Do we need a heat lamp for the North Carolina winter?


10 Years
Aug 20, 2009
North Carolina
Hi, we live in the Triangle area of North Carolina and have 2 chickens in the hen house. Two more will join them in December when they are old enough to be with the bigger birds. This is our first winter with chickens and we are wondering if they'll need a heat lamp. Thanks for any advice.
As long as the birds can keep the temp of the coop above 32 degrees, they don't need a lamp. I'm setting things up so I can put a lamp in with my birds at whim.

We may also experiment with solar heated thermal mass, but I'm doing the lights regardless.
I live in northeast PA and have NEVER used a heatlamp on adult chickens. Heatlamps are unnecessary if your coop isn't drafty. I lived in NC for 11 years and I doubt there were more than handful of days that whole time that would have been anywhere near as cold as we get up here.

Also, heatlamps can be dangerous~!
Sounds like we don't need a heat lamp, thanks for the replies.

What is solar heated thermal mass? Sounds interesting!
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We live near Zebulon, NC & will have chickens for the first time this winter. We intend to get set up with a heat lamp "just in case", but hope to never use it! :)
When I lived in Memphis I had chickens and had an excellent poultry Vet that was an absolute genius in the poultry dept. I loved him. I was about to move to Vermont and worried about the 4 chickens I would be taking with me. I reassured me that they were gonna love and tolerate the VT weather way better than the Mphs. weather. I, too live in NC now and do not use a heat lamp and I live in the mountains. My coop is draft free and well ventilated and they seem to do just fine. The only time they seem upset about the weather is when it snows and they just stay in the coop.
Each chicken itself puts out about 3+ BTUs of heat so they keep each other warm. The feathers are fabulous insulators. As long as your coop is dry and have ventilation above their heads and not low to avoid drafts, they'll do just fine. I never heat mine and we get to 0-5 degrees at least a couple of nights in the winter here in the mtns.
You might take a look at my Cold Coop page, which addresses pretty much that question - see link in .sig below.

Short answer, "no, not if your breeds are sensibly chosen and your coop well managed", although it never *hurts* to have electricity available just in case you get a curveball.

Good luck, have fun,


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