Cold Chickies

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CircleR, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. CircleR

    CircleR Hatching

    Dec 14, 2013
    I have a large coop for about 50 adult chickens, about 4-5 roosters, the rest hens, all standard size. Their coop is not enclosed on all 4 sides, just 3 rooms with roosts and nests, each about 9'X10' and all completely open on one side. The free-ranging space is enclosed with a high fence to keep predators out. I use a 250-watt heat lamp in each separate room in the winter, when it's down into the 20s and 30s. They seem to be fine, but I'm not sure if the light from the red lamps interferes w/ their sleep. If I go out there at night, they seem to be awake, not sleeping like on summer nights. Some of our chickens roost in the trees, don't even go into the coop at night, and they have not frozen yet.

  2. TheChips

    TheChips Chirping

    Sep 28, 2013
    I am by far no expert. But I am one of the chicken owners who keep red heat lamps on my chickens (on cold nights) and this is their first winter.
    -(born 14 weeks ago -Isa)(born 9 weeks ago - Cochins)-

    My chickens sleep just fine with it in their coop. It hasnt affected their sleep and sometimes I peek in at night to find them sleeping peacefully.

    Ive seen some owners on here dont give their chickens a heat lamp and some do. I assume it all depends on your chickens, If anything, my chickens freak out when its not on at night. They need some sort of light on. So when its not cold at night I have a two small solar lights that charge during the day and leave one by each of their doors. Ive noticed they get upset if they are sleeping in complete blackness.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  3. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Chickens definitely rest better without any light. Supposedly they can't see the red heat lamps, but I have my doubs about that. Honestly, a heat lamp at those temps is quite unnecessary. Even without acclimating them, I doubt very much that turning it off at this point would bother them. People in Alaska keep chickens without added heat, and with a 3 sided design, there is no danger of frostbite as it is primarily caused by humidity buildup in closed-up coops.

    Yes, if a flock becomes accustomed to light in the coop, they will be disturbed when it's first turned off. Many people see the same thing with young chicks the first night they don't have their heat lamp; it may take a day or two before they quiet down completely. But at that point they will rest much better.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. I live in the Ohio valley, and we get pretty cold temps from Dec-Feb, and I don't use any heat in my coop. I would urge you not to use 250 watt heat lamps because they are a fire hazard. I have used them with chicks, and they make me nervous. This time of year you will start to read about people losing coops and chickens to fires, and many times it is from heat lamps or extention cords. Chickens need to become used to the cold at night, because if the power goes off it will be much harder on them. The hardest thing on them is humidity and moisture--draft-free roosts and overhead ventilation will help prevent frostbite.
  5. Tmatthews

    Tmatthews In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2009
    I agree with eggcessive. I also live in the Ohio Valley. I used to keep heat lamps on my hens, but my vet told me he never uses them on his chickens and that I need to toughen up my hens! Lol. Anyway, this is the first winter I've gone without using heat lamps on them. We've had an unusually cold December and my hens have been doing just fine. However, if its real cold and windy, I will shut their little door they use to go out to the run. I don't even know if they need that but it makes me feel better!

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