How much are you spending monthly to heat your coop up a bit?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Solsken Farm, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Solsken Farm

    Solsken Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I chose not to heat my coop this winter to try to not mess with nature. I also was worried about creating a warm, moist environment that would encourage frostbite. However, I am noticing a touch of frostbite on my single comb roos. All the pea combs and girls are fine. So I am wondering if I should rethink the heating plan.

    Currently we have 3 250 watt lamps going for a brooder in the house and a youngsters pen in the barn. My dh is going to be unpleased with the electric bill. We are also running 3 base heaters for the waterers outside.

    What do folks spend for a heating their coop. We have will have 35 -40 chickens in a 10 x16 older coop that is not esp tight.

    This is my first winter with adult birds outside and Maine has been especially cold recently, like 0 or less with minus 20-30 windchills.

    Thanks for your thought.
  2. hiddenmagnolia

    hiddenmagnolia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2007
    South Louisiana
    I don't need to heat I live way down south. If we have a freeze it only last a day or two and is not a hard freeze. Lower 30's upper 20's. Good luck.
  3. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am not heating, but the coldest it's been is -18. What about just putting vaseline on the combs??
  4. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    First, I would ask whether you really need 250 watts for the brooders. I put a thermometer under my brooder lamp, and realized that it was way too warm. Some people say to start with the lamp a certain distance from the brooder, and then raise it every week. Instead, I started with my lamp as close as possible, and then changed out the wattage of the bulb when the chicks were ready for the next level of cooler temps.

    I brooded starting with a 100 watt bulb, then 75, 60, 40, 25.

    Then, depending on where you are in the not-crowded part of Maine (down east? The County? somewhere in between?) -- Get yourself some lower wattage infrared bulbs or heat emitters. At your local hardware/feed store you will probably only find 250 watt bulbs, but you can get them in 150, 100, 75, 50 watts -- take a look around online.

    Then, pay attention to the weather, and only heat the chicken coop when you think the temps in there will be below 15°F -- and put in the lowest wattage bulb to accomplish this. You'll spend maybe $25 on light bulbs, but way cheaper over the long run than the electricity.

    If you run a 100 watt bulb non-stop for a month, that will be about 100 KWH on your electric bill. Multiply it out based on your electric rates.

    For me to run a 250 watt bulb, non-stop for a month would cost me about $28, based on my electric rates. [​IMG] To put that in perspective, my normal bill for my entire household is $35-40, of which $11 is the fee just to get service. In other words, running a 250 watt bulb non-stop for a month would mean that the chickens would be using almost as much electricity as the entire rest of my family.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  5. Solsken Farm

    Solsken Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is very helpful, Vermontgal. I did a 100 watt in the brooder inside and the little ones got pasty butt. They are two weeks old now, however, so I can probably reduce it.

    The chicks outdoors, unfortunately do need that heat right now. They just turned 7 weeks and well, you know what the temps are right now.

    The heated bases are working great for me. I have no idea how much they are drawing, but I will always budget for them

    Thanks for the suggestion on the infrared bulbs. I am going to go look into that tomorrow.

    Edited to add: Wow, how can your electric be so low????????? We have an electric water heater, fairly new appliances and our electric is typically 140-180 depending on the season. Never below 125 and we try to conserve. No hot water for the laundry, turn lights off all the time, etc. I need to do some work here clearly.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  6. Country Gal

    Country Gal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2007
    Capac, MI
    I'm in Michigan and I don't add any heating elements in my coop during the winter. I insulated the walls when I built the coop and I try to purchase chickens that are considered "winter hardy."

    I do keep a standard light bulb in there set on a timer so I can make sure that my ladies get their minimum of 14 hours of light so they keep laying. I also have a heated dog dish that I use for their water through the winter.

    This will be my 2nd winter with the chickens and I haven't had any problems yet... the only thing I run into on occasion is if they are laying early in the morning, sometimes the eggs will freeze and crack open by the time I get home from work to collect them...

    Good luck!
  7. Rufflemyfeathers

    Rufflemyfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2008
    Astatula Florida
    I would love to have an electric bill to run $35 to $40 a month...and we live in Florida warm winter..try electric bill of close to$200 mo before heat lamps..
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I figured out my consumption based on, example, a 40 watt light bulb cost me 13.5 cents a day to run 24 hrs. around $4. a month. You need to get out your electric bill and see how much you pay per kilowatt hr.
  9. BayCityBabe

    BayCityBabe Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2008
    I am running one 250 watt bulb and one base water heater. The bulb is on a timer & runs for a couple hours on/ couple hours off. The coop stays around 30 - 35 degrees, regardless. We have not seen a significant jump in our bill. I anticipated a jump & started nagging my kids to shut off lights. Maybe that helped(?) I think the important thing is to realize that chickens do not need "room temperature." My gals had a ball outside today - in 28 degree weather!
  10. Sylvie

    Sylvie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2008
    No heat but well insulated coop with R19. They have 3 large windows facing south and one west for daytime heat.
    I made a cookie tin waterer heater last evening because I found myself running out to the coop with water most of the morning and in evening due to freezing. That will be all the heat they get.

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