With the onset of cold weather, it is necessary to properly insulate the chicken coop, because with a lack of heat, birds can seriously fall ill and even die. Particular attention should be paid to this issue in regions with a northern climate. What should be the optimal temperature regime in the winter, with the help of which devices it can be maintained, we will understand further.
Why is it important to insulate the chicken coop?
Low temperatures, short daylight hours, lack of sun, cold winds - all this negatively affects the health of birds and entails the following consequences:
- Decrease in egg production in hens of egg breeds (their fecundity by 40% depends on heat in the chicken coop).
How to increase egg production in chickens in winter, read our other article .
- Decreased or stopped weight gain in broilers.
- Increased molting period.
- The development of arthritis of the extremities, especially in those feathered whose paws are not covered with feathers and other diseases from which chickens fall on their feet .
- The death of most embryos in eggs, if there is a laying hen (at low temperatures in the chicken coop, it will not be able to heat all the eggs, so the embryos will die due to lack of heat).
What should be the daily allowance and diet of laying hens, read here .
- Decreased immunity at room temperature below + 5 ° C, as a result of which chickens become susceptible to colds and infectious diseases.
- A noticeable increase in feed consumption, because when there is not enough heat in the chicken coop, for their own heating, the birds need more energy that they get from food.
- The hens have a quick set of live weight, or rather, a change in the percentage ratio between meat and fat in favor of the second one (in the cold season, birds are given high-calorie feed, and in tandem with an increase in portions, this leads to the fact that the chickens are fattening).
- Changes in the behavior of birds (move little, become lethargic and lethargic).
Lack of heat is especially fatal for young animals, therefore, to preserve the livestock, it is extremely necessary to approach the issue of warming the house.
Birds react negatively to both a decrease in temperature and its sharp fluctuations. In this regard, the chicken coop all the time you need to maintain the temperature in the same range. Its minimum limit is + 7 ... + 8 ° C, and the maximum - + 12 ... + 15 ° C. On average, the temperature in the chicken house at + 10 ° C is considered optimal.
It is not practical to maintain a temperature above 18 ° C, because the quality of the eggshell will suffer and the egg mass will decrease.
When overheated, chickens will often breathe, drink water intensively, keeping their beak constantly open, and abandon the main feed. All this will lead to a violation of their natural biorhythm.
Preparation before warming
The chicken coop has been preparing for the winter cold since the fall, while the street temperature is high. However, before engaging in its arrangement and heating, preliminary preparation is required, which consists in its cleaning and disinfection.
It should be noted that there are various options for disinfection, but in most cases, breeders choose a whitewash of the walls and ceiling. To do this, prepare a solution of lime, stirring in 5 l of water at least 1 kg of powder.
Sometimes breeders also use a blowtorch to disinfect the premises, with which they burn the floor and walls. If the chicken coop is too dirty and moldy, several stages of burning are carried out, after which the room is ventilated.
For disinfection of the chicken coop before warming, special preparations for poultry farms can also be used. These include Formalin, Xylonaphth, Creolin.
It consists in the insulation of walls, floors, ceilings and windows. So, before the cold, so that the heat does not go away, and the cold air does not enter the room, you need to completely fill up all the cracks. Thus, the chicken coop will be protected from drafts and rainfall from the street.
From an economic point of view, such insulation is the cheapest option for winter heating, and in areas with a mild or temperate climate it can fully provide the necessary temperature in the chicken coop.
Before the winter season or directly during construction, they need to be additionally sheathed with plywood, wooden boards or lining, making a layer of heat-insulating material. In its quality you can use:
- liquid foam (polymer self-hardening filler);
- mineral wool;
- glass wool.
If the chicken coop is brick, it is better to choose an external method of insulation. In this case, it will be necessary to fix the mineral wool or polystyrene plates to the walls, from the outside, using special glue for this.
Attention should be paid to the relative novelty of the market - warming paint. This is a liquid heat-insulating material, which is applied immediately to the facade with a brush, roller or spray gun, and then hardens and provides auxiliary thermal insulation.
