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Heat and Lighting?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Winterose, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Winterose

    Winterose In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    Moodus, CT
    So, In researching coops and chickens i read somewhere that chickens need light in their coop and heat durring the winter. but i've also seen people say they don't give their chickens extra light and they dont heat their coops in the winter in New England. so Im just trying to figure out what to do.

    oh and do they have battery operated water heaters for the chicken waterer because i have no way where we're putting the coop to run an extension cord out to heat the waterer?

    oh also where do u guys keep food and waterers? i see pics with people keeping both outside in the pen? or do they need to be in the coop so the chickens can get to it at night when they are locked in
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013


    JOSEPHC In the Brooder

    Dec 23, 2012
    Long Island New York
    One thing you will learn very quickly, both in your research as well as your implementation of raising backyard chickens, is that many people do things differently and there is no right or wrong manner. Theoretically, heat probably should not be used for various reasons, yet some people do heat their coops. Artificial light "tricks" the chicken's metabolism into thinking that the time of year is not winter, and as such, longer lighted days means more egg laying. However, there is the school of thought that a hen can only lay so many eggs in her lifespan and it is not wise "to fool mother nature".

    In terms of heating a waterer, the main factor to remember is that it is critical to provide water to the chickens and no matter how you do it , especially in the winter, the thing is, you must!

    Theoretically, waterers inside a small coop (e.g. a 3'x4" ) increase the humidity and as such, increase the need for additional ventilation. If the chicken coop is larger (e.g. a chicken house of perhaps 8'x 10', you may get away with it. If possible, with a smaller coop, keeping waterers in the run is is better.

    In terms of feeders, keeping it in the coop, minimizes the rodent and bird and predator attraction. If you keep the feeder in the run, you enhance the likelihood that you will have invitees to your feed.

    However, personal wants dictate that you may like to watch the chickens eat and therefore, keeping the feeder in the run would be better. Do you see already what is happening? You need to match your needs and the chickens' needs to what you think is most appropriate for your individual situation.

    Experiment with what works for you and disregard the general consensus. In the end, you and your chickens need to be happy!
    1 person likes this.
  3. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Songster

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    Winterose BEFORE you add heat to your coop see the thread on Les Farm barn rebuild. Also search the site for coop fires. If you still feel you need to heat your coop after reading those,be very careful and adhere to all safety advice,including dusting inside the coop regularly! Personally, I've never heated a coop and can not remember Pa and Nanny ever heating chickens other than the brooder house that was used for starting about 100 baby chicks every year. They started the chicks in early March and heated the brooder house until mid-April.

    Speaking on light.......I'm one of those that does not use lighting to extend the day,forcing chickens to lay more. If I had production egg-layers and brought in a new flock every year I might,but we don't need that increased production and would rather have our girls longer,as nature intended. To each their own...I don't condem those that do use light.

    Josephs' answer on feed and water is definitive.......the right answer is what works for you,not your neighbor! But I will re-stress his comments about the need to keep water to them at all times. For us that means carrying water out several times a day in sub-freezing weather.

    Good luck and enjoy!
  4. Winterose

    Winterose In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    Moodus, CT
    ok, thanks guys :)
  5. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    You do not "Need" to add any heat to your coop. Unless you have some kind of thinly feathered exotic breed, chickens are built to handle cold weather. All you are doing with a heatlamp is running up your electric bill and taking a chance on burning your coop down. How far away from the house is your coop? Before I ran electricity out to my coop, I hooked up and ran 2 100' extension cords out to it to power up my water fount warmer. I did that for 2 yrs with no problems.
    Also, there is definently a WRONG way to do things, as far as chickens go. You do things the wrong way, as in poor/insufficient ventilation, you'll end up with sick and/or dead birds.
    Check out the link below, it's an old book on how things were done. It goes into how important ventilation is, and the myths of having too much open air/ventilation in a coop. I built my coop from a plan in that book.


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