Keeping hens warm in the winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 8 divine chicks, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. 8 divine chicks

    8 divine chicks Hatching

    Aug 19, 2008
    I am thinking about and planning for winter already, I live in Utah it gets quite cold here. I will be running a light to the coop to keep up egg production. I am wondering if 100 watt bulb will also help keep them warm? On those freezing cold night, would it bother the hens to leave the light on all night?
  2. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    Be careful with the bulb, if you use one, make sure it won't touch anything flamable. I've seen on here somewhere that a red bulb is good for heat without making it too bright. I think it was 250 watt, not sure. Is the coop insulated? Perhaps trees or shrubs are around the building for protection? Fortunately my winters aren't too bad, so I won't use a heat lamp.

    But I do use a heated dog water bowl for the chickens waterer, so far so good. How many chooks do you have? They do keep each other warm and cozy. [​IMG]
  3. Fast Chick

    Fast Chick In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2008
    You can get blue spectrum heat lamps from most pet stores. Unlike the red they won't encourage picking and they will give your birds a little warmth without keepign them awake like a regular bulb.
  4. Melilem

    Melilem Songster

    Jun 14, 2008
    I got advice from some chicken people local to me, and it was completely different from what people on BYC have told me. So check with them too!

    I don't think a brooder heat lamp is a good idea in an enclosed area like a coop. It would get too hot. Chickens would benefit from a coop that is just warm enough to prevent frostbite (in areas where the winter temp stays below 30). That way, the temperature change when they go outside is not enough to stress them and make them suseptible to illness. My winter temps are usually between -15 and 30 (30 being what we here in Maine call 'tropical'), and my coop is uninsulated, unlit, and technically too small for it's inhabitants. I havent lost a bird to anything but a racoon, and havent had problems with frostbite or pecking. Of course, the breeds of birds I have are a factor too...Ive had cochins and various kinds of laying hens..all bear confinement pretty well. If they were leghorns or Spanish, well..they would probably peck each other to death in there. For some of my laying hens, I kept a lightbulb in there to encourage winter egglaying, it did seem to put off a little heat...but they didn't huddle around it for warmth or anything. Hmm.. thats all I got.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  5. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    The chickens' body heat should be enough to keep them warm in the winter if you have a nice draft free coop. It helps if it's insulated. If it's not insulated, you can pile straw bales around the walls of the coop.
  6. BawkinOnTheBench

    BawkinOnTheBench Songster

    Jun 13, 2008
    Divine, where in UT? I'm in Utah too - Layton.

    I read somewhere that unless you have a special situation, like very young birds, you should allow the chickens to acclimate. If you heat the coop, the birds will be reliant on that heat - and if we have a storm and you lose power for several hours, you could lose your whole flock.

    I'm going to be moving young birds into a coop in late fall - probably mid-November, and if I need to I may provide them with say, a 100 watt bulb for a while - but if I do I plan to put it on a timer and have it go for progressively less time to wean them off it.

    I don't speak from experience though - this will be my first time.
  7. dogzrule5

    dogzrule5 Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    Sanford, NC
    I have a question about this to. I've got a 12 x 16 barn, earth floor, not insulated, tin roof. I've had had chickens for eight years and they do just fine in there during the winters. I've actually run a drop cord down there and hung a box fan this summer, which has helped them with the heat.

    My question though, is I want to put one of those clamp lamps on a beam next month - now that it's getting dark earlier. I thought it would be nice for them to be able to see if God forbid something actually got in there.

    I've never worried about it before, but seems like Hansel and Gretel, my geese, might appreciate a little light.

    If I do get a clamp lamp, will a red bulb be the right thing to get, and if so, what wattage?

    Thanks for your help.
  8. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

    Jan 27, 2007
    I want to put one of those clamp lamps on a beam next month

    Just make sure to attach the clamp to the beam with screws, or heavy cable ties (have read to many fire stories). Are you looking to provide heat, or just a little light for your birds?

    If nothing but light, a 25w aimed at the ceiling is enough (can see, but stay calm).

    We don't use heat lamp here (mid Mo) unless we've get down to -15° wind chill and then, only during the day (door is open with an indoor/outdoor rug over doorway clamped up so they can get in and out without to much wind) and it is primarily for the light (windows shuttered).

    We had the heat lamp (not IR) on for only two nights last winter (they probably didn't need it). They were all fine. It is not so much the heat, but wind/drafts/humidity that causes problems.​
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  9. dogzrule5

    dogzrule5 Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    Sanford, NC
    I just want to provide them with a little bit of light. They seem to weather the winters just fine w/o extra heat.

    That's a good idea about securing the lamp to the beam. I'm terrified of having a fire and will be very careful.

    Thanks for the feedback, btw! [​IMG]
  10. maine egg man

    maine egg man In the Brooder

    Jul 12, 2008
    thanks for the input on what to do in maine as I to have been wondering about heat, also live in maine and just finished a 8x8 coop for seven soon to be layers , will run a light on a timer just to keep eegs coming, do you let them out in the snow we get up here

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