To save heat, inexperienced poultry farmers cover the walls of the chicken coop with polyethylene, but this can not be done. The fact is, such a material does not allow moisture to pass at all, so condensate will accumulate on the walls, which will create favorable conditions for the appearance of mold.
Floor (deep bedding)
Insulation is selected depending on the type of floor:
- Concrete . In this case, it is necessary to make additional lining of the boards with a layer of heat-insulating material, which must be resistant to moisture and aggressive substances. Expanded polystyrene or cellulose wool meets these requirements. Expanded clay can also be used, but its layer thickness should be at least 15 cm.
As a heat-insulating material of a floor it is impossible to use gypsum fiber and mineral wool as they are afraid of water and aggressive substances. The use of extruded polystyrene is also undesirable, since it allows vapor to pass through, so the humidity in the room will be very high.
- Wooden, earthen . A thick layer of litter is required on such a floor, which will also serve as an additional “heater” of air. Suitable material for bedding:
- spruce needles (it is a strong natural antiseptic that inhibits the development of molds and pathogenic bacteria);
- wood shavings;
- peat moss;
- sunflower husk.
An ideal option would be to use a mixture of straw or hay and fine materials - husks, needles or shavings.
It should be noted that the litter can also be used as an additional insulation of the concrete floor. In any case, it fits this way:
- Pre-treat the floor with a thick layer of lime and let it dry well for several days. This will not allow parasites to settle inside the material.
- Cover the bedding in several layers. Its height should be at least 25-40 cm.
- Periodically ted the bedding and pour a new layer with a thickness of 5-10 cm.
In winter, ventilation must always work in the house for continuous air circulation and the removal of harmful fumes, including ammonia, which are formed during composting of the litter. The ventilation hatch needs to be opened several times a day, while regulating the flow of fresh air so that too much heat does not go away with the fumes.
A significant disadvantage of litter made of natural materials is the unpleasant smell of ammonia, which manifests itself closer to spring. To get rid of it, prepare a mixture of dry lime and wood ash in a ratio of 1: 1, which is scattered over the entire surface of the floor. The procedure is carried out in the spring, when the hens walk in the fresh air.
So that you do not have to regularly update the bedding layer or ventilate the room to remove harmful fumes, you can use ready-made materials for deep bedding, which must be changed once every 3 years. An alternative is the fermentation substrate, which also serves as a warm floor in winter, as it heats up to + 50 ° C due to the decomposition of organic products. It consists of useful microflora - sour-milk and photosynthetic bacteria, which have such characteristics:
- do not allow the development of pathogens, mold and rot;
- prevent the formation of odors of ammonia and methane;
- they process chicken droppings into compost, which serves as an excellent fertilizer for the garden.
Manufacturers claim that this innovative material will last 2 to 3 years, but only if microorganisms are taken care of. Bacteria need nutrition and enough oxygen. In hot weather, litter should be watered periodically.
When using such a substrate, the amount of material must be accurately calculated in accordance with the number of livestock. If the number of birds is small, then the microorganisms will begin to starve, stop multiplying and die. With a large number of birds, they will not be able to process all the litter, which is a nutrient medium for pathogens, in time, so sooner or later the beneficial microflora will be destroyed.
Windows and doors
A lot of heat evaporates through such holes, so you need to also think about their insulation:
- The windows . As a rule, in a chicken coop it is one and goes to the east or south side. On the window, you need to fix the transparent polyethylene, insulate it around the perimeter with felt tape or other material, using buttons or small nails. If the barn is old, then the window structure often has a deplorable appearance - it warps or completely leaves the wall. In this case, all slots should be sealed with mounting foam or silicone sealant. Having put the window in order, it can be tightened with a film and insulated.
If possible, windows should be considered at the design or construction stage of a house. The best option is to use removable two-frame windows. In summer, they need to be removed, and pulled over the opening with a mesh to speed up the ventilation of the room.
