Chicken coop heater for winters often sends a series of contradictory signals to poultry owners. Some are of the opinion that chicken house heaters are not best suited for their birds. This is owing to the dramatic & unnatural change in temperature caused by these devises.
Others are of the opinion that chicken coop heating elements are definitely a boon for their poultry. These owners think that by elevating the natural temperature within the hen house, they manage to keep their birds warm and cosy throughout the winter season.
I agree with the latter.
While I do agree that the birds have the natural ability to ward off cold nonetheless, excessive cold can be fatal. So, in order to keep your flock in the best possible shape, give them what they need most – comfort within their home via a heater.
Chicken Coop Heater for Winters Write-Up Contents:
1) What is a Chicken Coop Heater?
2) At What Temperature do Chickens Start to Feel Cold?
3) How to Keep Chickens Warm in Winter without Electricity?
4) What are the Different Types of Chicken Coop Heaters for Winters?
5) Pros and Cons of Heating the Hen Home
6) Chicken Coop Heaters FAQ
7) What is My Opinion?
What is a Chicken Coop Heater?
During the winter seasons, your chicken needs additional assistance to remain fit and healthy. This is especially true with areas that are prone to snowfall. Over here, the temperature often dips below the freezing point.
In these frigid conditions, chicken tend to fall sick rather quickly. So in order to keep them warm, you need to feed them extra. Apart from the extra diet to maintain their body heat, chicken also need unnatural warmth derived via heat convectors.
When should You Heat a Coop?
Chicken coop is made in such a manner that it helps retain heat within its confines. Usually, the structure is wooden (lumber), which is a good retainer of natural heat. It also helps keep icy cold winds at bay.
Chicken too have feathers and a robust metabolism that is capable of withstanding cold. So, you can easily hope to ensure that your flock can beat the icy winds. Nonetheless, despite their robust body type and a well-equipped coop, cold winds can prove disastrous to your flock.
This is when you need to equip your hen home with added insulation. When you place a heater inside the hen home, you allow the chicken to adjust their body temperature to match the temperature outside.
So, when it is just too cold outside, make sure you have ample heating inside the coop. The breed, the dimensions of the coop and the number of chickens present within the coop determine whether you need to install additional insulation or not.
Breeds such as wyandottes, brahmas and orpingtons etc. have the natural ability to withstand severe cold. If you have any other breed and the weather is sub-freezing, do not hesitate to get a heater.
Points to Consider before Heating the Coop
@ You do not need to make use of a heat lamp. They are extremely hot (400+ watts).
@ If you have access to infra-red lights then, opt for a bulb that emits no more than 250 watts.
@ Heat lamps have a questionable life span. They can burn out anytime without any warning, leaving your flock in bitter cold.
@ Simply place a heater that is meant for chicken coops. These devises are designed to provide the right amount of heat to a coop.
@ Body heat is the best way to ward off cold. So, if your birds cuddle together, they tend to remain warm and vice versa.
What is a Heater that Keeps a Chicken Coop Warm?
Well, the heater for a coop is similar to a normal room heater used by humans. It could be powered by oil, infra-red rays, brooding plates or a flat panel.
Opt for a heater that occupies less space and can be easily mounted on the walls of the coop. An infra-red or solar powered heater is an ideal companion for your coop. It should be easy to clean and cost effective in its approach.
At What Temperature do Chickens Start to Feel Cold?
In case you have chickens then, you shall be naturally worried about their health. Cold and hot weather conditions are a clear reminder of how grim their health can become if corrective measures are not taken in a timely manner.
The good part here is that hens are born with feathers that keep their bodies warm during the winter months. So, your poultry birds can withstand sub-zero conditions bravely.
Nonetheless, 23 degree Celsius is an ideal temperature for them. So, chicken can tolerate extreme cold but they are definitely averse to heat. So, if the temperature is -1 degree Celsius, your chicken shall brave it. Nonetheless, the bird would thrive when the temperature is raised to the 24 degree mark.
To do so, you need to get a heater installed in their coop. If the temperature is higher than 38 degree Celsius, it is terrible for the chicken. This is when measures should be taken to reduce the temperature by about 10 degrees.
What about the Chicks?
Chicks can tolerate slightly higher temperature. A new-born chick should be kept in an environment that has a sustained 35 degree Celsius temperature. This is to keep it warm as a chick does not have ample feather covering.
When the chick is 6 weeks old, you should try and reduce the temperature of the coop to about 24 degree Celsius. As the chick grows older, it develops feathers and its body becomes rugged. This helps the bird combat cold effectively.
How to Keep Chickens Warm in Winter without Electricity?
As I (LeanAndFit)have mentioned above, a chicken has the ability to withstand cold weather condition. Nonetheless, sub-freezing conditions cannot be termed as ‘ideal’ for the bird.
