Should I heat my coop?

tiptonga

Hatching
7 Years
Nov 18, 2012
3
0
7
Ok, I'm new to raising hens. I have 4 hens, 2 Brahmas and 2 Golden Comets. My coop floor is 4x4, with 2 walls being 3 feet high, and the other two are 4 feet high at the peak. I was wondering if I should put in a heat lamp or not. If so, what size? should I just run it on really cold nights? The guy at the feed store recommended a 250W red bulb, but I think that might be a little too much. I live in the mountains of North Carolina, so it can get pretty cold here. Also, with my coop size, how many hens could it comfortably house?
 

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Songster
9 Years
Apr 15, 2010
3,784
70
213
Forest Grove, OR
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My take on it is that a 250w heat lamp is too much. Chickens generally do better in the cold than they do in the heat.

Not sure how cold it gets where you are, but here is an excellent thread for some perspective: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/421122/think-its-too-cold-for-your-chickens-think-again
 

kimadoodle

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
17
0
22
I live in SW VA and have been wondering the same, so far our grown chickens have managed well without an additional heat source, but I have some five week old chicks I'll be adding soon and am a little worried about them adjusting to the cooler environment. Will probably try the heat lamp at night for a while. Our coop is 4x8 and our rooster and four hens fit comfortably on one rung of the roost. The roosts are about 4' long each to give you and idea of length. This will be our first winter with chickens, hopefully will turn out well.
 

tiptonga

Hatching
7 Years
Nov 18, 2012
3
0
7
I appreciate the link. After reading a few pages, I think the heat lamp will be unnecessary. I may use it or a lower watt bulb on extremely cold nights, but I think they'll be alright. I will probably put in a heated water bowl though.
 

cluck1saurus

Hatching
7 Years
Nov 26, 2012
6
0
6
My coop is L5' by D4' by H4'-6'. Housing 4 hens. This is their first winter. They just started laying first eggs in September. Each hen is laying one egg daily since.
We live in Ontario, Canada so it got cold now, below freezing point at night with snow. It did not seem to bother the hens, they continued to lay the eggs.
We got thermocube to use with heating lamp to keep temperature in the coop above freezing. After just one night of red 250W infrared heat lamp being on, all of my chickens did not lay eggs at regular time the next day. They were acting grumpy, were hiding in the darker place under the coop half the day. We turned the heat lamp off at once after seeing this.
It seems the chickens got quite messed up, because one more day later they did not lay any eggs at all. Still stressed, I suppose, in spite of weather getting warmer.
Don't think we'll be using any lamps to heat the coop. It seems that the chickens do better in cold. We decided that we will only be doing something about cold if we see frostbite on the hens.
 

lbrtyldy

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 18, 2011
72
8
31
As long as the chickens are fully feathered (as in not being babies), they should not need a heat source. They have each other and should not be in a cold draft although you still need ventilation, no matter how cold it is. Good luck!
 

stevetone

Chicken Advocate
9 Years
May 3, 2010
322
43
151
Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA
... After just one night of red 250W infrared heat lamp being on, all of my chickens did not lay eggs at regular time the next day. They were acting grumpy, were hiding in the darker place under the coop half the day. We turned the heat lamp off at once after seeing this.
It seems the chickens got quite messed up, because one more day later they did not lay any eggs at all...

Thanks for sharing this. Either the faint light or the heat provided by the IR bulb must have messed with them. I had never thought of this, and have not encountered it in our flocks, but it looks like it could be disruptive to certain flocks. I would guess it was the light that bugged them, but it's just a guess.

oh, and
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fishnet1971

'Birds Momma
10 Years
May 25, 2010
5,584
412
366
'Bird 'n the Fluffy Butts coop in Ohio
I agree to both ways. It just depends on each persons situation. With chicks, I think you will need the heat for them just like you would if raising them in a brooder until they are old enough.

My coop is a 8 X 12 shed 9 ft. high.I have 9 in my flock + 1 resuce without most of her feathers. I do heat with a 250 watt bulb in the 20 degrees and below. my coop never gets below freezing. It comes on at about 6AM and goes off about 6AM. If it is subzero out and the coop gets cold during the day, i have the lights on a timer, so I can periodically turn it on and off. I usually use the red heat bulb in the night and the white bulb during the day if needed. I have not noticed the red light making any behavioral or egg laying changes as well. My coop does not get above 55 in the winter. I know, I know they dont need it, but they are fine (going on 3) but it makes me sleep better at night knowing they are cozy. They have free choice to go out from sun up to sun down. Sometimes they do, sometimes they dont. I have one with some missing feathers, and she stays in when its cold, and goes out when the sun shines or warms up.

My rescue with 80% feather loss has the heat lamp available to her as well right now until she feathers out. This is the lamp that sheds it extra heat to the coop.

Spoiled spoiled I know.... They are all healthy as well, I have not had any heat related issues from them.

I do think if I had another 5 or 6 girls in there I probably wouldn't need the heat. They would produce enough themselves. Oh oh OHHH!!!! I see a need for more girls!!!!
 
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lookyhereboy

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 28, 2012
99
7
33
Drury, MO
I am going into my first winter with chickens as well and after scouring this great web site I have opted for no added heat. They seem quite happy and we have started getting some cold nights for fall. I read another thread with people from Alaska and they don't heat either. If they don't heat, then I'm not wasting the time or money here to heat.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,482
3,548
436
NEK, VT
Northern New Hampshire. Winter lows of -30F a few nights each year. No added heat, no problems.

Good ventilation in coop, sunflower seed for supplement treat, heated water dispenser in run, tarp on prevailing wind sides of run. That's it.
 

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