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Heating for Chicken Coop design.  RSS feed

 
              
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I've been toying with the idea of a Rocket-Mass-Heater for my chicken coop and had some design variations that I'm wondering if anybody has any experience with. I've been reading/studying what I can on RMH.

I'm sorry that I don't have anything sketched up electronically to display what I'm considering.

My coop size is about 10'x12'. I'm looking at the combustion/burn chamber, outside of the coop itself, on one side, and the exhaust on the other side/end of the coop.

I know the 'regular' way uses cob & steel tubing for the mass part. I am considering making an S run with regular bricks that I have; From there filling in the space between the channels with 'dirt' as part of the thermal mass; but I plan to also cover all of this with concrete which would not only provide another mass for thermal heating, but it would also allow for MUCH easier cleaning of the coop.

Side note; (Warning extraneous info, but reason why I'm considering concrete) Concrete is used in radiant heating in house floors. Gypcrete is the alternative in houses, the difference being that Concrete is slow to heat up, but holds it for a LONG time; While Gypcrete is fast to heat up and cool down.

So a side view to try and illustrate what I'm considering.

Concrete - Concrete - Concrete - Concrete
Fill ---- Brick ---- Fill ---- Brick ---- Fill
Dirt - Channel - Dirt - Channel - Dirt

So my questions about this setup:
I know I 'can' do this, but am I being crazy?
Does this kind of setup make sense?
Is there a more sensible way to do this?

Thank you for your time reading this.
 
Cj Sloane
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It's really not necessary, especially if you get chicken which do better in cold climates. I have 2 coops but some chickens live outside all year long (even in winter in Vermont). Their feathers insulate them and if they can get a little shelter from wind and rain they are all set.
 
Arrow Durfee
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And on those very coldest days a lightbulb or two will get them through.

I noticed you mentioned concrete... I've seen chickens feet actually frozen to concret floors..so watch out for that. It you use concrete keep it covered with hay or something.

But right. We get down to 20 below here and chickens survive just fine if you give them a place to nest and weather protection.
 
Jay Green
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They will actually thrive better if not given heat in the winter. They are designed for winter life with a nice, down undercoat and protective outer feathers. To test how they feel, dress in a down coverall and sit by your stove and see how comfortable you are. Pretty soon you will be shedding clothing and your chickens will do the same...they will start to shed some insulation to adapt to the constant heat. That becomes a problem when they want to go outdoors in the cold. You can always put your down coverall back on but they can't paste those lost feathers back on each time they want to take a winter stroll.
 
allen lumley
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- single most important thing for chickens is their uninterrupted consumption of water , w/ chickens its almost lots of water will get you thru times of no heat , better than heat will get you thru times of no water 1
!
 
Arrow Durfee
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Jay Green wrote:they will start to shed some insulation to adapt to the constant heat. That becomes a problem when they want to go outdoors in the cold. You can always put your down coverall back on but they can't paste those lost feathers back on each time they want to take a winter stroll.


Makes sense but how come so many folks use a light in the dead of winter for some extra heat? I only assume they do it cause they have lost chickens or is everyone just following suite out of habbit? My friends only turn it on when its to about 10 below.
 
Joe Braxton
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"Old timers" where I grew up always said to "keep their feet warm" and they will lay all winter. I'm guessing they were talking about some sort of insulating litter, but I'm not sure.
 
Cj Sloane
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Arrow Durfee wrote:
Makes sense but how come so many folks use a light in the dead of winter for some extra heat?


Maybe they're doing it for extra light for egg production? People have raised chickens for hundreds/thousands of years prior to electric lights. A deep little can help keep things warm too. Come to think of it, how does the paddock shift system work in the dead of winter?
 
Jay Green
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Arrow Durfee wrote:
Jay Green wrote:they will start to shed some insulation to adapt to the constant heat. That becomes a problem when they want to go outdoors in the cold. You can always put your down coverall back on but they can't paste those lost feathers back on each time they want to take a winter stroll.


Makes sense but how come so many folks use a light in the dead of winter for some extra heat? I only assume they do it cause they have lost chickens or is everyone just following suite out of habbit? My friends only turn it on when its to about 10 below.


Because they listened to someone that told them that it was necessary?

Like Cj said, some folks light the coop in the winter to boost production but a simple light won't produce much heat unless it's a heat lamp. The problem with heating a coop is the production of humidity...unless the coop is very well ventilated the humid, warm air can create conditions that are detrimental to the flock's health. If well ventilated, then the heat will be for naught anyway.

A good deep litter system goes a long way towards keeping your birds warm on cold days without overheating them or creating too much condensation in the coop.
 
John Polk
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I agree with the above - deep litter (straw) will get the girls through the deep winter.

My grandmother spent a few years in Churchill, alongside of Hudson's Bay. Their coop was open on the south side, but piled knee deep in straw. Once, after a storm had passed, she went out to check on the hens. Each had dug itself a cozy nest in the straw.

Proper ventilation is just as important as food/water. Improper ventilation is probably the biggest flaw I see in most coop designs.



 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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I've been thinking that a rocket heater might be really nice in a coop...not to keep the birds crazy warm, but used with restraint to keep a waterer thawed. Love the hens, but Not being able to go away for a winter weekend without arranging a chicken caretaker is going to be a real drag.

Unless there are some simpler ways? I used a heated dog bowl on a timer with some extra insulation around it last winter, but it drew way more electricity than I can really spare.

For the original poster, if you try it make sure your stove is working before you put down any of that concrete...

I'm in agreement with the others about a nice deep straw litter.
 
John Polk
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Depending on how cold your winters get, a cheap trick to help keeping the waterers from freezing up, is to put a couple inches of styrofoam packing peanuts in them. Each time you refill them, the peanuts will just float to the top.

 
rodrigo ovalle
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to the original poster. Did you ever tried it? or anyone has? I know what all the other do but I would like to know if someone has actually done and has some empirical data on the matter. Thank you!
 
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