light question


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 8, 2010
i want to build a coop that has a small floro light in it on a timer so they can have the same amount of light all year round. also here in tx we do get snow so i wanted to hook a water heater thermostat to another light fixture and but a red heat lamp bulb in it to keep the coop warm during cold weather. my question is can chickens see red light. i dont want them to see it but just get the warmth from it.because if they see the light i have a feeling that it will keep them up and really cause health problems. i have looked through all my chicken books about this but nothing. Thanks Rod


12 Years
May 29, 2007
Chicken Country, U S A
If you use the big 250w heatlamps, then yes they can still see.
The red light is sposed to reduce things like feather picking and being able to see blood.

I think your trying to ask if red light will interfere with your photoperiod?
I dont think it will . . .

Its not like having a white light for sure.

Edit- Im not trying to be a jerk, but the reason this thread got no replies and you had to bump it, is because this question has been answered MANY times before . . .
Last edited:


12 Years
Jul 23, 2008
Chapel Hill, NC
Something about the idea of using fluorescent lighting troubled me so I Googled it. This is an excerpt from one of the first things I found.

Poult Sci 1987 Feb;66(2):215-7
"[... a significant reduction in egg production was observed with fluorescent lighting from Weeks 58 to 65. The reduced egg production indicated it was detrimental to change from incandescent to cool-white fluorescent lighting." PMID: 3588487

You might want to do some more research before you decide on a setup. I only spent a minute looking for this, but it was enough for me to think that there could be some issues using fluorescent lighting rather than standard incandescent bulbs. It'd be a shame to go to all that trouble only to get fewer eggs.

You also might want to look some more at posts about cold weather and chickens. From what I've been able to glean from scouring this site and others, as long as your coop isn't drafty, your chickens probably wouldn't ever need heat in their coop. I've got Black Australorps which are good layers and also pretty cold tolerant. Before they came to live with us they spent the winter in an unheated coop in Maryland where many, many nights were in the teens and lots of days it never got above freezing. It didn't seem to faze these girls at all. One even hatched a small clutch during that time and even the babies survived the sub-freezing temps. I grew up in Dallas and spent 5 years in Wichita Falls, so I know something about Texas weather. If I were you, I'd be more worried about your flock being able to cope with the heat of summer than the few bitter days of winter.


10 Years
Jul 19, 2009
My understanding of the red heat lamps is that they don't bother the chickens at night as much as regular light bulbs would. The red lamp will NOT keep them up or cause health problems. Typically red heat lamps are used throughout the initial phase for chick raising, the first few weeks when all chicks need at first 90 degrees, then a bit less each week til they grow feathers.


Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
First, never be afraid to post a question, even if it has been asked many times before. You don't know if it has been asked before or not. I assure you some others don't know the answer but may be afraid to ask so you are doing them a favor. And mostly, if only new, fresh, never-before-asked questions were allowed, this forum would die a very quick death. The questions are what keeps it going.

You do not need a lot of light to keep them laying. If you have decent eyes and can read a newspaper by the light, it is enough. No need to pay for more kilowatt hours than you need, so use a smaller bulb.

If you have a well ventilated coop where they roost out of the drafts, you really don't need to add heat in the winter unless you are getting days well below zero Fahrenheit. You can get ventilation without drafts on their roosting area by having the ventilation holes above their roosting area. Something at a lower level that can be opened in the summer and closed in the winter is also a good idea. I'll give you links to a couple of articles on this that might help.

Pat’s Winter Coop Temperatures

Pat’s Ventilation

One problem you might have is water freezing in the winter. Since you have electricity in the coop, you can make a heated waterer. You can use the search feature up in the blue line to help with ideas or start another post on that. I found that a black rubber water dish I got from Tractor Supply keeps the water thawed pretty well when set in the sun and if it froze overnight, I just turned it over and stomped the ice out before I refilled it. That might not work in your set-up.

Good Luck!!!


11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
Minneapolis, MN
My Coop
My Coop
Do florescents work on timers?

There are lots of BYCers using thermocubes, so hopefully they will chime in. I don't have any experience with one as once it gets cold here, it's 24/7 for the season. I just used a simple construction clamp light with a 60 watt bulb set on a $3 christmas light timer.

Lots of BYCers use red light. I'd say that it's the most common form of coop heating on this forum.

My chickens can see red light. It tends to make them crabby and pubescent when it's left on for days on end. I only use it when we have long stretches of temperatures well below 0F.

If you really think you need heat (and I'm not convinced that you do in Texas), then maybe consider a ceramic heat emitter. They can be easily found in varying wattage in the reptile sections of large pet stores or over the internet. They emit directional heat from a ceramic light socket, but no light. I have had mine for 2 L.O.N.G. winters now and I love it. However, a basic white light bulb will emit a small amount of heat as well, so you could be killing two birds with one stone if you need that for egg laying, you know?

Heated dog water dishes are very easy to locate and use. If your water would only freeze temporarily or on rare occasion, I'd opt for a rubber dish during those periods vs. having something that draws electricity.

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