Any one have or used a Ceramic heat bulb?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RlgNorth, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. RlgNorth

    RlgNorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2009
    North Pole, ALASKA
    I am tryin to deside how I am going to heat my coop this winter up here can get to
    -40 I have an insulate coop but want to add extra heat and have read about a Infrared Ceramic Heat Emitter Bulb it is flat shape and looks like it will work well plus they say it last for 5 years. Just wondering if anyone has one and likes it.
    Or what else you use that dont cost too much to heat your coop.
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I've thought about the ceramics, but they are pretty costly! I'm thinking of using a small space heater and hang it on the wall. My coop will have the birds penned inside, so I could honestly set it on the floor with no worries.
  3. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    I have a 150 watt ceramic heater bulb running in my chicken tractor as I write this. The tractor is 8 feet long by 30 inches wide by 30 inches tall, and houses two hens: a buff orpington and a Rhode Island Red, both one and a half years old.

    It is pretty cold by mid-south standards -- upper or mid 30's outside right now. The tractor is insulated except some on the top, where I made the mistake of not covering the insulation with plywood. They pecked a big hole in the insulation, which I have not had opportunity to repair yet.

    Anyway, I just went out to check the ceramic heater and it's putting out enough heat to keep the tractor somewhat warm. Not toasty warm, but acceptable. The birds are sleeping about 3 feet away from it, on their roost, and seem OK.

    Actually, I got worried about the use of that heater earlier tonight when I read on a website that these ceramic heaters are used mostly for reptiles and other cold blooded animals. They emit infrared light, which warms an animal from the inside out. The article I read said that is good for cold blooded creatures, but warm blooded animals (like man or chicken) do better with a heat that heats from the outside in (such as an incandescent brooder lamp).

    Problem is, incandescent lamps are a greater fire hazard, plus birds can burn themselves on the incandescent lamps, but not the infrared ones. In small quarters such as these two hens live in, the issue of burning themselves on a hot bulb is something to be concerned about.

    Plus occasionally a stray rain drop can get into the tractor, and that happened a few days ago. The incandescent brooder bulb I was using literally blew up when that happened.

    So, unless somebody has an idea for a better way to heat my chicken's tractor, I guess I'll be sticking with the ceramic bulb heaters.

    I found at that you can buy them in different wattages: 60, 100, 150 and 250, however it is not an item that amazon stocks. They farm out the business to one of several dealers, and no dealer had all of the available wattages.

    I'm thinking about ordering a 250 watt one, in case it gets extremely cold or my two hens moult.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  4. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    Quote:Right now on they are selling them at almost half their normal price (20 to 25 dollar range, depending on the wattage you select). If you choose one of Petco's offerings, you can get free shipping on as little as one bulb (but if you go to, you have to order 50 dollars worth to get free shipping, plus the price on that website for the 150 watt bulb is 20 cents more than on! Go figure...)

    Yeah, that's a bit pricey until you consider two things:

    1, these bulbs will last you a LONG TIME. Last year, I used the 150 watt I currently have in the heated "cave" that I built for my outdoor cat. I used it 24/7 all during the winter, and it never burnt out. Now, I'm using that same ceramic bulb in the chicken tractor. It's still going strong. I don't know if it will last for 5 years, as the package claims it will, but I do know I've had to change several incadescent heat lamps out during that time (which I use in other places) because they burn out. But I'm now into my second year using this same bulb, and it has not burnt out yet.

    2, these bulbs are supposed to be more "energy wise" than the incandescent bulbs, and cost less to operate. Whether they actually do or not, I am not sure, but that is what I have been told.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  5. I have one in the nursery. It is on a day/night switch. The babies get under it and have discovered that it keeps them as warm as a hen.

    I also use them for the brooders. The non light source keeps the babies internal clocks with the rise and setting of the sun.
  6. jubylives

    jubylives Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2007
    Central Iowa
    What ever you decide to use make sure that the wiring and the light socket are rated for the wattage being use. It's better to have higher rated equipment then what you are using. I use two red infared lamps full time in winter in my coop. It's kept it just near freezing during the real cold snaps here which have been below -10 F. Also make sure all wiring is completely secured to the walss and/or ceilings and keep the lamps or emitters away from the birds.

