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

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

  1. s6bee

    s6bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    I live here in upstate NY and we have gotten down to the single digits overnight lately. I don't heat my coop but it is insulated. I couldn't sleep a wink the first night I was so worried about my 5 hens. They also just started laying 3 days ago so I didn't know if I was going to find frozen eggs either? Thankfully they have survived and are well, and today as the temps rose, I decided to open the coop up so they could spread thier wings a bit. They hate the snow but have gone out.
    Hopefully we don't get another cold snap like that, but I'm more concerned with temps going from 5 to 50 within a few days of each other, that is what we are expecting here this weekend! I can't imagine the fluxuation is good either?

  2. ToniBuzzard

    ToniBuzzard Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2008
    I use an oil-filled heater and heat lamps. My chickens (tiny bantams) are not acclimated to these frigid cold temps, and I personally enjoy not freezing to death when I am trying to care for them. The oil-filled heater is 1500 watts and has ten settings for the cold. It also has a thermostat that can be set at whatever temp you want the coop to be. It does not get hot enough to catch anything afire and has a tip over shut off valve. Needless to say, I don't pust my luck on the fire thing. My coop is a half-cellar so it is pretty well insulated already, it doesn't take too much to keep it very warm. In this area we have lots of power outages, so for back-up we have a generator for long-term use, and a portable propane Mr Heater Buddy for short term use. I almost lost them the first winter I had them during a power outage, so I am better prepared now. I also have regular laying hens and a rooster, they only get light so they continue laying year round....they are acclimated and do quite well no matter what the temperatures go down to.....Thank Goodness!
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  3. briand55

    briand55 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 26, 2007
    Finger Lakes
    :DHi Stephanie! We too are from Upstate NY are are glad the single digit nights are over. Being new to chicken raising...we only have 6 hens...we do have a large insulated coop and enclosed massive wire run. We closed the coop flap over some of the cold nights which goes to the run but that is when some pecking order issues came into play. We decided to leave the flap open from now on into the run...they are such babies...they won't let their tootsies touch the snow but at least they can look out and see more while the coop is in this insulated state. We do have that hanging heated waterer that turns itself on at 32 degrees and has a "hidden" cord so pecking won't dislodge it. We also have one simple hanging red heat lamp that we had obtiained when they were babies so it really isn't all that powerful but we figure if they want under it, they can find it in the coop. We our temp in the coop still logs around the low 30s even on those really cold nights so we think everyone is good. If there is a power outage...and as you know, we aren't strangers to them up here in Winter, I think we'd be sharing the generator with the chickens! Good luck.

  4. Aviary junkie

    Aviary junkie Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2009

    I am a new chicken owner since May. I live in Wisconsin, Zone 4 so it will be pretty chilly this winter!

    I have purchased one of those warmers that the metal waterer can sit on. It has a thermostat so I think that it kicks on at 34 degrees or so. I have not needed to plug it in yet. I am paranoid about fire with this heater thing and wood shavings on the floor. Do you think that will be safe?

    We have also purchased a heat lamp but have not turned it on yet, again, paranoid about fire and I am wanting to give the chickens time to adapt - let nature take care of them. So in the short term I will just give them scratch before bed.

    I have one chicken that is a loner. She prefers to sleep alone rather than on the roost. I worry about her when winter really hits. Do you think that she will have sense to get close to the others?

    Any helpful comments are most welcome!
  5. Booswalia

    Booswalia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aviary Junkie; I would think the safest heat to use would be one of those oil filled heaters. They are not very expensive and they have a thermostat. If your coop is big enough, that's the way I would go.

