Coop Heating Alternatives?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Laurajean, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    It's been well below zero this week, last night it hit -30. It doesn't usually get THAT cold here, so I found myself unprepared. Last night I brought out milk jugs of hot water and hoped for the best. But it has me thinking of what heat options I can use in extreme temps. I know I don't need one all the time, but I have all bantams, mostly Silkies, and I've been told they're not very hardy.

    I don't like the idea of a heat lamp for several reasons 1. Fire hazard. It's a small coop and the highest point would only be about 3 feet above the wood shavings. I've just heard too many coop fire horror stories to risk it. 2. The Light: I've read that the light at night messes them up, messes with their sleep and laying, etc. 3. I don't want them getting used to a strong heat lamp and then go into shock when I take it away.

    So I'm trying to think of heat alternatives for those times when it gets well below zero. Has anyone tried those "heat rocks" that are used for Iguana's?? Low heat, they could cuddle on it, etc. Out of my 8 chickens, five are Silkies, so they sleep on the coop floor, where as the three feathered breeds perch, so the heat rock wouldn't help them.

    Any other alternatives that people have tried or can think of?
  2. tinychicky

    tinychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2010
    Hollis, New Hampshire
    i've hear of people who get special, "chicken coop space heaters" but they are kind of expensive [​IMG]
  3. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I too live in NH and for the few times that it gets that cold (It was -10 here last night) I don't worry about the heat. I also have small coops that are just large enough for the birds in them. The ceiling is also insulated so that any heat that they generate does not go away.My chickens all roost approx 2ft from the ceiling and are cuddled up to close to each other. Mine are also young so I can be more relaxed than if they were older. Today I did keep them locked in the coop as they were calling for wind. They are just a bunch of troopers who won't stop laying!!!

    Would one of those heating trays that you put a metal waterer on top of throw any heat?? That's what I use for my water outside in the run but today I put it in the coop with the door shut so I wonder....

    Perhaps they were in the sauna today and I didn't even realize it [​IMG]
  4. CopperCT

    CopperCT Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2011
    I don't usually heat the coop either but have been for the last three nights in this crazy cold. Thank goodness we didn't get your -35....-9 was crazy cold for us in CT this morning. I can't imagine what 20+ degrees colder than this morning must feel like ! [​IMG]

    I also worry about fire and don't want to add extra light either so I went with the ceramic heat emitters they sell for lizards and reptiles. They need to be used in heat lamps that have a ceramic base (other bases might melt) but they won't shatter and spew hot glass like heat lamps can and they emit no light. I have 2 of them about 2+ feet above the roost hung on chains and clipped and wired to the chains so there are three points of attachments to ensure they won't fall off.

    The emitters are not cheap although they are supposed to last 5+ years and every glass heat lamp I have used lasts only a few hundred hours. I got a 100 watt bulb and a 150 watt. I got the first one at a big box pet store and was shocked at the price but got it anyway as the temperatures that night were going to zero. I went on Amazon that night and picked up two more (so I have an extra...just in case) for alot less even with the shipping and they arrived in time for last night's bitter cold. They have worked well for me so far. A nice gentle heat and the coop is about 20 degrees warmer than the outside with the bulbs and the body heat. I have one hen with some slight frostbite on her comb and I think the emitters have kept it from getting any worse. I have an L shaped roost and they are all crammed on the part of the roosts with the lamps when they normally spread out over the whole area so they seem to appreciate the extra warmth. Haven't gotten the electric bill yet but with a total of only 250 watts I doubt it will be too bad and I plan to unplug them when the temperatures return to normal for New England. Hope that helps. Can't wait for spring!!
  5. KrisRose

    KrisRose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Quote:The flat panel heater is much cheaper on Ebay. I think I paid 60 for mine but that was about 3 years ago.
  6. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:The flat panel heater is much cheaper on Ebay. I think I paid 60 for mine but that was about 3 years ago.

    Do you like it? How strong is the heat? My coop is only 4' x 4' square and about 4 feet high above the bedding level. I have 8 chickens. What size is your coop and how many chickens do you have? Some of mine perch and others stay on the ground, so I'm wondering if I mounted it low behind the perch they could all benefit from it?

    Also, what size is yours? I see one that's 250 watts and another that's 400 watts.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  7. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a heat lamp with a heat emitter over the roost but as an alternative, if you have a single paned window like I do you could cover it with plastic and then at night with a blanket. I lose a lot of heat cuz I was too cheap to put in an insulated window.
  8. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Oh, that's interesting. It's just a plexi glass single pane fixed window; it doesn't open. I leave it exposed because I'm not an early riser so I was thinking they'd at least get the morning sun heat ..... but hadn't thought of covering it with a blanket......
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  9. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    LJ you do know the sun doesn't come up til about 8 am right? [​IMG]

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