Wednesday, January 8, 2014

To Heat or Not To Heat

Heating the coop. We have not heated our coop in past winters but this winter we installed a heat lamp. My thought on heating the coop is based on stories my Dad has told me about the coop that he had when he was a boy. He lived smack in the middle of South Dakota and the winters there were not kind. In the midst of blizzards and deep negative temperatures he and my grandparents had chickens for their eggs and meat. Never did they heat the coop. As my Dad tells it, chickens are like little mini heaters. They put off a bit of heat all on their own. Now this doesn't mean that a chicken isn't going to freeze if she was left out in the brutal cold of the dead of winter. What this does mean is that if you are smart about your chicken keeping in the middle of winter the chickens natural body heat will enable them to keep warm.  If you had only a few birds you might want to add a heat lamp to help them with staying warm. A few chickens will put off a little heat but not enough in the bitter cold temps to keep them warm. The more birds, the more heat they create. We have a group of 13 clucks and by their numbers should really be able to stay warm enough on their own without the need of a heat lamp. However they will be using all the energy they have to stay warm, taking away from energy used for laying eggs. In those brutal South Dakota winters my Dad would close up all the chickens in their coop and they would stay warm. He had quite a few chickens, so there was no need for a way to keep them warm. The clucks did it on their own. So for winters sake and staying warm without the use of a heat lamp the old saying "the more the merrier" applies. Or perhaps it should be "the more the warmer." The more chickens there are in a coop the more heat they create. This is all providing you have a draft free coop with deep litter to help insulate the floor from the cold.


  1. Ours keep the coop pretty toasty. The only downfall to our coop is the high ceilings. So, during the negative degree weather we do turn them on during the day. In the evening, when they are all in there, they keep it the perfect temp. :)

    1. I just love your coop. I wish I could grow mine up into the size you have. Your run is awesome too. I like that it humans can stand in it. We will be making some adjustments to our run so we don't have to stoop way down. Happy clucks lay lots of eggs :)


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