I will start off today by covering some RSE information since that’s why most of you are even reading this right now *wink*.
I usually take a break until about now, but as I’d mentioned before I am taking a longer break to recharge the creativity. Also we decided it was a good time to finally re-finish our basement which has been finished, then flooded, then finished and flooded again. After the last time we completely gutted it- down to studs- and finally put in a sump pump. DUH. So. I convinced Mr. RSE that we were NOT going to mess around with drywall; yes, we’ve done it in the past, but it’s a horrible thankless job and the walls are funky in the basement. By funky I mean…creative. Lots of weird angles and planes that don’t quite meet up. So we hired someone to do it! LUXURY! That’s done and then we painted. I went with this color scheme:
That medium gray on the long walls and that eye-popping teal on the short walls. It looks great! And then I was going to hire someone to put new flooring in, but good old George went and ate some bad stuff and earned himself a 3 night stay at the emergency vet’s, so there goes my floor fund! So now it will be sad old me installing vinyl plank flooring through all 300 square feet down there. Don’t get me wrong- I loved the last floor we had down there which is the same stuff- I just hate installing it. I’m dreading it but will probably start on that next week. UGH. UGH. UGH.
So I said all that just to bring up the fact that during this renovation, ALL the stuff that was in the big basement room is now stuffed into the room that I store my pottery in, and take photos of them to put up on my sale sites. I had originally planned to put a few things up here and there throughout the winter, but nooo. I can’t get to any of it. I’ll announce on Facebook when I finally do, though! I do have to get back to work by the end of February regardless.
Winter. BRRRRR. It came late but wow- it’s hit us hard! We are in between snowstorms today but our forecasts keep threatening negative numbers so of course I worried about my girls. Now, they have two things working against them in the cold weather. First, I strongly believe that cold weather coops housing winter hardy chickens (which mine are) should not have supplemental heat. I feel it lowers their ability to deal with the cold. I am also absolutely petrified of fires, and heat lamps and heaters are notorious for starting fires in chicken coops. Second, I promised my husband that this time around, no matter how bad the weather got, I would not bring them inside (my city boy husband could NOT deal with the stink and dirt that chickens produce when confined in the house).
I was not counting on these extra cold temperatures though! We do not often deal with single and even negative digits. So I broke down and decided to come up with a fairly safe heater for the coop. I was determined to use things I had around the house because- oh yeah! I was also battling the flu!
I found a large clay flowerpot and saucer that I had painted with latex paints once upon a time that are now flaking off like crazy. I would not recommend this normally, but I wasn’t going to go shopping for a new clay flowerpot in the middle of January with 102* fever.
Because we have had lots of different pets, we had some reptile heaters lying around. The clip on dome lights with ceramic bulb bases (important not to use plastic ones) and ceramic heat emitters that look like this:
I took the clamp part off of the dome, screwed in the ceramic heat emitter (100 watt), and threaded the cord through the hole in the bottom of the flowerpot with the heat lamp inside. It fit perfectly:
I clamped the cord to keep it from falling back down (I used washers to help distribute the pressure on the cord), then set it upside down on top of the saucer and left it on the stove all day to see just how hot it got.
I’m known for pulling bread out of the oven without hot pads, and this got hot enough where I could barely pick it up without burning my hands. In other words, pretty toasty but not dangerously so. So I set it up in the coop, but instead of the on saucer which was precarious, I set the flowerpot on top of a couple of old brick pavers to help absorb and distribute the heat. I set it up under the “poop shelves” under the roost.
In a perfect world I would chicken proof the cord which I still need to do- just stringing it through some thin PVC will do the trick. It seems to be keeping the coop about 15 degrees warmer than the outside air which I feel is just enough to keep them from seriously suffering from cold, yet not enough to lower their resistance to it. All just guesswork- nothing scientific about any of this. I have it plugged in to a thermocube which turns on at 35 degrees and shuts off at 45. Judging from the number of poops around this thing, they seem to enjoy hanging around it during the day for a little warm-up.
And there you go! Disclaimer: I am not saying that this will not start a fire in your coop, or light up your hens, or is not a stupid thing to do- this is just something I came up with out of desperation, out of things I had laying around the house.