Using an infrared lamp for rescued featherless hens

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
130
188
96
Czech Republic
Hi everyone!

I recently rescued 5 hens from an industrial poultry house and the conditions there were so bad they miss most of their feathers. They are recovering swiftly, however, the weather is getting colder here in central Europe, with autumn approaching - temperatures at night are about to drop to around 8°C in the upcoming days. I was thinking about ways to give the hens additional heat during nights and I realized that an infrared lamp I originally bought for chicks (which, in the end, didn't hatch) could be used just for that.

It's a 150W lamp that is originally meant for human use, but I figured it will work as well as any other - the technology is pretty much the same. It's quite warm I would say, especially after being turned on for a couple of minutes, but I saw that the bulbs that are sold for poultry are even stronger with 250W. I originally thought I would keep it running through the night, but while checking up on the hens I quickly realized it would be too much - the coop gets heated nicely after several minutes. The manual says that the sessions (for humans) should be around 15 minutes optimally and can be as frequent as one likes, but there should be at least an hour of pause between them.

So I was thinking I would buy a digital timer and set it so that the lamp turns for 15-20 minutes during the night and then switches off for say 1-1,5 hour before turning on again.

Do you think that is optimal? Would it be too much for the hens or the infrared light can't be overused (is there something like an overdose from infrared?)?

I figured the light would not only help with the heat, but it would boost their immunity (which is really needed after what they've been through) and it could also help with moulting and regrowing back their feathers.

Thank you in advance for your opinion!
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Sep 13, 2011
21,563
32,992
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southern Michigan
I've had birds going through a pretty severe molt in midwinter (what were they thinking!) and do fine with no heat in the coop. If they have a good coop, ventilated, but no drafts on them when roosting (can they roost yet, or are they still on the floor?) they will be fine.
And 8C isn't that cold yet, especially if they are now growing feathers. Intermittent heat and cold would not be better, IMO.
How about a lower wattage bulb, just to take a bit of the chill off?
In a power outage, if you have them, birds used to heat won't be so happy either.
Mary
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
130
188
96
Czech Republic
I've had birds going through a pretty severe molt in midwinter (what were they thinking!) and do fine with no heat in the coop. If they have a good coop, ventilated, but no drafts on them when roosting (can they roost yet, or are they still on the floor?) they will be fine.
And 8C isn't that cold yet, especially if they are now growing feathers. Intermittent heat and cold would not be better, IMO.
How about a lower wattage bulb, just to take a bit of the chill off?
In a power outage, if you have them, birds used to heat won't be so happy either.
Mary
Thank you for your opinion!

Some of the hens have a little feather cover on some spots on their body, but nothing significant. And there are some which are literally featherless. I hope they will start growing feathers soon but in the meantime, I was a bit worried that the lower temperatures might make them too cold during nights, since they have no insulating layer whatsoever.

The coop is well ventilated (not insulated though) I would say, no draft and the whole roosting house is above ground.

I was thinking that the occasional heating during nights might be welcomed until they grow their feathers back - and that infrared wavelengths could actually help with that as well. But I have absolutely no experience, it's just a feeling. :)
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
130
188
96
Czech Republic
I've had birds going through a pretty severe molt in midwinter (what were they thinking!) and do fine with no heat in the coop. If they have a good coop, ventilated, but no drafts on them when roosting (can they roost yet, or are they still on the floor?) they will be fine.
And 8C isn't that cold yet, especially if they are now growing feathers. Intermittent heat and cold would not be better, IMO.
How about a lower wattage bulb, just to take a bit of the chill off?
In a power outage, if you have them, birds used to heat won't be so happy either.
Mary
Oh and most of them already roost, some still prefer to be on the floor.
 

Vickischics

BYC Songster & Master Egg Collector!
Premium Feather Member
May 6, 2020
1,452
3,481
326
Space Coast of Florida
I think a lil chicken jacket is in order! Lol.
I like the light idea to take the chill off esp at night and the early morning.
Be careful as some can be a fire hazard and the girls won't be able to escape from the flames nor heat.
That place must have been terrible.
 

BDutch

Crowing
May 19, 2015
1,755
5,656
367
the Netherlands
My Coop
👍 to care for these rescued hens.
Autumn is a good time to adjust to the cold imo. I would never give intermitting heat and wouldn’t add much heat either because they need to grow some down and feathers before its getting freezing cold . A few hens roost already , this is a good sign they endure the colder nights. These are birds you know and handle cold better as us humans.

If you start heating now , you probably need to heat all winter. But if the feathers don’t grow back you have a reason to worry, In that case I would add just a little warmth fi with a safe heating pad and leave it on all winter nights.
 

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