Heat lamps

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dollie 1, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Dollie 1

    Dollie 1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Is it nessary to have heat lamps in the chicken coop & have itr on all night,to keep them warm
     
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    In a word, nope. They have a down and feather coat on that you and I would pay a fortune for. They do a much better job of keeping themselves warm than we can....they trap heat next to their bodies with those coats and as long as they are dry and protected from winds they do just great.

    I don't know where you are located, which would help with an answer, but I'm in Northern Wyoming and I don't heat my coop at all. It isn't insulated either. But it does have a ton of ventilation, and that ventilation is key. Without it, warm moist air envelopes them and it settles on their combs and wattles, leading to frostbite. If they have nice wide roosts they sit on their feet to keep them warm. Good ventilation also removes ammonia buildup from the air.
     
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  3. Dollie 1

    Dollie 1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2015
    We live in the middle of lower Michigan,so do we need the heat lamps at all
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Well, that's your call to make. Personally I don't think the risk of coop fires (and every spring we'll read someone posting that their heat lamp caused a fire when it either fell into the bedding or a chicken flew into it and hit it) justifies providing extra heat just because we, as humans, "feel" the cold. Your winters are damper than ours are here, but we have winds in excess of 60 mph and snow that falls sideways. If your coop is dry and well ventilated, your chickens will be just fine.

    That said, it also depends on the breed or variety of chickens you have. Those with small combs do better. Those with heavy feathering do better. But almost any chicken can do well during the winter. More chickens die from heat than from the cold.

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    You also need to think about supplying water to them. I use a bucket with horizontal nipples and a stock tank heater inside it. Works great almost all of the time, although even though the water inside the bucket never froze the nipples did freeze up a few times when we got to 17 below zero and even colder. But a few minutes with a heat gun took care of that real quick. You'll need to gather eggs more frequently because they will also freeze.

    There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether to heat your coop. And while I don't heat mine, I can't tell you not to. But do try to find something much safer than a heat lamp. I refuse to use them even when I'm brooding chicks outdoors in the run, preferring a plain old heating pad draped over a wire frame, forming an imitation broody hen, as their source of heat. There are ceramic heaters available, and heaters that are flat panels attached to a wall of the coop. Some folks use thermo-cubes so the heat only comes on at a certain temperature and is set to heat only to just above freezing.

    But is it necessary to provide heat? I still don't think so, but that's me in my situation.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nope...need great ventilation 24/7 with no strong (enough to ruffle feathers) drafts on roost area.
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    No, adding heat can actually be worse on the birds. They get acclimated to it, then if the bulb or power goes out, they can die. Chickens are well suited to deal with cold. There are people here on BYC that are in Alaska that don't heat their coops.
     

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