Friday, February 10, 2012

Velociraptors go outside!

My house was starting to smell like a barn. Even though I have a terrible sense of smell, I could tell. I was cleaning both chick brooders out every day, but it was just getting bad. I know that the vast majority of it was the bigger chicks. Plus, even though I bought the biggest rubbermaid tote I could find, and that I could actually fit in my house, I felt like they were outgrowing it.

The other day, we were discussing chicken coops in winter, and whether or not to add supplemental heat. For my adult chickens, I add supplemental light in the form of a 100 or 120 watt bulb. I figure that it adds a bit of heat, because the water rarely freezes in the henhouse. I keep the water in the henhouse during the winter as well. We have the walls of our henhouse insulated, using those styrofoam panels that are commonly used in garage doors sandwiched between thin boards (otherwise, the chickens peck at it).

It got me thinking though- if I were to use my brooder lamp with a better heating bulb, and had it so it wasn't so far from the floor of the henhouse, why not put my velociraptors out there? I also have one of those indoor/outdoor thermometer sets, so I can monitor the temp, and if it gets too cold, I can bring them in.  When chicks first hatch, they need 95-100 F degree temps. That can be reduced by 5 degrees per week until they're feathered in, which happens around 5 weeks or so. Since they are more or less totally feathered in now, I think they can tolerate cooler temps.

So, I just took all five velociraptors outside. They have a much bigger space to play in, and I have high hopes that this is going to work out extremely well.

I will admit I really wish I have a camera out there to watch them, but I don't want to invest that kind of money.  I'll keep you posted.

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