- The door . Insulated with felt and film. The insulating material should go beyond the perimeter of the door and cover with itself all the gaps. On the reverse side, the door can be additionally sheathed with carpet to precisely prevent the occurrence of drafts, which strive to burst in and displace all the heat.
If there is an attic in the chicken coop, it is better to insulate the roof from the outside. To do this, follow these steps:
- Overlap lay sheets of roofing material on the roof.
- Coat all joints with construction resin.
- Check that there are no gaps in the slopes of the roof and on the ceiling. Rain drops or snow should not get into the attic.
If there is no attic in the house, then the ceiling is insulated in the same way as the walls, but first you need to check it for any damage or cracks. So, the roof must be made double so that a cavity forms between its internal and external parts. In it, you need to put polystyrene, mineral wool or other insulation with a thickness of at least 10-15 cm.
You can not do without it in areas with harsh winters, where the thermometer often drops below 0 ° C. In such conditions, even with the highest quality insulation of the entire chicken coop, the cold will still make its way inside, causing concern to the birds. So, the chicken coop will need additional heating, the options for which we will consider below.
Various electric heaters are installed on the floor, and are also attached to the walls and ceiling. They quickly heat indoor air, but require large electrical costs. Together with them, a thermostat must be installed - a device to maintain a constant temperature. This will help not only to avoid unwanted air drying, but also protect the chicken coop from fires.
In this case, you can choose various types of devices:
- Oil heater . It consists of a hermetically sealed enclosure, inside of which is mineral oil, which is heated with a heating device. The advantages of this appliance include:
- high fire safety;
- low power consumption compared to a heater;
- lack of noise and an unpleasant smell during the work;
- maintaining optimal air humidity during its operation;
- gradual cooling of the room after it is turned off.
However, the oil heater warms the house unevenly, and for a large area, several such devices will be required. In addition, oil may leak out of the housing when it is depressurized.
- Electric convector . It consists of a heater and a fan. Heats the air by natural convection of air between the room and the heater. Thus, during its operation, heated air from special air chambers rises, but the lower, colder one is absorbed into them. Due to this, natural air circulation occurs. During operation, the device does not make noise and does not emit an unpleasant odor, but can only heat a small area and evenly. So, in the presence of a large room you will need several such devices. When the heater is turned off, the air instantly cools.
- Heater . A device with a metal casing, consisting of a heater (heating element) and fans that cause air to circulate. Most often it is installed in large rooms, since it requires special maintenance. Meanwhile, the air heater has several disadvantages:
- together with its installation, it is required to build an air pipe from metal pipes or other materials;
- despite the fact that it quickly heats the air and heats a large area of the room, after it is turned off, the air quickly cools;
- during operation may give off an unpleasant odor;
- it makes a lot of noise and dries the air.
- Ceramic panel . It works on the same principle as the previous device, but its circulation is forced. Therefore, it is equipped with powerful fans that help to “drive” the air and create a very loud noise. The panel itself is quite expensive and consumes a lot of electricity, but it has increased fire safety and does not dry out the air. It is attached to the ceiling, thereby saving space on the floor.
When using any electrical appliance, it is necessary to approach the wiring responsibly. All wires must be double insulated and hidden from birds.
Oven heating or the use of a stove
An oven for heating or a potbelly stove is often used on farms with a small population. This is the most fire hazardous method, so farmers resort to it infrequently. If the chicken coop is made of wood, and the bedding is also laid on the floor from natural materials, it is forbidden to use stove heating. In a brick building, a place for a potbelly stove or stove can be reserved.
If you have to tinker with the masonry of the furnace, then with a potbelly stove everything is much simpler. It consists of a furnace and chimney, providing a lightweight option for heating the room. It is placed only on a concrete base, far from the walls. Assumes such advantages:
- It is inexpensive;
- drowned with any non-toxic materials;
- care does not require special skills.
As for the shortcomings of the potbelly stove, they look as follows:
- Heats up very much, so easily flammable objects can catch fire from it;
- a spark may jump out of the furnace into which it is necessary to constantly enclose fuel;
- the burning of any material produces an unpleasant odor.
