Heat lamp and MI Winter


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 31, 2010
Tyrone Township, MI
I've been offline for the past week and a half, so I'm getting all caught up here! I wanted to ask about our chicks and their heat lamp.

Last Sunday, we realized that the brooder we had built in our basement was too small for them, and so we moved them out to the coop. The coop is divided into two rooms, and we are able to close the door on the smaller side (which they are currently in.) But it is an uninsulated 1/2" plywood structure (was here when we moved in; we would build something different if we had the funds). So we have been keeping two lamps on out there - one above the roosts (which only 2-3 of the chicks are using, the rest still stay on the ground) and one above their feeding area, because we do not have a heated water fountain. The lamps are probably 18-24" above them, but they do seem to huddle underneath them during the cold nights. During the day, they run around pretty well, but there aren't any windows, and it would be quite dark in there if I turned the lamps off. Probably cold, too. We did put about 12" or more deep layer of pine shavings down on the floor, so that's somewhat insulating.

Most are pretty feathered, but some still have some fuzz. They will be five weeks old on Wednesday. We are definitely still in the midst of winter here in MI - despite the 40 degree temp today, it is still getting pretty cold, and will still be going down into the 20's at night.

We are still working on getting the remainder of the coop ready for them. We were supposed to work on that this weekend, but that got nixed due to a health crisis we needed to assist with; we are hoping to have time to work on it here in the coming week. We need to finish cleaning up the corners of the larger room and get a working door on the chicken exit to their yard (we have it blocked currently to prevent predators from getting inside), and we have to brush hog their yard. It has a small fence around it now, but we are working on getting it completely enclosed, as there are hawks, etc around. Not that the chickens are going to be going outside soon, but I guess spring will be here before we know it!

So, if these were your babies, what would you be doing? Waiting until they get more feathers and things warm up a bit before pulling the plug on the lamps? Or is it tough love time? We want to do what's best for them.


10 Years
Aug 8, 2009
Since they are not fully feathered, I would suggest that you leave a lamp in there that they can get under if they want it.

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