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Heat Lamps with Red Bulbs and fighting birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pat45159, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. pat45159

    pat45159 In the Brooder

    Jun 29, 2010
    new vienna, OH
    I broke down and decided to use a heat lamp (with red bulb) two nites ago (low was 3 degrees F here - SE Ohio). My Brahma's and Brahma crosses (about 5 to 6 months old), who are normally very placid, started World War III as soon as I turned the lamp on (they had settled in for the nite). After watching 2 minutes of screaming, pecking, and shrieking, I decided the lamp was doing absolutely no good other than keeping them warm by fighting and trying to kill each other - so I turned it off. Everyone calmed down, including me, and we all survived the night just fine. I tried the lamp again this morning, a bit before dawn with temperatures at 5 degrees F, just as they were first stirring about and same thing happened. This time I didn't wait for warfare to break out, just turned the lamp off and peace returned.
    I really don't intend to use heat lamps very often, but we do get some below zero weather here, and I wanted to have something to use just in case. Could the red light be the problem? I know that I can get some clear bulbs, but wondered if anyone else has had this problem with red bulbs?
    Also considering the radiant flat panel heaters or a heated kennel mat (expensive and I'm not sure how safe they would be in a chicken coop). I didn't mention that for some reason my birds will not roost. They prefer to pile in top of one another, so I use quite a bit of pine shavings.
    Anyone else have this problem?
    Thanks for any help, this is my first winter with chickens, so I've got a lot to learn.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    In that situation I would not be concerned that they weren't roosting, as they should be warmer in the pine shavings.

    On here it is generally claimed that either they can't see red or red bothers them less. My personal experience is that any light bothers them to some extent.

    Even I have had to remind myself that they will be fine in the cold, with lows below 20 and wind chills in the single digits. But they will. Note that I have some chicks out there under a mama, just over 2 weeks old. I just watched them play out from under her for an hour without going back to get warm, with temps around 25. I have a heat lamp in there, well secured, over a waterer. They could get under it near the waterer if they wanted, but they don't, they take their drink and go back to the cold. If babies can take this weather, surely well feathered adults can.
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Quote:I beleive the recommendation for a red light is in a brooder when one chick has been injured & is bleeding.

    If the chicks are crowded they peck at each other. If one starts to bleed they all home in on the red blood spod & kill the chick. If you use a red light - they cant distinguish the blood spot from the rest of the chicks.

    red lights are otherwise not needed.

    I believe most people here will tell you not to heat a coop in the winter. The moisture inside a closed up coop will cause mold & other issues. in the summer the coop should be open & vented so the moisture can escape - in winter we close them up against the wind & trap the moisture in.

    Just consider blue jays & cardinals do just fine all winter & they don't have a coop to sleep in![​IMG]
  4. Mucky

    Mucky In the Brooder

    Mar 30, 2010
    small town iowa
    I have a ceramic heat bulb that only gives off heat, no light. I got it at a pet store, near the reptile stuff. It gets hot really fast. You will need a nice heat lamp, properly secured, to use it. Mine is hooked to a thermocube. It cycles itself on and off as needed. I really don't know much about chickens or red heat bulbs but my setup seems to be working well. Most people here will tell you that extra heat is not necessary, but if you decide you need it here is an option for you.

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