So, in order to transform the coop into a ‘happy place’, you need to maintain ideal temperature within the hen house. The ideal temperature is 24 degree Celsius.
Well, here are a few ways in which you can achieve this aim:
The food that the birds eat gets converted into energy. In winters, the need for more energy is natural. When temperatures are hovering at freezing levels, the chicken tends to burn more calories to maintain their body heat.
To ensure that their body does not start to get cold, you need to increase their feed. Include cracked nuts and seeds into the diet. These scratch grains generate body heat within the chicken as they are hard to digest.
Scratch grains increase the metabolic activity and helps keep the chicken warm during night. It also helps the birds feel full at night. Apart from that, these grains help generate energy into the bird’s body.
Water Tub Made from Rubber:
Your chicken would need water to function flawlessly. If their drinking water is cold, your birds can fall sick rather easily. For this very reason, you should place a tub made from rubber under the sun.
The color of the tub needs to be black. This is owing to the very simple reason that black color absorbs sunlight. The water within the tub therefore remains warm.
Prepare Winter Bedding for Chicken:
In order to help the chicken combat freezing conditions, you need to ensure that their bedding is warm and cosy. For this very purpose, you should add shavings from pine tree onto the coop’s floor. Add fresh pine shavings every 5 days.
When pine shavings are clubbed with chicken droppings, the floor becomes warm. It is also disease free owing to the natural antiseptic properties found in pine. You can also cover the coop with blankets at night to provide the extra warmth.
Fix all Holes in Time:
Chicken coops have boards that have cracks. Through these holes wind tends to disrupt the comfort of the chicken. So, you need to seal these cracks and holes at the earliest.
You can use a caulking gun to seal small holes and cracks on the coop. You can collect sawdust and bind this with wood glue. The paste can be applied into the holes and seal them indefinitely.
These Methods of Heating Involve Electricity:
This is a special perch that has a special temperature controlled body. Attached with a thermostat, this perch enables the chicken to sit atop without freezing its feet in return.
Using the warmth of the perch, the bird manages to regulate its body temperature in the most optimal manner. It is highly recommended in places that witness extreme cold weather conditions.
Chicken Heating Pads:
These are special pads that tend to emit heat within the coop. These are similar to electric heaters that we humans use to keep our home warm and cosy.
Using a thermostat, the pads are affixed to the wall of the coop. Make sure that you do not place sawdust or pine shavings when using a heating pad. Doing so might cause a fire as dry wood is highly combustible.
What are the Different Types of Chicken Coop Heaters for Winters?
If you are a veteran with years of poultry experience then, you must be aware of chicken coop heaters. Did you know that heating mechanisms for chicken coops have come a long way?
Gone are the days when brooder lamps ruled the game. Nowadays, heaters based on diverse innovative ways have become exceedingly popular.
Well, here are the most common heating types used in a hen home:
The Light Bulb:
This is by far the most primitive way to maintain ambient temperature within the coop. the bulb is placed on the roof of the hen home and it keeps the house warm.
Make sure it is not to be placed inside the coop. The bulb should be on the outside with a small opening within the coop permitting the warmth to seep within.
The Brooder Lamp:
The second most widely used heating aid in a chicken coop is the brooder lamp. This is not recommended as it emits a lot of heat. It emits infer-red radiation and can cause fire if the coop is fortified with sawdust and wooden shavings.
Flat Panel Heater for the Chicken Coop:
This is a popular heating aid for the chicken coop. It is made like a flat screen television set and uses just 200 watts of power to function. This devise emits heat that is transferred to the chicken that stands closest to it.
This heat is then transmitted from the chicken to other birds in a streamlined manner. It is light in weight, compact in size and does not require any clearance certificates.
When you use the flat panel heater, you help your chicken stay warm, save energy, reduce risks of fire, save money and maintain a green environment. The combs and feet of your chicken are also spared from frostbite.
Heater Using Infra-Red Rays:
By converting electrical energy into heat that radiates, the infra-red heater for chicken seems to work just fine. You can mount these on the side walls. Placing them inside the coop is considered non-hazardous.
These are plates that are provided with heat. The bottom of the plate is warm thereby permitting the chicken to retain his/her body heat. While the heat is bare minimal, it is sufficient to ensure that the hen remains warm under its feathers.
Heated Oil to Warm the Coop:
This is a heater that has oil filled in its fins. Using power derived from a power source, the oil heats up. This in turn emits heat that warms the chicken coop.
Such heaters for chicken help evenly distribute warmth to all directions of the hen house. They do require more power to operate. Nonetheless, oil based hen home heaters are far more effective.
Pros and Cons of Heating the Hen Home
Whether it is a good idea to provide additional heat to the chicken coop or not is a question that needs a logical reasoning. This is because it is good and bad to heat a hen house (using unnatural methods).
