Cold chickens.....when to use heat lamp?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Smitty's Farm, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    OK, I have a flock of 16 chickens (RIR, SLW, & EE) that are almost 9 months old. I lock them up tight in their coop every night for protections from predators & elements. My coop is about 8 x 10 and insulated. I'm using deep litter method. On super cold nights I give them scratch to help heat them up. I usually leave one window slightly cracked for ventilation, but I shut it tonight. There is small vent holes up high in the front of my coop above the main door.

    Today is super cold. The water froze in the run & in the coop earlier today. I don't have a water heater yet, but I'm looking for one that will work with my plastic waters, b/c I didn't want to have to switch to galvanized ones.

    It's about 20 degrees F outside, but it says it feels like 4 degrees. Inside coop is about 32-34 degrees F...just barely above freezing. The wind is blowing about 26 mph. On other cold nights the coop seem to hold at 38-40 degrees on the inside, but I guess it's the wind causing it to drop lower??????

    Tonight I fed them some warm oatmill about 45 min before bedtime to help warm them up. I don't know if it was a good idea or not b/c all the EE got it all in their muffs on their face, then water was sticking to them when they were drinking. I had to dry their little faces so they wouldn't have popcycle muffs. [​IMG]

    I have not used heat yet, b/c I wanted them to acclimate to the weather. This is the coldest inside the coop it's ever been. They seem so miserable today. Hubby even felt sorry for them today and wrapped a tarp around 2 sides of their run to help block the wind.

    What is the coldest temp in the coop before you use a heat lamp? I have an infrared heat Lamp 125W, but hubby says he didn't think it would warm anything up in there. I also have a 250W infrared clear heat lamp.

    I know chickens are pretty resilent and they huddle together to keep warm, but just want to make sure they are warm enough.

    At what temp do you experienced chicken owners use a heat lamp?

    Suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks! Worried chicken mom.
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I actually don't except over each waterer. I use a 125 watt heatlamp hanging low over each one. When I know the temps are going to plummet like tonight will be near 10 degrees, I close the vents almost completely and I put the birds inside early to start getting warm before the temps cool down the coop too much. Today, when the heatlamps went off (timer), I put them back on and will go out and probably leave them on all night over the waterers. My coops are insulated, but I probably wont ever actually heat them.
  3. newchickmom

    newchickmom Songster

    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    I'm in Indiana and it's about 20 her with about 6 win chill. I have a coop that is 8 X 16 with 21 chickens in it. Tonight I decided to turn on the second red heat light for the night, since their water was partly frozen when I went out to feed them. The second light will keep the coop warm enough the water won't freeze and that is plenty warm for the girls. I have the lights hanging over their roosts so that is good enough. It will stay about 35 - 40 that way.
  4. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    Speckledhen: Thank you so much! [​IMG] It's my first winter with the flock and just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to keep them healthy, which includes not to much of a good thing. I think I'll go hook up the heatlamp at least over their water. It's suppose to get pretty cold tonight.

    Newchicmom: I'm in Il. a neighboring state. I couldn't believe that the water in my coop had partial froze this afternoon. I've had several mornings of it freezing outside in the run, but not in the coop. Thanks for your input.

    Thanks again!
  5. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I dont heat my coop but fr a heater I use a heated dog water bowl and they love it when they are cold or not they have warm water. Justa thought...
  6. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    Quote:I've heard that the heated waters & dog bowls can help elevate the coop temps. What kind do you use? What's the temps inside your coop when you use it?
  7. paganfish

    paganfish Songster

    Sep 15, 2007
    Fleming, Colorado
    Here in N/E Colorado the overnight lows have been in the negative one digits so I leave the heat-lamp on all night. They don't seem to mind it as long as I use a red bulb. I place the water bowls under the lamp and only once did they freeze up.

    I did it mostly because of the new chicks born in September. Although they were getting big and feathery I lost one. She died day before yesterday. [​IMG] I had just been talking to her and holding her the previous night and she seemed fine!

    I wish they could talk...sometimes! [​IMG]

    I took the little girl to the bin where we burn wood to bury her in when I started to cry. Geesh! I am crying and I think I will be able to butcher the chickens I get in January? Good luck there!

    Ooohh...did I digress or what? [​IMG]


    PS Yes chickens are very resilient but I think they stress out more when they don't have heat than if they do. Just my opinion. I think if they have heat...their quality of life is better! Not criticizing anyone who does NOT heat the coops. Just MHO. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2008
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    What you don't want is for them to get used to really toasty temps then for you to have a power outage and plunge them into bitter cold that they are not used to. That's one way to really get sick birds.
    2 people like this.
  9. paganfish

    paganfish Songster

    Sep 15, 2007
    Fleming, Colorado
    Quote:SO heat lamp keeps them warmer than they'd be otherwise but not toasty. Good point!
  10. luvzmybabz

    luvzmybabz Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    A few of the locals around here call my chickens spoiled they have heat lamp aimed at waterer but it keeps coop a couple degrees warmer. They have UV light bulb from 6pm to 8pm both are on timers but whe it is chilly during the day I override the heat lamp timer ( I have to break up ice). Then last night I was at Walmart the hardware stocker has chickens he say me looking at misters on clearance 2.50 so I bought 4 they are the type that you hook to hose so the chickens will not get 2 hot during the summer. So Scott (hardware guy says " what did chickens do before you came along to spoil them ?" I say "they were neglected chickens" lol. now if just one would lay an egg it would be great. Hubby keeps asking when it will be time to put the 8 week old chicks outside Yes I have a 3rd heat lamp that I will use in their coop for when the time comes I am sure it will be soon but I am worried about losing one due to the cold it comes and goes here.


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