Earlier this week, like most of the northern tier of the country, we had a weather front pass through. The temperatures dropped from an unseasonably warm 60ish, with my snapdragons trying to spit out more buds, to an overnight low of 10 Wednesday into Thursday.
This had me WAY worried about my chickens. Everything I have read says that they are fine with temperatures down around freezing...and that colder temps won't hurt them, but could make them unhappy enough that they will stop laying.
I mean, I guess I could have prepared for this earlier in the fall, since it's a certainty at some point the temperatures in the inland Northwest will drop into single digits. But, umm...hunting and football!
So, not being prepared, I took to the internet and settled on a very 1800's type solution.
Hot Water Bottles. I read about several people who place water jugs full of hot water into the coop, and let it go at that, so that's what I have done the last few nights. Last night I even upgraded from plastic milk jugs to one of my spare glass beer growlers, which let me use water that was close to boiling. Then you go place it in an out of the way corner of the coop.
This morning, when I replaced the bottle and opened the door of the coop, I checked the water temperature, and it was still 41 degrees. Now...that doesn't mean that the air temp inside the coop is 40+ degrees...there is no fan forcing effective heat transfer...but, I don't need the coop kept balmy, I need it kept above 'egg-laying' temperature(or worst case, above 'fatal').
Still, even though this method is working, technology is our friend, and last night on the way home from work, I picked up a clamp light and a 25 watt red bulb. Today I'll find a way to mount it in the coop, and run an extension cord. While the water bottle method appears to be working, it requires me to make a trip outside at 6ish, 10ish, and then right after I wake up at 4:30ish.
Mounting a light would be much nicer to my cold toes.