Heating my coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ken H, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Ken H

    Ken H Songster

    May 21, 2009
    When I built my coop last summer I insulated it with 1 1/2" foamboard and installed two deep red heat lamp fixtures. I wired in a two stage thermostat with a remote sensor. The thermostat is mounted in an electrical inclosure on the outside of the coop. It's been close to 0 degrees F. here in the thumb area of Mich. for the last couple of nights. So far only one of the two heat lamps has been needed to maintain a 35 degree coop temperature. By the way, the white interior is painted 1/4" sheathing on the inside of the coop, not bare insulation. The pic was taken before the last two sections of insulation were installed. I did'nt cover the roof sections with sheathing as the chickens can't reach it to peck at.


  2. buffo1

    buffo1 In the Brooder

    Oct 7, 2009
    our heat lamp deveoped a short or malfunction of some sort- it fell on the shavings and caught fire.
  3. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    The reflectors triple the effectiveness of a heat lamp. Only way I would use one is to make up a grid to cover the whole thing to prevent a heat-cracked or heat-broken bulb from falling into the litter to start a fire. I was thinking of using a series of 75 watt lamps instead of a couple of big really super hot ones. Would cost more tho as would need more sockets/reflectors. I would look for porcelain sockets too because the heat goes up and when a heat lamp bulb is mounted up on a ceiling, the socket gets really super hot. There is a product made for a single screw in type old-time fuse. It is porcelain. Not sure any other types of porcelain are available anymore. Seems all I see is plastic. [​IMG]
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Can I suggest that you REALLY need to put the guards back on those lamps (maybe even home-make better guards, out of 2x4 wire mesh, b/c the two-crossed-wires guards that come with the lamps really do nothing at all to prevent chickens from hitting the bulbs and burning themselves or breaking the bulb). It is unsafe to use heatlamps without the guards installed.

    Also, if those are 250w bulbs (I don't know if they are), is there really 18" clearance on the top and sides? They look somewhat worrisomely close to flammables.

    It does look (I think?) like you've used a second 'safety wire' attachment, in case the primary thing they're hung from fails, which is a very good practice and I wish more people would do it.

    Good luck, have fun,


  5. Ken H

    Ken H Songster

    May 21, 2009
    A wire mesh is over the reflectors. That pic was taken while constructing the coop last summer. Thanks for your concern though
  6. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    I'm from down in south Alabama, and though we're having a wet chilly day (40F and rain) and think it's really miserable outside I realize that it is nothing compared to the cold up north so I may not know what I'm talking about and this suggestion might not really be worthwhile... [​IMG]

    What about using heatsinks similar to how they're used in incubators to help moderate temperature levels? Bricks, cement blocks, jugs of water, bags of dirt, etc.,. Jugs could be filled with hot water and placed in the coop, bricks could be pre-warmed inside the house, etc.,. The heatsinks could sit on the floor, hang from the sealing, be supports for nestboxes, etc.,. Smaller coops would require smaller heatsinks, whereas larger coops could use 55 gallon drums or such. I'm not sure how quick the cold would zap the heat out of the smaller pre-warmed items or if it would be worth it for the heat that large or small heatsinks would store from the heatlamps, but it might be worth thinking about. Resistive heating is the most wasteful heating there is so we might as well make the most of it if we're using it, eh?

    Also, solar heaters have always interested me...very passive but work fairly good if you have clear skies and a southern exposure.

    Just some thoughts...
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  7. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Songster

    May 31, 2009
    Actually, Intheswamp (Ed), I did that on one of our coldest nights here in Colorado last week. It got down to -2 degrees and before I went to bed I heated some water, put it in a gallon water jug with some regular water, because I was worried about whether or not the plastic of the container could take the heat, and buried it in the pine shavings at the bottom of the coop. I have a smallish coop, 4x6x4, insulated with six birds. The next morning the water was frozen, of course, but only about a quarter of an inch around. It seems that it stayed pretty warm throughout the night and it was out there for at least 8 hours. So there is something to what you say.

    I'm trying to figure out a thicker plastic container so I can get the water hotter.

    But then, I wonder if they really need this. I just figure if I'm cold, they're cold. The following night was -4, I did not heat and when I let them out the next morning they were fine and dandy. Just chipper and complaining that the snow was still there.

    But I'll probably do it again if it drops really low. I think the trick was burying it in the shavings to slow the heat emission.

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009

  8. justamouse

    justamouse Hatching

    May 14, 2009
    When I got my chickens the first thing I did was ask how they heated the coop in the winter and I was specifically told to NOT heat the coop in the winter, that the birds cycles will get all messed up and they won't molt when they're supposed to and then not have good feathers for the next winter. This week it's been in the low 20s at night and they come out all kinds of happy but not liking the snow.
  9. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    I would not heat a coop unless it gets below 0. If insulated well then the birds are pretty good about staying warm as long as you feed them for the winter time. I like to make them oatmeal or grits and feed it warm. Crack them some corn or feed popcorn (not popped). I always give them all the oats they want and plenty of treats. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation and thick floor bedding.
    Have a happy winter![​IMG]

  10. BabyGirls

    BabyGirls In the Brooder

    May 24, 2007
    Concord, NC
    This post is what I have been awaiting for. We have used that style of heating lamp for inside the coop. Never had a problem and that style it helped (not a lot) but took the Nip out of the coop. The problem this year seems to be that it doesn't go really dark so one of my girls seems to think it is still Play Time and gets back down off the roost, goes out, in the dark run/pen, to look for bugs. What then becomes and even bigger problem is that we have a motion light outside that is designed to let us know if a predator is approaching the coop/gets inside the coop- this triggers a light to come on when she walks outside at night which now seems like day.

    This is terrible as she thinks it is daytime and she can not see Owls and other larger predators. Not sure how this happened but I have a serious problem now as she thinks inside it is daytime and time to get back down! We are near Charlotte, NC and no it doesnt get really below 0 but it gets down to the Teens at time and I dont want them to freeze inside the coop.

    Any Advice is GREATLY appreciated !

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