Heating the Chicken Coop.

Rich Marshall

In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 27, 2011
I am in NY state and the weather has just turned bitter. This is my first winter with chickens and I was planning on heating the coop with a thermoblack outlet and a heat lamp. the block kicks on at 35 and off at 45. I am reading posts everywhere that they dont need heat but I would like to give them something to keep them in the late 30's and I am also reading that heat lamps could cause fires. SO if any any one has any safe suggestions of how to heat my coop that would be much appriciated.


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
They don't need heat as long as they have adequate ventilation and reasonable draft protection, but maybe you need to provide it for you. A lot of what people do for their pet chickens are for the person's benefit. The chickens don't care and don't need a lot of it.

No matter what you do, they do need ventilation over their heads or you need to clean the poop out real regular. Their poop creates ammonia. Their respiratory system is fairly delicate and can be damaged by breathing ammonia. Ammonia is lighter than air so it will rise. You need ventilation for the ammonia to escape that is higher than their heads or you need ot be sure that the poop does not build up enough to allow ammonia.

I don't heat my coop. I prefer to not put my chickens in danger. If the power goes out and they are not acclimated to the cold, they could be in trouble. But that's your choice.

Fire is also a recognizable danger. You'll read posts on here where people have burned the coop down heating it. That's a shame since the chickens probably didn't need the heat to start with.

I suggest you look for some type of heating device other than a heat lamp. Any type of electric device creates some risk, but some are a whole lot safer than others. Try to find a radiator-type heating device or something that does not get all that hot. If you install it properly the chickens are not going to get burned if they bump up against it and it should never get hot enough to start a fire. You probably have a lot of easily-combustable material in that coop. Get something that does not get hot enough to catch that bedding on fire if they scratch some of it on the heating device. It might be beneficial to box or cage it in so they cannot roost or poop on it.

I don't have any specdific recommendations for make and model but if I were going to put a heating device in there, that's what I'd be looking for.

Good luck!


8 Years
Aug 7, 2011
west virginia
Imo heating a coop is bad for their health, esp if its 35 only...I would only consider it if it was below zero for long periods of time...like in Alaska. The coop needs to be dry. Fire hazard...you bet. During this last storm my chickens slept in snow drifts and no body looked cold at all...they like the cold...you would too if you wore longjohns and a down parka all year long :)


7 Years
Apr 12, 2012
Old Lyme CT
I'm in CT on the shoreline, my coop mansion was demolished by frankenstorm, however, the chicken section remains intact , this will be the first winter for my chickies as well. I am not using any heat, clean their poop boards daily, It has cooled down significantly the last couple mornings and the chicks don't seem to mind it at all, in fact right now we are having a blizzard with high winds, and the crazy girls are out in their run chasing snowflakes:) I also got my FIRST egg today !!! My barn "was" 12 x 20, it's now 12 x5 , the part that didn't get damaged was the chicken area (I have closed up that top window and the side window but still have plenty of ventilation:)


7 Years
Oct 11, 2012
Uxbridge MA
Its not actually a blizzard here in MA by any stretch of the imagination. We are having a small snow storm by New England standards. My chickens are doing quite well, they are just shy of 20 weeks and are in a 4x8 coop which is not insulated. I use shavings (about 5-7 inches) on the floor only and it is vented at the roof ridge and has two small windows for venting in the summer time as well. We are thinking of putting some 6 mil plastic under the coop to keep out drafting and MAYBE some foam board but after reading everyone's input on insulation I am now thinking I may not use the foam board after all.

One thing I have found very useful is a remote thermometer which provides a temperature and humidity reading from inside the coop on a display I keep on the kitchen counter. The coop is generally 10 - 12 degrees warmer than the outside temp. Right now at 6 pm its 30 degrees outside and 39 in the coop. The hens all seem happy and healthy so far and by having the ability to see how warm or cold it is inside the coop makes me feel happy too!
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