I have a couple of winter questions - light/heat

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nuchickontheblock, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

    652
    6
    133
    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    we have a small a-frame coop with a fenced in pen area below and our chickens have done the free range in our fully fenced in back yard since we got them in May. the coop part is about 3 ft x 6 ft for 3 girls and the pen widens out to about 4 ft x 6 ft. For the winter here in Maine, we plan to put in a light that we think would provide heat and light for about 12 hours each day in the coop (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The coop has one very small window and a small amount of light comes in from the ramp to the pen. Basically it is very dark in the coop if the open hatch top needs to be closed in the winter time. We use pine shavings and don't plan to insulate it, although we will put some type of wind break around the pen and hang something around the coop to cut the wind chill. Any ideas for that? Is a 75 watt bulb too much for that space or would a 60 watt do? It is starting to get into the 40's at night now and temps here on the coast usually drop to about 10-15 in the winter. Wind chill can make it feel way colder. At what temp should we start the light. And what about the night time when it may be colder and we don't plan to have the light on. any ideas? I'm getting worried about them freezing out in the dark and cold come winter.
     
  2. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    In the wintertime I have a daylight bulb running during the day and a heat lamp running 24/7. I usually start using the heat lamp when the temps get into single digits. Chickens don't need heat and can stay pretty warm, but to me it gives me peace of mind to give them a little heat once those temps and nasty windchill hit. Also using a heat lamp instead of a light bulb can reduce the amount of hen pecking when they're cooped up. I have my daylight bulb on a timer so that I don't need to worry about going out and messing with lights and the heat lamp on all day and night.

    For your windscreen, you could just use visqueen (plastic) so that some light will be able to filter through. That'll keep the snow and wind out just fine. Plus it's fairly reasonable in cost.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If you're wanting to stick with a reg. light bulb, they do sell red ones that aren't heat lamp bulbs. If you're going to do that, it would be simpler to have two lamp outlets in one programmable timer. That way you don't have to run out and switch. Even a 60 w bulb will give off a little warmth if hung (safely/securely) above the roost, with decent head clearance. But most say that if there are no drafts...the housing is nice and tight...then most chickens will do fine down to zero degrees on their own. Some folks try to make things a little more comfortable for their birds (me included [​IMG]) by offering a little warmth. Add extra bedding, wrap a tarp or heavy clear plastic around the prevailing wind side of your A frame...things like that will help if you're not adding a bulb. Water will be your biggest issue most likely, and you'll have to decide whether you're changing out water a few times a day or using an electric dog bowl or a heater base for that.
     
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    31
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Your birds will be fine even without the heat as long as the coop is vented and they can get out of the wind. Going with the lower wattage bulb will be ok for the birds as well as your pocketbook and peace of mind. One other thing to consider: As long as it is dry, allow the manure to build up in the coop--that will add some heat as it composts. Wait until it warms up in the spring to remove it.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by