Should I heat my coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by featheredfamily, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. featheredfamily

    featheredfamily Hatching

    Jun 29, 2012
    I live in Sacramento, Ca and it gets down to about 30 degrees (that is cold to me). I don't like the cold and don't want my chickens to be cold. Someone was telling me I should not heat the coop, why? I am building a smaller coop for the winter and I was just going to add a light, 80 watts or so to create heat. Should I use a heat lamp, a regular bulb, or nothing at all.

    Thanks, Alex

  2. groundpecker

    groundpecker Songster 7 Years

    Jun 26, 2011
    Rison, Arkansas
    You should not heat your coup. Your birds should be fine. It got down to 28F a couple nights last winter and my birds done well. I have read here on byc that some people living in alaska have no heat in their coops, and their birds do well.
    If you heat your coop, your birds will become used to the heat and may suffer greatly if the heat is not there.
  3. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster 6 Years

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    Why risk a fire caused by a heat lamp when even the least cold tolerant breeds will be fine in Northern CA. winters? I don't even close the windows until it's 34 degrees and even then we have 6 square feet of opened ventilation.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  4. featheredfamily

    featheredfamily Hatching

    Jun 29, 2012
    Thank you all very much! I will just put a smaller coop with tarp in there so they can escape to a smaller warmer place if they desire.

  5. JackE

    JackE Crowing 8 Years

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    How many chickens do you have. Depending on that number, I would watch how small a coop I keep them in. Do not pack them into a small coop to "Keep them warm". You cram to many into too small a space and you will probably end up with sick birds. They NEED a lot of fresh air, even during winter.
  6. mickey328

    mickey328 Songster

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    Most chickens, other than the tropical breeds, will do fine for no colder than it gets there. They generate a lot of heat and feathers/down are excellent insulation. I would recommend just making sure they have plenty of litter to snuggle into. If you heat it, the difference between in and out will be troublesome.
  7. sassyfras

    sassyfras Hatching

    Oct 18, 2012
    I keep a deep layer of woodshavings on the floor, 8 to 12 inches, for winter when the nights get cold the chicks will dig down and cuddle up if they need too. I live in southern Indiana so the nights can get into the low teens often. They do very well. plus with the deep layer the house stays dry. I throw in a handful of scratch once or twice a week they stir it up and the floor stays dry......I don't have a light or heat source of any kind

  8. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster 6 Years

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    We originally planed to buy a coop kit but couldn't find one that had enough ventilation. We found some pretty nice looking coops on craigslist but it was the same problem three. In fact two of the people selling their coop were doing so because all their hens died over the winter and I can't help but think that being shut into a window less box with three or four 3" circles cut out of the sides to let in air. In the end so decided not to spend money on a kit or used coop if we would end up needing to make modification

    It's very important that the coop be well ventilated. Lots of moisture in the air (that can cause frostbite and respiratory problems) is a far bigger problem that cold Allowing 1 sq ft of ventilation per chicken will assure that your chickens stay healthy.

    Our 5 ' wide X 7 ' long X 7 1/2' high coop has 14 sq ft of ventilation. We built it for 7 free ranging hens, but currently have five. We can close off about 8 sq ft (three small windows). Two of the eave vents can be closed, though it has never once been cold enough to actually close them. The remaining four sq ft are opened all year round. I don't use deep litter in my coop but it's an excellent suggesting for cold climates. I also think that the hens would cuddle up together in a nest box if they were cold enough.
  9. yo burrill

    yo burrill Chirping

    May 20, 2012
    Garland, ME
    No you absolutely do not need to heat your coop!!! I dont heat my coop and it gets -10 deg or less. :)

  10. americaunus

    americaunus In the Brooder

    Oct 19, 2012
    So as not to start a similar thread, here goes.

    We have converted an old grainary and are using two of the stalls for the chickens (10). This way they have plenty of room to run when the weather is not so nice. Here the winters get cold. I am wondering about a heat lamp and if it is necessary. The building is ventilated well enough, naturally, if you know what I mean. We are in the process of fixing it up. The ceiling/roof is high, so it is very open. A heat lamp would only give them a bit if they really needed it.

    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

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