Should you heat your chicken coop in cold weather

At the time I write this it’s 28 degrees outside but on Facebook poultry keeping groups I’m seeing posts from people across the globe who are pondering the question of wether or not to use a heat lamp to keep their flocks warm in cold weather. The answer is no!

why you shouldn’t use heat lamps:

  • They’re a fire hazard , each year there are an unbelievable amounts of fires where people have tried to keep their animals warm but unintentionally burnt down buildings and sometimes homes which can even lead to deaths of both people and animals.
  • Chickens can keep warm themselves even in freezing temperatures , yes they might need some support ( see here for surviving snow ) but not from heat lamps, chickens can regulate their body temperature by fluffing up their feathers which traps warm air close to their body. By restricting blood flow to their feet, wattles and comb they can keep their blood circulation warm as these are usually used to keep them cool in the summer ( see here for summer tips ) .
  • Your flock will rely on the heat source , this means that if the heat lamp cuts out because theres a power cut or the bulbs broke then the flock won’t be resistant to the cold and will likely die of shock.
  • If you choose to go down the root of heating your coop there’s a few things to keep in mind :
    • The coop should be only a few degrees above the outside temperature
      The heating product should be dust resistant , chickens are big dust makers so it’s important the product can deal with a fair amount of dust before being thoroughly cleaned every so often.
      Have a back up heat source , as stated above if the heat cuts out your flock could die from shock of being suddenly exposed to the cold.

    I hope this has educated you on the dangers of heat lamps; they can never be safe and it’s not worth the risk.

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