Heating advice please:

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mudhen, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    I am thinking of purchasing a CERAMIC HEAT EMITTER NO LIGHT BULB 100 WATT (avail in 60 and 150 wt too)
    for my coop and use it with a rheostat (sp?) to control the temperature.
    Any thoughts pro or con?
    Or if I use a regular heat lamp light bulb, what advice do any of you have for wattage?
    Is there a difference to the chicken if I use a clear or red bulb?

    I suppose the reason I am hesitant to use the heat lamp light bulb is the fact the it generally stays on all night and I feel this would affect the laying, and/or brooding hen?

    Then again, the reasearch I've done on the ceramic (no light) heat bulb, doesn't mention using for poultry, only talks about lizards (yick [​IMG]) and terrariums.

    To help Millie out in this cold weather, I placed a small heating pad in the bottom of her nesting box, set on the lowest temperature.
    It has straw over it, and she has been happily sitting on her eggs.

    But when, and if the chicks come, I'm going to have to crank up the heat a bit more in there.

    sigh..so much to learn..

    All advice/ideas/comments appreciated.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2007
  2. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    I have a 100 watt ceramic bulb in my coop directly over the one of the warterers and I turn it on at night if freezing weather is forcaste and off during the day. It does not product tons of heat and probably does very little to even take the chill off the 8x12 coop. I have a ceramic heat cube in one section as well. I placed that one on a Thermo Cube that acts like a thermostat. It comes on at 35 degrees and cuts off at 45 degrees. So far the waterers have stayed free of ice.
  3. When a hen is brooding chicks you do not have to add heat. She will take care of them. If you want to keep water frost free the best way to do it I think is to have a waterer defroster. Adult chickens can keep themselves warm just fine if they have shelter from wind. Mine are out in the -25C here on any calm day and doing fine. Windy days the barn doors stay closed.

    There are huge risks with both types of heaters, we have had quite a few members on the board that have lost all their chickens (and coop) to smoke or fire. When I have hatchery chicks I build an electric hen so that they can be brooded with just regualr houshold light bulbs which is risk enough I fingure, but I have had them fall into the shavings and not set fire. The same can't be said for a heat lamp, they fall they will cause fire. Nan had one in a cage light one of her chickens on fire when it walked by! Lucky she was there to take action.
  4. byrnejansen

    byrnejansen In the Brooder

    Jan 18, 2007
    We have switched to buckets of water in the freezing weather, the chickens usually drink the water by the time it could freeze, we replace it once in the mourning and once in the evening. as far as temps, so far so good, the average is mid thirties and the hens are still laying fine and there was no change during the cold snap a few weeks ago, a week of temps in the teens. (unusual here in washington) no heat just numbers, eighteen chickens in one coop and roughly eighty five divided free choice in three others small coops. as far a brooding and hatching, i'm electing to keep mine from doing so until spring when the wild birds do theirs.
    any way good luck, aside from heating chicks i do not like using devices, we almost had one fire, four broken bulbs due to horse play (chicken play???), and an almost non-perceivable difference once your coop size increases over a four foot by eight foot aria.
    as far as building a brooding coop for one chicken and her clutch, a lizard heater can't hurt, (are chickens not just feathered lizards?), other than malfunction. just build it small enough to be effective and probably place the heater where she will not be nesting (cook the eggs?) since she can regulate those temps.
    good luck, i can't wait to start hatching my self
  5. raysflock

    raysflock In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2007
    newfoundland, canada
    I have 18chickens and 1 rooster in a 8'x10' coop I keep a 40watt light bulb on at all times. The only time the water bucket freezes is when the outside temperture goes to -20c or colder.
  6. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    I have a 4'x4' coop (Looks like an outhouse![​IMG]) and the water froze the first winter here. So I put it on a thing that looks like an oil pan with a dooheeky that stays warm enough to keep the water from going below 35 degrees.
    I've used that each winter for the past three years.
    For a while I tried using a red heat bulb (hung up high so no one could brush up against it) at night when expecting a freeze, but I stopped doing that because of (probably stupid) reasons:
    1) It was a little disconserting seeing a red glow at night from the coop. (I can see the coop from my bedroom window.)
    3) More than that though, I thought that leaving a light on at night would effect the laying, having read that it is in tune to how much daylight they need, etc.
    2) I began to think it couldn't be a good thing for the hens to have the coop be so warm at night, then get cold during the day.
    Without the heat lamp, the girls have been OK the past couple of winters. But now we are going to have babies out there and that's why I am revisiting the heat lamp bulb (red vs. clear) vs. ceramic heat bulb issue.
  7. When the temp gets down in the single digits, I plug in the 250 watt red infrared bulb. It hangs from the ceiling about 1/2 way down, with several "safety" features. Usually the hen house heats up to about 33 degrees or more. I don't want them to get too used to the heat, so only run it if it is terribly cold. It doesn't send out too much light. The chickens all go to roost as normal. I get about 5 eggs a day from 12 hens. I let the hens out if the temp is around 15. Merry
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2007
  8. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    It is rare we get single digits, but mid-20's at night sometimes.
    What is best range to keep temperature?
    Too warm if its 60 in there and 30 outside in daytime? (Colder at night of course, but I don't check temp in coop then).
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2007

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