as your sun trap, especially if you have a dark slab floor. Increasing the amount of the sun trapped during the day will also ensure that the heat captured is retained for longer. This means you should increase the absorption of thermal mass in the material within the henhouse- The materials like the compost floor, and concrete is known to absorb more heat during the day to keep the henhouse warm in the night.
Keep the Henhouse well-ventilated
You shouldn’t have large holes in the henhouse to let in cold air, you need to understand also that it is not a good idea to restrict the flow of heat and air within the henhouse. Poor ventilation can result in the buildup of ammonia within, and that could trigger some diseases. Make sure there is proper ventilation in place to guard against issues relating to poor ventilation. Make sure the vents are placed towards the roof of the henhouse where cold air will not flow directly towards the hens. By occasionally venting out the warmer air, you will be able to replace moisture air with drier air to lower the humidity and reduce the risks of mold growth.
Promote Roosting Among the Chickens
Making sure your hens can roost will ensure that they stay warm at all times. Chickens will naturally roost together and then fluff up their feathers to snug their bodies. One general rule you should obey is that the hen-roost must be built at least 2 feet off the henhouse floor because it will make them feel secure and ensure that they are kept off the colder ground. Make sure there is a roost area large enough to contain all the chickens.
Build a Sun-room
It is easier to lock the chickens away from cold weather but your chicken flock will benefit tremendously from being able to move around freely. To create more space for the hens, simply create an extension or a small green-house, besides, that you can cover with plastic so that the chickens can hibernate there for protection against the harshest weather conditions. The sunroom will create plenty of space for fresh air but still protect them from rain, snow, and heavy winds.
Install Infra-red Heating Panels
Infra-red is more popular in the home improvements these days because of their fast and effective ways of transferring heat quietly within an enclosed space. They don’t rely on fossil fuel burning, neither do they require bulbs and filters to maintain heat transfer. Simply mount them on the wall or ceiling of the henhouse, or position them above the perch or besides, to keep the chickens warm all through the day and night. Heating panels will not blow air to heat the entire area, hence the dust wouldn’t get raised inside the henhouse. Keep in mind that the costs of heating panels can run into several hundreds of dollars initially.
Though you may still have to use heat lamps in the henhouse, there are certain regulations you should adhere to, to avoid common problems associated with heated lamps. First of all, you should consider an infrared heat-lamp bulb, and are shatter-resistant. Make sure you use the exact wattage lamp and never exceed such wattage rating by using one that works with a timer. Make use of appropriate hardware to secure and suspend the lamp, and hang the lamp a minimum of 18 inches above the human head level. Make sure the heat lamp is not positioned directly above the perch, if you do, the hens will be raised to a level that will make them too close to the heat source. It is also important that you use a cage to cover the case of the lamp so that the lamp will not come in contact with any flammable item just in case it falls.