A potbelly stove, like a stove, requires constant attention in the process of working and observing fire safety techniques in order to avoid fire in the chicken coop.
All strongly heated parts of the stove or potbelly stove must be insulated so that the chickens are not burned. The room should have good ventilation and a separate chimney.
Infrared lamps, like electrical appliances, consume a lot of electricity, but their heating mechanism is different. IR devices do not heat the air, but the surrounding objects, from which the air itself is directly heated. If you attach a foil to the walls, the radiation will work more efficiently.
When breeding chickens that need an air temperature within + 32 ... + 35 ° C, it is worth choosing IR devices.
The advantages of such an infrared look as follows:
- serves as an additional light source;
- mounted on walls or under the ceiling, which saves space on the floor;
- at work does not make noise and odors;
- dries the litter and does not “eat” oxygen in the room.
When buying, choose devices with medium or long wave radiation, since short-wave radiation can cause heat stroke in birds.
When using an infrared lamp, you need to take into account that the bulb is very hot, so you need to place it at a distance of at least 50 cm from nearby surfaces. Otherwise, objects near the lamp will overheat.
The optimal power of the IR device is calculated depending on the area of the room at the rate of 100 watts for every 5 square meters. m. In any case, preference should be given to heaters with a capacity of not more than 500 watts.
Water or gas heating
Water heating works using a gas or electric boiler, but it is cheaper in terms of energy consumption than the electric method. However, the boiler itself and additional equipment, as well as its maintenance, are very expensive.
This method is mainly used in large farms, in which there are more than 100 goals. In addition, this method is relevant in cases where the house adjoins the house, which is heated using a water boiler. From the main circuit, you can make a branch and "stretch" the pipe directly into the chicken coop. Thus, the house and the house will be heated at the same time.
It is forbidden to use gas equipment with cylinders and a burner in the chicken coop.
How to choose the right type of heater?
The choice of a heater depends on the financial capabilities of the farmer, the area of the house, as well as the region of residence. In the passport of each heating device, the manufacturer indicates the area that he can heat. When buying, you should pay attention to this information. In addition, the following information will help:
- For farms with a small number of live heaters of small capacity are suitable. In a small area, they quickly heat the air to + 16 ° C. However, it must be borne in mind that such devices are not designed for round-the-clock operation, so their motor will quickly fail. So, it will often have to be changed. In addition, you will need to regularly clean the spiral from dust and feathers.
- The oil cooler performs a temporary heating function, since it heats the air for a rather long time and consumes a lot of electricity.
- The best way is to use a convector, but it also has a significant drawback - it warms up the room unevenly, and temperature drops can reach 10 ° C.
- A universal option is considered infrared lamps or infrared devices. Experts recommend purchasing a heater model with a built-in thermostat. This will help the poultry breeder easily maintain a microclimate in the chicken coop. It is only necessary to set the desired temperature, and the device itself will turn off when it is reached. When the air cools, it will automatically turn on.
It is better to refuse home-made heating devices. In terms of fire safety, they are inferior to any of the above types of heaters.
Is it possible to combine natural and artificial heating?
Not only possible, but necessary. First of all, the walls, floor, ceiling, windows and doors of the house are well insulated. If the temperature inside drops below + 12 ° C, then use artificial heating.
Without natural insulation, no heater can maintain the desired room temperature. The fact is that when it is turned off, the heat will quickly leave through the cracks or be weathered by drafts. For chickens, this is a lot of stress, which immediately affects the rate of egg production or weight gain.
Video: how to heat the house in the winter?
In the next video, experienced poultry farmers will tell how they heat their chicken coop in winter. They pay special attention to the infrared heater and thermostat for its automatic shutdown:
Insulation of the chicken coop is one of the main tasks of the poultry breeder. If there is not enough natural heating, then electric heaters are necessarily put inside or heating is carried out. In a warm room, the bird feels good, and when they create a 12-hour daylight, they do not cease to rush.