Coop lighting-Cold weather-flourescent vs standard?


Granite State Chook
10 Years
Jan 30, 2009
Prescott, AZ
We are building a coop inside our barn. My DH wants to know what kind of lighting he should use? Can he use energy saving bulbs, shop lights, or does he need to use regular bulbs. Do chickens care? What are the heat outputs of these? Will all work equally well on ultra cold New Hampshire nights? Thanks for you replies. Our coop will be 8x10 and we have 5 hens.


10 Years
May 24, 2009
Temperance, MI
I use florescent in my coops bit I also have red 100 watt for warmth on the young ones. My older ones keep them selves warm, I'll put in a red bulb in when it gets under 40 at night for the older ones.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Heat output can be estimated pretty closely by the actual wattage of the bulb (where it says 'uses X watts'). Thus you face a tradeoff between energy-efficient lighting, and heat output.

Personally I would go for efficient lighting (meaning fluorescents, these days, until and unless LED bulb prices go down) and if you get to the point where you feel you should add electrical heat then have a separate fixture for that. If you do decide to use a bulb for heat, like over the roost (and remember there are other things you can do as well to help keep the chickens comfy, see my Cold Coop page linked in .sig below), then I'd suggest starting with a 100w normal lightbulb and see if that's enough... you don't always have to use A Heat Lamp Bulb for heat

Be careful with very cheap under-the-counter fluorescent fixtures btw, or with secondhand shoplight/ceiling type fixtures, as I have *personally* had both of them try to catch fire and would not trust them out-of-sight and in a building filled with tinder and livestock. I have never had any bad experiences with fixtures bought new and maintained in good condition for a not-excessive service life, and I do have them in my barn and chicken bldg.

If your winters get really cold (like regularly below 0 F) you may want to consider the special cold-weather-ballasted fluorescents, as normal ones do not work well in the cold (they are slow to start, dim, and if it's too cold they may just sit there and do nothing). Unfortunately I have not yet seen any cold-weather-ballasted compact fluorescent bulbs on the market (has anyone else? I'd love some for my barn).

Good luck, have fun,


Mojo Chick'n

Empress of Chickenville
11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
Republic of Chickenville
I use the compact flourescents in my coops. (well, pretty much everywhere, I think I may have one lone incandescent bulb here on the farm...)

They don't put out heat much, but I installed light fixtures that have a plug in on the side - so I put in a heat lamp when needed and hang it from a hook in the ceiling. This saves me having to change out bulbs so often, too (switching from light to heat) so it saves them from being burned out so quickly.

So, if I want heat at night (but no light) I plug in the heat lamp with a red bulb, and pull the chain on the light bulb to turn off the light but leave power to the fixture.

I'm in KY, so we don't get below 0 hardly ever, so I don't know how well the compact flourescents would do in colder weather, but I've never had a problem here, yet.

Oh, also, I noticed when I had incandescent bulbs in, the heat from them caused more condensation on the bulbs (fire hazzard?) but the flourescents don't cause as much condensation.

I had to go with the compact flourescents - I have a barn (probably 8 or 10 bulbs in there) and four chicken coops (probably 5 bulbs total in those) - the cost was too much not to go with a "cheaper to use" bulb.

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