What kind of heater do you all recommend for my coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by starmaid, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. starmaid

    starmaid Hatching

    Jul 20, 2014
    It's a small coop, but it's a COLD winter, and my four girls need warmth during those long cold months.
  2. Indiana feather

    Indiana feather In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2014
    northeast Indiana
    Hi starmaid. I am just a novice at this but i live in northeast Indiana and it can get pretty cold here too. We are going with a heatlamp with a 125 watt bulb. It provides heat and light at the same time. The area i have my chickens is big enough that they can get away from the heat if they want. Since they are just a month old they still kind of like the heat. I have heard as they get older they may not even need heat but i plan on going with it this yr at least. Good luck!
  3. ChickensInHugo

    ChickensInHugo In the Brooder

    Aug 30, 2013
    Hugo, MN
    We live in Minnesota, and our coop is insulted with 15 chickens in it. We run an extension cord to it in the winter. Last year we used a small portable heater with a fan, but this year we want to use passive heat since the heater kept getting filled up with dust. We don't want to use a heat lamp because of fire risk. Most of the small non-fan space heaters use more power than extension cords are rated to handle.

    Question: If we made a metal or wood box with 4-6 100 watt light bulbs in it, would that provide enough passive heat when we have several nights that get below zero, including an occasional -20 or worse temp? The coop is 6 x 9 feet with insulated walls and good insulation. FYI we have a Phoenix hen and a Polish hen among the birds, and those breeds aren't supposed to be very cold hardy.

    Thoughts and alternative suggestions are appreciated. Thank you!
  4. Where do you plan on buying your 100 Watt light bulbs?


  5. FYI, this law isn't the doomsday the media and many stores are hyping it up to be... The law only applies to general service light bulbs sold for general lighting purposes... IMO it's been purposely hyped up by many to sway the consumer to the alternatives by not telling the entire truth...


    Read the laundry list of light bulbs the law does not apply to...

    Notice how utterly stupid and wide open those exemptions to the ban are, for example look at exemptions 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, and 19... You could drive a freight train though those exemptions by just marketing the exact same light bulbs for one of those 'exempt' purposes...

    This company is already exploiting the loop hole and they are proud to brag about it, I'm sure many more will follow...


    Anyway back on topic, most will argue that no heat is necessary in the coop, and I will agree that chickens don't really not need the heat, but other poultry and fowl will benefit form a little heat, as will your watering system in many cases... I keep my coop in around the 40s all winter, saves me water troubles and I don't have to worry about my peas getting frost bite on their toes, but my coop is big and has a real gas furnace in it :) I would avoid using lights as a heat source in a small coop, as I would also avoid many other heating sources due to fire risk...

    Although it's a little more costly, for small coops I implore many to look into using a 'Pig Blanket' mounted to the wall (preferably spaced off the wall a bit) instead... It should also preferably be mounted where the chickens can't lean up against it or stand on it just to be safe... I have used these heaters in barns, covered (covering is not recommended by the manufacture) and buried in straw/wood bedding, under paper bedding in reptile tanks with no ill effects... By design they only get +30-35°F over the ambient air temps, so they pose nil fire risk even if they were left on in the middle of summer, and in the winter will take the bite out of the air but still be plenty safe even to touch (but I still recommend placement where the chickens can't lean on them just to be safe) and never hot enough to catch fire or burn...

    There are several companies that make them, this is just an example...

  6. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chirping

    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    Not meaning to lecture, but many people keep chickens in -20F winter weather with no heating or insulation. Some in coops with an open front. Chickens are well able to tolerate these conditions. I don't know why anyone needs to heat their chickens, but then again I don't know your location or winter conditions either.
    1 person likes this.

  7. Simple not everyone has just 'chickens' in their coop some have other poultry that can't handle the cold nearly as well as chickens... Also some don't want to deal with water freezing issues either in the container or worse... And last but not least, some like to avoid egg popsicles...

    All the above apply to me I have plumbed running water in my coop, I don't want the 'pipes' freezing and causing damage, I have a mixed flock that includes peas and they are prone to frostbite on their toes, and even though it's just a few bucks (it still pays for some feed) it's a whole lot easier to sell 'good' not cracked eggs then it is to try and sell cracked previously frozen eggs....

    And there is always the fact that just because the animal can handle the temp, doesn't meant they won't be more comfortable and productive at a more moderate temp, as long as the heat doesn't cause other issues...

    There are factors to be weighted in unique to everyone's own circumstances, most will agree for a small coop and only chickens it's probably best to not heat in most instances as it can cause more problems then it's worth, but that isn't a hard fast rule across the board for all...
    2 people like this.
  8. ChickensInHugo

    ChickensInHugo In the Brooder

    Aug 30, 2013
    Hugo, MN
    If we had all cold-weather hardy breeds than we would probably go without heat. Our concern is that our exotic breeds are not listed as cold hardy (Phoenix, Red Cap, Polish) on websites I've looked at. I like the pig blanket idea, we will look into that. If we stick with the light bulbs in a box, we might try to find some type of incandescent bulb that gives off heat without a severe fire hazard.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I live in Northern Wyoming, not far from Yellowstone Park. Here we KNOW winter...it was -19 when I picked my chicks up from the post office, and had been in the double digits below zero for sometime before and after that.. It was just a few days until the first of March, and we had snow even after I put them out into the coop at 5.5 weeks old. Our last snowfall was June 6.

    I use no insulation, no artificial heat, and they do just great. The key is ventilation to keep humidity and ammonia from building up and no direct drafts on the roosts. That's it. Pick up one of your chickens and work your hand under the feathers....warm, ain't it? They have a natural feather and down coat and a high body temperature. A 2x4 laid flat for a roost lets them sit on their feet to keep them warm. Humidity in the coop will settle on them, frostbiting combs, and drafts ruffle their feathers against the grain, allowing that precious heat to escape from around their bodies.

    Consider too what you will do when the power goes out, as it does on occasion in most cold snowy areas of the country. If they are allowed to adapt to the dropping temperatures naturally you can practically hear the feathers growing thicker! By the time it gets really cold, they're acclimated. But give them a source of artificial heat without that natural adaptation and when that power goes out they are suddenly plunged into cold that they haven't experienced - it's too much of a shock.

    Good luck with them!
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
    1 person likes this.

  10. I beg to differ as long as the coop temp is not extreme, a few degrees above freezing is completely different then heating it to say 70°... My birds still all adapt to the cooler weather naturally, and they still venture outside on moderate to mild days... My coop is only kept in the low 40s, not much different (if any warmer) then many other traditional non-heated small coops on a mild winter day with the sun warming it up... IMO a power outage is no different then that natural sudden arctic blast where is goes from 30° one day to -20° the next, it's only a temporary thing and in neither case are the animals really ready for a drastic change, any more then say an indoor dog is when you let them outside in the winter...

    To each their own and I stand behind 100% that the answer is not as black and white as many suggest, and I have not a second though about heating my coop...

    I also know at least one of my local zoos have heated indoor shelters for their normally free range peas during the winter, and I'm speculating it's an thought out and educated decision on their part...

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