Selecting a proper temperature for your new chicken coop will depend upon its application. Standard Chicken coops that will house full grown adult birds should be kept at comfortable room temperatures year round, and use fans during the summer to move air.
I used to operate a commercial poultry hatchery several years back, and the importance of the chicken house being room temperature is imperative. You do not want a large temperature variation within the house because it will cause your birds to notice a change in seasonal weather and stop or scale back laying production.
I guess I am talking on the commercial level here. If you just want to maintain a small flock for your own pleasure and to produce yard fresh eggs for your home, then I would suggest keeping the temperatures above freezing in the winter-time and below 90 degrees in the summer depending on your climate where you live.
A simple window fan placed in the rear of the chicken house should help to keep the temperatures under control during the summer months, and circulate air to remove the smell.
If you’re purchasing your chickens day old from your local feed store then I would suggest you build and design your coop so that the wire is small enough to stop day old chicks from getting through, or purchase a quality brooder from your local feed store.
If you are on a shoe string budget like I was when I started out, halogen work lights, or bulbs will work just fine. One 250 watt halogen bulb per 25 day old chicks is what I recommend.
If you’re keeping your chicks in your pre-designed coop, you’ll want to put wood chips or pine shavings down for bedding too keep the baby chickens from direct contact with the ground.
Place your 250 watt lamps one to one and a half feet from the ground floor. The chicks will come to the light to warm up, and then spread out when they get warm enough. Never place your day old chickens in a wire run exposing them to the outdoor elements such as wind and rain. Cold wind will kill baby birds. Make sure the area you are going to keep your day old chicks is completely enclosed from the elements.
Caleb Dennis has been a professional poultry farmer for over 13 years, and has operated a commercial poultry hatchery.
Photo. Viviane Monconduit