Electricity questions- Will they be ok without a lightbulb?


9 Years
May 30, 2010
NE'ern Connecticut
I was going to put a red lightbulb (not a heat lamp, but just a colored light bulb so I could leave it on 24/7 without forcing or disrupting their egg cycle) for some warmth as I live in new england it is gets very cold here in the winter. I have seen all the posts about coops catching on fire though and am petrified about that... so, if they will survive without it, I don't want to put one out there. BUT if they won't survive, then I'll put one out there and hope there won't be any fire.

As it is, I have a heated waterer... I haven't plugged it in yet but will probably need to soon. That is going to have to be on a long extension cord from my garage. 100 foot cord as a guess? I am not sure. So that worries me as it is. Electricity in general does.

My flock is: 3 golden comets, 1 RIR, 1 silkie, and 1 Ameraucana. They are all fully grown, ranging in age from 25 weeks to about a year and a half. This is my first winter with chickens though. I worry the most about my silkie because the others roost up on bar together and she is by herself down on the floor of the coop, lacking the body heat the others might be getting.

They have an enclosed coop with wood shavings/hay. It is not have any building insulation, but I am going to (today maybe?) staple some cardboard to the studs inside the coop and stuff hay in there.. I read about that before as a way to try to insulate it. Their run is semi-enclosed. It has a roof and partial walls, with some good amounts of chicken wire too of course. I bought a roll of plastic sheeting to put over the chicken wire to block out most of the wind.

So, do they need a lightbulb for heat? Or will they all be ok without one? What about my silkie??

Last edited:

Olive Hill

10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
No, they won't need a lightbulb. They'll be fine. Even the silkie, just make sure she's got plenty of hay/straw bedding to cuddle into.

If you're still concerned another easy thing to do for insulation is stack bales of straw around the outside of the coop. Straw bales are amazing insulators.


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 21, 2010
As my chicken compound is still "in progress", it seems you and I are in the same shape for the winter. I'm going to go it without any electric. Everyone has at least a place to get out of the wind with deep bedding. I haven't enclosed any of the runs yet; they seem to really like being out even when it's been at freezing.


RIP 1938-2020
9 Years
Jul 6, 2010
I have a few friends that live in CT--I grew up just over the line in NYS--and I'm pretty sure it isn't going to get as cold there as it gets where I live. That being said, I don't think any heat is necessary for your chickens to be fine all winter. As long as their coop is ventilated so moisture won't build up they will do well in their down coats. Cold to you isn't to your birds. Unless you want to have light in the coop to boost production and give them a little longer awake time in the winter, adding a light for heat probably is going to be a waste of energy and could, should the power go off, be a detriment to their health. They wouldn't have become used to the cold.


11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
What everyone else said. You don't need the heat light at all. You just need a nice sleeping box with lots of straw for the Silkie if she doesn't roost with everyone else. If you were planning on using your heated water bowl in the coop, let me discourage you now. Moisture in the coop in winter is just asking for frostbite. Only use the heated water bowl outside!!! (I rarely use mine anymore. I found the cord is a pain and makes cleaning a hassle. I prefer to use a series of large size Oxyclean buckets - they are free and easy to pick up and change out for fresh warm water in an instant. If I forget to pick up at night and one accidentally freezes solid and breaks, I just toss it in the recycle bin.)


9 Years
May 30, 2010
NE'ern Connecticut
hmmm.... I will think about that because the electricity does make me nervous....

The waterer I have is a complete PITA too!!!! I sorta hate it. You have to fill it from the bottom and then flip it over and make a total mess. It is this one: http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators-All-Seasons-Plastic-Fountain/dp/B001CCSJCQ

wouldn't be able to drink anything overnight when their coop is closed, but they probably wouldn't have anyway?

As long as I have more than one, I could just replace it though, like you said, and just switch them out... hmmm...


8 Years
Feb 11, 2011
Kelso, WA
I think just about every newby buys that , as you said PITA, but x 10, plastic waterer. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't $50.00. Trust me, throw it out now - you will only end up with frozen clothes when it spills all over you. We have mild winters here in SW Washington state with occasional light snow. My first year with chickens I ran a 100 watt red bulb in a very well insulated coop. It did keep the water from freezing but my hens laid all winter. I am thinking the red light may have been like regular light. I only have one Cuckoo Marans hen from my original six. At 2-1/2 years old she lays one egg every week or so. Her first year she laid 4 - 5 per week including winter when I ran the red light.


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