    I too have a loner chicken and wonder if she'll eventually cuddle in with the other two but she's a hardy breed, (white rock) and she'll decide that for herself when the time comes. The other two (Delawares), are like best friends... always together... always doing the same thing.
  6. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Quote:You need to put that up on a block of wood or something, I wouldn't leave that on the shavings/floor. I used one of those under water heater things for two years, and the element kept falling down, if you look under it its like taped up to the underside of that metal upsidedown bowl thing.... I tried to fix it last year, with duct-tape but it didn't stick for long with all the dust that had collected.
  7. damohomesteaders

    damohomesteaders Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2009
    NE Alabama
    I accidently stumbled upon something this weekend regarding our coop temperature. Temps were plummeting all day long and were expected to stop near freezing during the wee hours of the morning. Unusually cool October in North Alabama.
    Anyway, we had recently put up a wireless thermometer in order to monitor the Coop temp & humidity level, and be able to do so from our warm and cozy kitchen. This unit also gives the average high and low readings for the day. Our coop walls & ceiling are insulated with some of those thin blue foam sheets, although not tightly insulated. The coop is draft free. It has a rough-pour cement floor (about 6” thick) which we keep covered with approximately 3" of pine shavings. Ventilation comes from two small windows, on the corners of the S & E walls. Each window can be opened either from top or bottom pane, and we vent the coop accordingly for the season by adjusting the window openings. The coop is 6x8x8.
    All that said, late Sunday afternoon I had just finished up with a thorough cleaning of the coop and noticed some excess water spots on the floor in each corner of the coop. I decided that I would manually dry the areas before putting down new litter trying to avoid having any dampness in the coop. I used a hair blower to take care of those wet spots. During which time I had noticed that the coop temp went up a few degrees even with windows and door wide open. Outside temp was now at 49, and dropping. Therefore, I wondered how much I could elevate the temp with the windows & door closed. I hung the hair blower from a hook and left it there for about 30 minutes while I attended to the girls in their yard tractor. Their coop warmed to a toasty 70 while the outside temp now dropped to 47. I put away the hair blower and closed up the coop until it was time to round up the kids for the night (6:30). Once they were back in the coops pen area, I opened the little access door and cracked the windows about two inches at the top. Needless to say, the coop slowly cooled, and by the time they were inside for the night it was hovering at 45 inside and 39 outside. Within an hour of the kids being inside on their roost, the temp began rising slowly. The wireless monitor sits about 2 feet above their roost on the S wall. By 9:00 pm, they had the temp up to 48. It hovered there for quite awhile (I don’t sleep well) before it slowly declined back down to 45 by the time we ‘officially’ get up for work at 3:15. By then it was down to 34 degrees outside yet the coop remained at 45! Oh yeah, the humidity level in the coop stayed hovered near 45% throughout the night hours.
    Now for all that rambling, I guess that I am confident that our little coop will do well for our girls. This is our first winter together and yes, I worry. I guess I will only resort to using and heat, like maybe a 60-watt ceramic bulb if we are expecting a severe cold snap. We usually get one or two in December or early January. Cold snaps in our area can last a few days or for a few weeks at a time. Even still, I will be keeping a close eye on the thermometer day in and day out.
  8. lbeattie

    lbeattie New Egg

    Apr 12, 2009
    I'm confused...chickens peck others when they see red on them, right? Why does the red heat lamp not drive them crazy? Am I right to put a red heat lamp in?
  9. farmerkel

    farmerkel Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2009
    Fairfield Co.
    Hi all! Its been a while since I've visited.... happy Fall:)
    I agree w/ Speckled Hen... don't keep that coop so warm that if a power outage (or some other issue) occurs they experience a drastic temp change. Right now, with over night temps in the 30's and 40's here, I am only closing windows. Soon, say mid November, I'll start turning on the water heater, which will provide some warmth for the whole coop. Eventually I'll have to use the heat bulb, but.. I need to get a red one... I discovered they don't appreciate the BRIGHT white bulb glaring all night. I guess I wouldn't either. I swear they actually looked exhausted and cranky the morning after!!:
    Happy Halloween fellow backyard farmers![​IMG]:
  10. ToniBuzzard

    ToniBuzzard Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2008
    I have back-up alternative power (heat) for ourselves and the chickens---it always pays to be prepared especially in the Northeast! [​IMG]

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