Will a light bulb keep chickens warm in the winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gjoyner, May 10, 2009.

  1. gjoyner

    gjoyner Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am new to the chicken deal and wanted to make sure that I have all my ducks in a row. In the winter, will an ordinary light bulb keep the chickens warm or do I need a heater? If so, what wattage?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Where are you?
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you choose your breeds right, chickens keep THEMSELVES warm enough, down to quite cold temperatures (like well into the minuses Farenheit). This presupposes dry air (i.e. good ventilation) and no drafts blowing at the chickens.

    Not only do chickens not run up your electric bill the way a bulb (heat or otherwise) does, you'll never hear of *chickens* accidentally burning down the coop.

    If you are in an exceedingly cold climate, or have unwisely-chosen breeds, or are keeping them in poor conditions (humid air, etc) then yeah you can run lamps to provide supplemental heat. Whether you need a regular bulb or high-wattage heat lamp just depends on how much heat you need. There is nothing special about heat lamp bulbs, really -- they produce essentially the same heat as any other bulb of that wattage. So for something less intense than the 175 and 250 heat lamp bulbs they sell, you can use (most people choose red) floodlight or regular ol' lightbulb bulbs, in whatever wattage(s) you need.

    If you're going to worry about your chickens being cold, it's really worth insulating the coop. It will retain daytime and chicken-generated heat much better, thus need less heating, thus make things comfier for non electrically heated chickens and allow you to spare your electric bill as much as possible if you *do* run a lamp.

    Most people don't need heat lamps though, if the rest of the system is designed right.

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. big greg barker

    big greg barker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2008
    central maine
    What Patandchickens said. My breeds are chosen for winter climates and my coop is dry and draft free. We had a run of below zero weather for 3 weeks this past year with no problems.
    The only reason I run lights in the coop during winter is to simulate 16 hours of daylight so my hens keep laying me all kinds of eggs all year long.
  5. chickens3

    chickens3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    Eau Claire, Michigan
    chickens only need lights when they are young that is it you have to wait for them to grow there feathers and they will be fine my chickens are 7 weeks old i live in southen michigan and they are fine outside right now. In the winter the feathers will keep them warm.
  6. Betsyann

    Betsyann Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 12, 2012
    so i am a newbie too and have some questions about light/heat etc.
    we live on cape cod ( new england) so winter can be iffy either way.
    do we need to have a light to keep them laying ?
    do we need to have a light to keep them warm. we have 12 rhode island reds with a new coop that doesn't have insulation but is weather proof and well built
    thank you for all the advice you will have to offer. your forum offered us so good advice when our run got really stinky. and it is not now
  7. Troop1379

    Troop1379 Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2012
    I have sexlink chicks and it is getting down into the 50's at night and i want to go but a heat light on them. I guess since I think I am cold they are cold. I live in Va and was wondering the same thing.
    How cold does it have to get before you turn a heat light on?
    How do you keep the water from freezing?
  8. OldGuy43

    OldGuy43 Chillin' With My Peeps

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