Heat lamp???????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by starfish35, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. starfish35

    starfish35 In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2010
    Does anyone heat the coop in the winter? If so, what kind of equipment do you use? This coop is very tiny and the roosting space is very small, need to know what I can use to keep three hens and a rooster warm?

  2. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    Flippin, AR
    No heat needed. I live in frigid Iowa, and my hens live in a large, drafty hen house. The roosting area is cozy, and the 54 hens there live quite well without heat. I do have a light on a timer to extend daylight and a heater under the water. Other than that, my girls are quite happy with their thick coat of feathers. One note...lower temps and shorter days = fewer eggs.
  3. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Adding heat to a very small coop can be risky. A heat lamp should be at least 18 inches away from any coop surface (top, bottom and sides), plus the bulb needs to be covered so no chicken can fly or jump up into it and burn her comb. Some coops are so small that there is no possible way to manage those safety limitations and still have room for chickens to be in there, too.

    Are you really sure your chickens need heat at all? Unless you have a breed of chicken that is known to be sensitive to cold (Seramas, for example), most chickens can handle quite cold temperatures as long as they have a dry, draft free but adequately ventilated shelter.
  4. swimmer

    swimmer Songster

    Aug 17, 2010
    We have a small coop. 5ftx5ft. We do not heat either and have had many nights sub zero. They birds have been fine.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Wild birds do not have heat and they prosper. Your birds will do better without it. They acclimate just fine.
    -5 and -10 here almost nightly. Zero issues. They thrive.
  6. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Songster

    Jan 6, 2011
    I read all the threads about birds not needing any heat. Then I get into the disease and illness section and read about all the birds that are sick since the cold weather started. HHmmmm. I'm sure there are plenty of healthy birds that don't have heat, I'm sure there are some sick birds that do. I guess it's just a matter of personal opinion. I can see how an already sick bird might benefit from having some warmth while trying to fight off illness.

    We live in a fairly temperate climate, but for those nights below freezing, I turn on their heat light. It's just a 50 or 60 watt red heat light. It's not intense at all, probably keeps the little coop around 40-45 degrees when it's below freezing. Everybody has to do what is right for them, but I sleep better at night knowing my birds aren't just alive, but relatively comfortable. I'm sure they would totally survive if I didn't, but they are very healthy and I figure I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. Like yours, my coop is small and holds 4. (Though I have a new coop in the garage ready for 8! Can't wait) Since I have the electric cord out there, they also have a heated dog bowl so the water stays unfrozen. I love it too!

    For safety, I do dust the bulb once a week and it is double hung so if one hook fails, there is another catch. You also have to make sure it is a ceramic lamp, not a cheap shop lamp. The bulb should screw into a ceramic catch. On really cold days, they huddle in front of it, so I know they like it. My silver laced wyandotte is my cold girl. Even as a chick she never left the heat lamp like the others. As a year old lady, she is the one that sleeps under it when it's turned on. Funny.

    Here's a picture:
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  7. AlabamaChickenLady

    AlabamaChickenLady Songster

    Jan 4, 2011
    Oak Grove, Alabama
    I have a red heat light inside my large coop. Its been getting down to 10deg at night here lately and the lamp has been keeping it about 40-45 deg in there. Since the heat lamp keeps the coop warmer, I don't need a warmer for the water. If it weren't for the 21 - 8 week old chicks in there with the 6 larger ones, I wouldn't have a heat lamp.

    On a side note, my heat light was not double hung, and they knocked it down somehow this morning. Good thing we go out to check on them 3-4 times a day or it could have been a horrible disaster. [​IMG] Some of the straw and pine chips were smoldering when we found it. We double hung the heat light now, so they can't knock it down. But we will continue to check in on them 3-4 times everyday just to be sure they are all safe, fed, and well taken care of.

  8. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:Certainly, a bird that's sick benefits from supplemental heat. But I doubt very much that a healthy bird is going to become ill just because of cold weather. On the other hand, I can readily believe that a bird that is kept inside an inadequately ventilated coop is more likely to develop respiratory problems from the poor air quality. Unfortunately, many people think that once winter comes they should shut down all their ventilation to keep the coop warmer.

    I would be nervous about using a heat lamp without a guard that completely covers the bottom of the shade. Those "T" style bulb guards don't really do much to prevent a chicken from knocking into the bulb and breaking it or burning her comb on the bulb.
  9. starfish35

    starfish35 In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2010
    Thank you for everyones thoughts!! I feel they need the heat because last winter we had not heat and the rooster lost the top of his comb to frost bite. One day there was blood all in the coop and all over the rooster. I assume this was the pain he had from the comb becoming frost bit. Then as the days went on, the tips of the comb turned black and when summer came they fell off. Now he has a smooth comb! Now parts of that are turning black. I would feel better too that the chickens are warm and comfortable and not just alive out in the cold.
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    This topic gets beats to a pulp here, but again, what did the breeder's of these chicken do for "heat" 100 years ago when these chickens were kept, bred and developed all over North America?

    There was no electricity.

    Cold weather hardy birds were bred on this continent, by North Americans and many still bear the names like Delaware, Plymouth Rock, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, etc. These breeds were bred and kept for a century before anyone ever thought they needed extra winter heating. Poor ventilation is small coops is the culprit far too many times. The vast majority of the issues are caused by moisture frosting, not temperatures per se.

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