Heat lamp


Nov 4, 2020
I have 6 girls that are 10 weeks old. A couple weeks ago I put them in the coop. We've been turning a heat lamp on for about 12 hours every time it got below 40. My wife wants to keep doing it, but I think they'll do okay without using it at all. We live in east Tennessee and it's been dipping in the 20s and 30s pretty frequently. Will they be okay without it?
Thanks for the info. I'll try without the heat lamp - mainly worried when it drops in the teens

Just make sure they don't have any drafts in their living area - as long as there's no breeze stealing their heat they will be absolutely fine.

Now- if it's the first time they'll be without light at night, do check in to make sure they don't panic in the dark. I realize that sounds dumb, but it does happen.

For future chicks, consider using an MHP (momma heating pad) - it can be made with a heating pad that will stay on 24/7 over a frame of some kind. Below is a picture of mine, using the racks you'd screw into the kitchen cabinet door for foil/saran wrap etc. The heating pad is inside an old pillow case. After the picture ... I added a washcloth to the underside and the top, pressed between the racks. I bent the frame so it comes down at about a 40 degree angle- that way the chicks have a range of heat intensity- warmer right up next to the pad or not as warm in the taller section. Please note that I wrapped the "legs" in vetwrap so no heads would get stuck between the gaps, though it's not shown in the picture. And then an old crappy hand towel gets laid over the top, leaving space on the sides for the chicks to slip out. Underneath, I put pine bedding pellets, and cover them with paper towels for very easy clean up. The pellets help suck the moisture out of the poop.



As they get bigger, I put 2x4 pieces underneath the legs. It gets them on a daylight sleeping schedule from the beginning, because the heat isn't producing light. There are as many ways to build one as there are people who have built them. The main points are: make sure it will stand up to having all the chicks standing on top of it without crushing anyone underneath, however you support the pad, that no little heads can get stuck, leaving a space on the front and sides for the chicks to exit so nobody gets trapped, and of course having the kind of pad that stays on (not auto shutoff after 2 hrs). And of course it doesn't use anywhere near the electricity or have the fire danger of a heat lamp.

The "Sweeter Heater" is another much safer alternative to a heat lamp- it is spendy, so if you're not going to do continual chick raising it's probably not worth the investment.
Keep the coop dry and very well ventilated and they’ll be fine. They are barnyard animals and evolved over many years to survive the cold and the heat. Remind your wife that chickens survived for years; way before humans started caring for them.
You can take them off the heat. As long as they are fully feathered, they can withstand the drops in temp. Giving them extra heat is only dangerous, because they won't grow the important feathers it take to stay warm, so then they can't withstand the cold anymore. After that, say your power goes out, lamp turns off, you loose the whole flock.

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