    I will say this before the "you do not need to heat" police show up but these means of heat are not very effiecient cost wise. They do increase your utlilty bills but I've not noticed much on mine the last several winters. There is a safe way to use these and they do help to keep the chill off some but they really do not "heat" the coop. Which you really do not want to do anyway. I mainly add a heat source for a warm area for the birds if they need it and a warm place for me too when I am out there. They will be fine in temps below 0 but I find most here like to have some heat. Neccessary or not.

  7. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I've used the ceramic heat lamps (just to be clear: a ceramic "bulb" with flat round 'head' screwed into a socket that is housed within a metal lamp shade) for years. Got them in large pet supply stores in the reptile area. They have been great, still going strong (have never had one quit working). I just make sure they are very securely clamped and bungie-corded and otherwise afixed to whereever they hang from so that nothing short of a tree falling on the building could bring them down (I pray that never happens).

    When I had a stand alone small coop (4x6x8 high), sometimes in the worst weather it would take 3 of them to get the coop comfy. Now that I have a coop inside a larger building (tho with skylight and window), it only takes one 150 watt to do the job (but it's a small coop housing only 2 birds, maybe 4 x6x8 foot tall).

    I have a hen in severe molt right now - she's half naked and very vulnerable so I'm providing heat so she can save her strength (it's been raw, wet and cold out). I think the ceramic heat lamp is making all the difference for her, as I could tell she was struggling. Once she is fully feathered again or a good way there she will need less heat, at least until we're really in winter here. Her buddy, my roo BJ, has never abided by very cold weather (he deals better with the heat of summer than many would) - it's just his way - so they will have some heat in the winter so that their coop and therefore their water stay above freezing and even usually above 40 (a lot of jealous chickens will be headed this way, I imagine!). We don't get temps below zero often at all (thank goodness) - mostly twenties and thirties with some wicked teens thrown in - so the contrast between outdoors and in is not terribly stark.

    Anyway, your question was about the efficacy of ceramic heat and my experience has been that the ceramic heat bulbs/lamps work great. Given the extreme temps in your neck of the woods I would just be sure that whatever type you get can tolerate functioning in temps that low if the packaging isn't clear about this - perhaps call the company - get them to answer in writing in e-mail at least, so that they take their response very seriously.

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  8. RlgNorth

    RlgNorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2009
    North Pole, ALASKA
    Thank you everyone! I have seen two differant kinds(though they look the same to me. One at an actual chicken website

    the ones off amazon My local petco sells the reptile ones but they want 49 $ way cheaper to get off line. I was thinking about getting a 100w one to hang over the roost but now im thinking with my extreme cold wheather I might have to buy two. I have 8x8 insullated coop. Right now it is getting down to 10 degrees and staying nice and warm in there and I think alot of that is due to the birds giving off nice heat.
  9. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have two different ceramic heat lamps and a red brooder lamp. I had the ceramics because I also have a Calif. desert tortoise that used them when she was younger. I used them at different stages with the chick brooders.

    I used the red lamp for the most warmth (kept things about 90 to 95 easily.) The ceramics kept the brooder temp lower (in the ranges for most reptiles in the 80s.) All three use a lot of energy.

    When I moved the 8 week old chicks out to the coop and it was still pretty cold at night, I added the red lamp of the three because according to my thermometer, it kept the temp up the best of the three lamps for the larger open space. Just my personal experience.

    I can tell you one thing from experience with the ceramics, as they age they are less effective, eventhough they are supposed to last about 5 years. Just use a thermometer in the enclosure and keep an eye on the bulb's effectiveness over time if you go with ceramic. My ceramic bulbs get hot to the touch just like other bulbs, just no light.
  10. ErieSpurs

    ErieSpurs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Elyria, OH
    Quote:Very well put. I guess I'm a member of the "no heat police." You probably don't need it, but if you want to - go for it.

    As Jeremy said the ceramic heater is nice for keeping the chill off, and since you only have two birds - I'm sure it would make them more comfortable on chilly nights.

    I also want to second the dangers of incandescent lights. I had a 250W blow up in my face when misting our iguana several years ago. I was seeing stars for a while and the sound was like a gunshot. I had to pull out a small glass chunk that was about an inch away from my eye. Not a fun experience.

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