Everyone knows: Happy chickens lay more (Easter) eggs. But first, you have to make sure the baby chicks stay healthy and warm until they reach the age that they start laying eggs.
On average, chickens don’t lay eggs until they are 6 months old, depending on the breed. For example, Leghorns and Golden Comets start laying as soon as they’re 4 to 4 1/2 months old while Plymouth Rocks and Wyandottes don’t start until they’re 6 to 8 months old.
When chicks are raised without a mother hen, it’s important that they have access to feed and that they are kept warm in a draft-free coop. Without the mother hen, the chicks are not yet able to keep themselves warm in the first few weeks of their lives (they are not fully feathered until 6 weeks). Here, a supplemental heat source must be used that keeps the poultry house temperature between 32 and 37 °C (89.6 – 98.6 °F).
Infrared radiant gas heaters are ideal for raising chickens. Infrared heat works much the same as sunlight. The infrared radiation warms objects rather than the surrounding air. It’s a safe, natural process. The heaters direct their infrared radiation downward to heat the baby chicks and the bedding. Whether the heaters are positioned correctly or not is determined by the distribution of the chicks. If the chicks snuggle together and stand directly under the lamp, they are too cool. If the chicks are far away from the heat source, they are too warm. If they are fairly evenly distributed in the coop, the heaters are correctly positioned.
A number of agricultural gas heater manufacturers use Maxitrol’s GV30, GV31, and GV33 combination gas control valves. The GV valves control the pilot and main burner. These versatile valves are thermostatically controlled and maintain a set point temperature. No electricity is required, and the valves are fully enclosed for added protection. An integrated piezo ignitor and pressure regulator are optional.