Heat Lamp in the winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blackwpk, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. blackwpk

    blackwpk Chirping

    Aug 21, 2014
    Hello! I am new at this venture and would like to know if anyone uses their heat lamp during the winter. I am using it now as my new flock is 5wks old, but didn't know if I needed to use it much come December, when they should be fully feathered. Can anyone help me?? I also bought some Pine shavings the other day to put down in the coop, along with the straw I have down already. We are in NW Oregon and the nights have been low 40's last couple nights. The girls seem to be doing fine with me having the heat lamp on a timer to come on and go off in intervals.
  2. Free as a Bird

    Free as a Bird Chirping

    Aug 20, 2014
    New England
    I use a heat lamp in the winter. I know a lot of people don't but I have had some mild frost bite problems in the past. You definitely don't have to use one. I know a lot of people who get along just fine without one. I usually just plug in the light when I lock up the coop at night and then unplug it in the morning (if it is a pretty nice day).
  3. blackwpk

    blackwpk Chirping

    Aug 21, 2014
    oh okay, good to know! I do have a regular low watt light in there and figured I could put it on the timer to turn on early in the morning, turning off when it is daylight. I know the hens need so much light per day to produce and be healthy.
    Thank you for your help![​IMG]
  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Heat in winter is only necessary if you have very young chicks. If your birds are fully feathered, they should be fine without heat. They provide their own heat, around 5 watts per bird. Make sure they don't have drafts blowing on them, but you don't want to cut off ventilation. Cold and dry is fine for them, You don't want cold and wet. A coop without ventilation gets too much moisture in it which is bad for the birds.
  5. WYNot

    WYNot Songster

    Mar 19, 2013
    Casstown, OH
    Absent unusual circumstances or breeds that are susceptible to the cold, heat lamps and such are more often than not for our benefit than the chickens'.

    My reply in another thread...
    One thing I never see is much discussion on one of the downsides of heat lamp, excessive insulation, etc. And that is not allowing the chickens to acclimate to the changes in weather. I'm not talking about leaving them out on a frozen tundra with no shelter, etc. Rather just taking measures to ensure they are protected, fed, and watered. Allowing for the chickens themselves to grow accustomed to the changing weather. Just my own opinion/observations from raising livestock nearly all my life. Growing up we raised beef cattle. As long as they had clean food, clean water, some shelter, and clean, dry bedding they were fine. They put on extra fat and fur. Some of them got downright shaggy every winter. I notice the same thing in myself. If I'm out and working a lot, I get used to the cold and am not bothered by it. However if I'm indoors a lot (because of work, etc) and don't have a chance to acclimate, the cold can really bother me till I do acclimate. And for the record, once I am acclimated, I do enjoy tent camping in cold (even sub-zero) weather. :D

    Again, just my own personal opinion/ramblings/observations. I tend to view my chickens as a source of food, income. occasionally entertainment, and an investment. They are spoiled and well taken care of but they are not pets and I have no issue putting one in the freezer/cookpot. Everyone has chickens for a different reason and has their own views on how to manage them.
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I put my chicks outside into their new (and as of then still unfinished) coop when they were 5.5 weeks old on April 1st.. I had a wireless thermometer in there and during the first night it read in the low 20s. I was up and down all night checking on them. I had a heat lamp in there but every time I looked in on them they were in a pile by the pop door, nowhere near the corner where the lamp was. I was freezing getting out of my nice warm bed - they were fine. The second night I only got up once to check them - and again they weren't near the heat lamp. So that third day I took the lamp out....no point in risking a fire if they weren't even going to use it. That night it snowed. And it snowed many more times after that. We got our last snowfall on June 6th. They absolutely thrived.

    So I have no plans to add any supplemental heat this winter. Our coop isn't insulated and has no heat source other than the girls themselves. Plenty of ventilation so humidity doesn't build up. I'll also keep their water outside in the run with a small tank heater in it. We have an exhaust fan, a window, the pop door (which stays open year round) and a gable vent on the east side. We have a window on the south side, a window and low floor vent and an upper vent on the west side, and 2 vents on the north side. I can open or close every opening, depending on which way the winter winds are howling so no matter which way the snow is blowing around I can close off just that one side to avoid direct drafts on them.. Our run is made of cattle panels bent over, and we'll remove the partial tarp we had for shade and replace it with heavy duty clear greenhouse plastic before the snow flies so the run will remain relatively warm and dry.

    Their first week outside.....I'm glad they aren't as "delicate" as I originally thought!

    Coop and run in the summer - notice all the ventilation on the East side. All they really need is good ventilation, protection from direct drafts while they roost, and a healthy diet to supplement the wonderful winter protection they already have in their feathers and high body temperature. Yours will be fine.
  7. desertchicken92

    desertchicken92 Chirping

    Jul 4, 2014
    Last year it was -22 out. I have a coop that's roughly 7 by 8 and 7 feet tall with only 4 chickens in there (had many hens years ago). I don't heat the coop but when it gets that cold maybe I will heat the coop with a bulb? What do u guys think?
  8. blackwpk

    blackwpk Chirping

    Aug 21, 2014
    I have about the same size coop, maybe a little bigger, than yours, desertchicken92, and have it insulated with ventilation so no breezes coming through on them. I have just a 20amp light that comes on at 3am, stays on all day until 8pm, then off via a timer. Since we have SO much rain and darker days here, it's hard to open anything up with the blowing rain. They seem quite satisfied but have finally ventured outside on their own the other day between rain storms. They are 10wks now. I had the heat lamp on off and on during the nights until a couple weeks ago. Since they are all feathered out, they seem to be fine when it gets into the low 40's (for right now anyway). They are happy roosting, eating, drinking and just plain running around, lol.

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