Yes, another heat light question from a Newb


In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 11, 2014
My main question pertains to heat. I plan on NOT heating our coop this winter (our first winter with the girls). Last year was historically cold and this summer and fall have also already been on the chilly side (Pennsylvania). I have a metal covered light fixture in the top of the coop (it's an 6x10 walk in coop with a 8x20 run, half of the run is covered).

Has anyone used a nocturnal light bulb like they use for lizards and snakes? My main concern is when it drops below zero for a snap, which happened a lot last winter. I don't intend on running it other than that. I have 8 birds, Australorps, RIR's and Buff's, so I know I have some cold hardy birds. The coop is uninsulated and unfortunately on the north side of our garden shed.

I know I'm convoluted in this post but hopefully someone understands what I'm saying :)

The chickens do not need any added heat. Forget about any heatlamp. Worry more about keeping their water from freezing, and maintaining proper ventilation. There are many things you can do, as far as that goes. But that is more important, than worrying about them getting chilly.
Thank you. I was reading conflicting views on that, at least when it gets below zero. I do confess that I added a rope light up in the rafters above the roost and have that set on a timer, but I did that for egg production. Thanks again!

No heat for my hardy girls in Northeastern Ohio. I have an uninsulated but solid coop, keep food and water outside of coop and had no problems w/ my flock facing the polar vortexs that took our temps way below normal last year. One hen had some minor frost nip on her comb, but I figured this was poor ventilation, and have added more vents for this year. All my girls left the coop for most of the day, regardless how cold. I use a heated water bucket, and have tarps on my fencing for windbreaks. They did not like deep snow and tended to walk only in the footprints I made, occasionally I spoiled them by shoveling most of the white stuff out of there area. I did not use artificial light for eggs and almost all of them laid thru the winter. I did have a significant issue w/ eggs freezing before I could collect them- so wish they hadn't been as industrious about laying. Hope my experience helps you relax about winter, the chickens are more suited to winter than the native wild birds that don't migrate due to their extra body fat and built in food and shelter.
That does make me feel better. Last winter was horrid! We have a solid coop and I have an electric base for our double wall water font on the way. Half of their run has a roof over it (the half at the pop door), but I think I might stack some hay bales at that end as well since that's where the north wind rushes in from. We have vents between the rafters at the top of the coop, and also have regular slatted vents that are used in the end of sheds, on the wall above the door and opposite above the pop door (all at the top of the coop). We have little hinged pieces of wood inside the coop that we can use to close up any or all of the vents between the rafters, so I'm pretty comfortable with that. I think they are high enough away from the roost to not disturb them as far as drafts so. They have had their pop door open all summer so I think I'll have to close that at night or the wind will rush right in and over their roost (even though the roost is just above the level of the pop door).

I just tend to over prepare but also know that they'll probably be ok :)

Thanks so much, it really is great to have this resource as a sounding board! Below are some pics of the coop. We have since painted the outside a deep barn red. And the waterer is no longer in the coop. They didn't like the nipple method anyway! Sorry for the orientation of the pics, it changed from what I have on my computer.

. They have had their pop door open all summer so I think I'll have to close that at night or the wind will rush right in and over their roost (even though the roost is just above the level of the pop door).

I also have a setup where I can leave the pop door open 24/7.

What I did in the winter was I added a multi-layer plastic curtain over the door to stop most of the drafts. It's made from several layers of plastic sheeting that are slit into into vertical strips about 1"-2" wide about 80% of the way to the top and each layer has the strips offset from the other layers. Very similar to what they use over loading dock door openings but that is much heavier than my plastic. Just like the loading dock where you can pass through and the strips fall back into place, my chickens are able to come and go through the slitted plastic curtain and it just falls back into place after they move through it.

It did take a little bit of training, I had to roll up the curtain so it was only about 1/3 covering the opening from the top and as they got used to it I slowly unrolled it till it was all the way to the bottom of the opening. Now they come and go through it with no problems(at least they were last winter, I removed it for summer so may have to retrain when I reinstall it!).

I do still close the pop door whenever it's gonna be below 0 overnight or when there is a big storm coming. So for the whole winter there were maybe 10 nights where I closed the door, rest of the winter it was open 24/7 just like summers.

I also have all food and water outside in the run so they gotta come out sometime to eat and drink.

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