If done in a controlled manner, additional heating is a boon for the birds. In case heating is done in a rampant manner then, it is a bane for the chicken.
The Advantages of Heating Chicken Coops:
>>> This first advantage is to provide warmth to a super-chilled hen house. The warmth helps the birds strengthen their immune system. This in turn helps them withstand cold weather conditions.
>>> In sub-freezing conditions, hen and rooster tends to fall sick. Additional warmth shall ease this issue and the birds shall fall sick less often.
>>> Hens shall produce eggs and chicks regularly if they are kept in a warm environment.
>>> You do not need to add saw-dust, pine shavings or additional bedding to keep the coop warm. A heater is sufficient to get the job done efficiently.
>>> When your hens are happy, they tend to deliver better eggs and chicks. So, heating the coop can prove to be a profitable venture.
>>> You do not have to worry about taking your hen to the vet. They shall be hale and hearty courtesy the heater.
>>> Regardless of whether it is snowing outside or raining, the coop shall be warm and cosy.
>>> Combs and feet of chicken can be saved from frostbite.
The Disadvantages of Heating Chicken Coops:
>>> Chicken is blessed with a rugged skin and has feathers. This helps them maintain optimal body heat. So usually, no additional heating is required as the birds are able to warm their bodies naturally.
>>> In case of a sudden power outage, the heater shall stop functioning. This shall chill the coop faster than you can imagine. The sudden change in temperature can cause the birds to fall sick.
>>> A hen or rooster can increase its body temperature that is equivalent to 10 watts at night. So, additional heating is usually not required if the coop is well covered.
>>> Heaters can cause accidents such as fire. This can be fatal for the birds inside.
>>> Moisture caused by unnatural heating can cause frostbite in chicken.
Chicken Coop Heaters FAQ
Q-1: Is it Mandatory to use a Heater in a Chicken Coop?
A-1: No, it is not compulsory at all. You can use a heater if the place where you stay experiences frigid winters.
Q-2: Can a Chicken Coop Heater cause Problems for the Birds?
A-2: Yes, a coop heater can cause issues for the birds. They can cause fire and also create moisture. During power outage, the same moisture can cause frostbite in chicken.
Q-3: How Cold can a Chicken Survive?
A-3: Chickens are super-hardy birds. They are blessed with feathers and a tough skin. They can withstand temperatures as cold as minus 10 degree Celsius (but it is not advised to leave them without additional heat). Usually, most chicken can be safe even if the temperature outside is 0 degrees Celsius.
Q-4: At what temperature does your Chicken need a Heater?
A-4: Well, the ideal temperature for chicken is 23 degree Celsius. Anything below this temperature is considered cold for the birds. Nonetheless, heaters should only be used when the minimum temperature is close to sub-zero conditions.
Q-5: How to Know if Your Chicken is Feeling Cold or Not?
A-5: You can know if your chicken is feeling cold or not by merely studying its body language. If the hen sits high on a branch with its feathers fluffed then, it is an indicator of the bird feeling cold. Even its combs would turn wishy-washy.
Q-6: Can I Switch on a Bright Light to warm the Coop and expect the Birds to Fall Asleep?
A-6: No, any kind of light shall deter the natural sleeping process of a chicken. So, you need to refrain from switching on light at night. The birds shall perceive it as sunlight and refuse to sleep.
Q-7: Can a Heater make it too Hot inside the hen House?
A-7: Yes, if the temperature rises to 40 degree Celsius then, it is way too hot inside. In such a scenario, you should avoid using a heater. Else, control the temperature using a thermostat.
Q-8: How Can I Heat my Chicken Coop without the use of Electrical Power?
A-8: You can relocate the coop to a warmer area. Adding pine shavings helps elevate the temperature within the hen house. Increase chicken feed and cover the coop with cloth to avoid icy winds from chipping the interior.
Q-9: Do I Give my Chicken a Bath in Winters?
A-9: You can give your chicken dirt bath and not water bath. The birds simply roll in dust thereby keeping their bodies clean. Place a large bin laden with ash, dust and sand. The chicken shall roll in this mixture to cleanse their bodies.
What is My Opinion?
Heating the hen home is definitely on the cards for areas wherein winters are extreme. Nonetheless, you need to make note of the fact that chicken are hardy birds and can withstand cold weather conditions naturally.
If you really need one, do not overspend. Establish a budget and opt for a reliable heating devise. This could either be an oil filled heater or even a solar powered heating devise. Both of these shall be safe and effective for your hen house.
In case the weather at your place does not receive extreme cold, you do not need a heating devise for your birds. On the contrary, if your winters force the temperature to dip below the freezing point then, getting a chicken coop heater is a wise option.