Whether to use a chicken coop heater or not is always an issue for bird breeders. Some may not like using a heater, even in freezing temperatures. Those who do not adhere to heaters know that they could set fire.
Dry shavings, straws, piles of wood, and flammables lie in the chicken coop, which might start a fire. They say chickens produce body heat that can warm them instead of using coop heaters.
Experienced chicken farmers insist that chickens do not need coop heaters as they can survive naturally in colder months. They argue that chickens sleep with other barn animals where they can snuggle up to get heat and snooze.
Keep reading and learn more about coop heaters.
Table of Contents
- 1 In What Circumstances, Your Chicken Coop No Need Heater?
- 2 When is the Best Time to Use Coop Heaters?
- 3 Should I Install Heat Lamp in Chicken Coops?
- 4 Best Heaters for Your Chicken Coop
- 4.1 1) SWEETER HEATER 150 Watt Safe Heater for Fowls & Animals
- 4.2 2) Cozy Products CL Cozy Safe Chicken Coop Heater & Cord Lamp
- 4.3 3) Brinsea Products Ecoglow Safety 1200 Brooder for Ducklings/Chicks in Black or Yellow
- 4.4 4) PETNF Radiant Heat Energy Efficient 149 Watts Chicken Coop Heater
- 4.5 5) VIVOSUN Clamp Lamp Light with Multifunctional Clamp & Detachable Reflector
- 5 Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Coop Heaters
- 6 Summary
In What Circumstances, Your Chicken Coop No Need Heater?
Aside from fire hazards, chicken experts say that chickens can stay healthy and resistant to diseases if you allow them to acclimatize to temperature drops as the cold season progresses.
Chickens are cold-hardy and use their beautiful plumage to cover them from freezing temperatures. They will have difficulty adjusting to the artificial heat in the winter as they feel comfortable in temperatures ranging from 45 to 65 degrees F.
The chickens could die if there is a sudden power outage in your area because their bodies have adapted to artificial heat. Their bodies need to hurdle to survive the winter as they already get used to heaters.
Another thing that you must consider is the differences between night and day temperatures. The night temperature would make them feel warm, and the day temperature would make them feel cold due to artificial heat. The heat source from heaters creates moisture that results in frostbite.
Chicken keepers need not use heaters in their coops as much as they can by allowing their chickens to live in a natural environment.
When is the Best Time to Use Coop Heaters?
There are situations in the chicken coop that refute those arguments by some chicken farmers that heaters are useless. A coop heater installed on your chicken farm is vital to keep your chicken warm if the temperature goes down to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Your chicken may die even if they cover their bodies with feathers.
Your chickens may need a coop heater, depending on their exposure to temperatures throughout the winter. While many chicken breeds are cold-hardy and capable of keeping them warm, their bodies are small enough to put themselves under strain to tackle freezing temperatures.
They need a heating machine to give them warmth until the end of winter. The chickens use their energy to run around and lay eggs instead of keeping them warm during the cold season.
If you are afraid of a power outage, the best way you can do is to run a power generator in your coop in case of a brownout. A good option is to install a flat panel heater because it is safer and healthier for your fowl than a heat lamp.
Here are some circumstances you must consider if you need a coop heater.
- If you have young chickens and pullets that love to strut in your yard
- Use a coop heater if you have an injured, old, or sick chicken that needs to recover in the winter.
- If there is a sudden temperature drop of -20 degrees in the coming days
- Suppose you raise not cold-hardy chicken breeds, such as frizzles, polish, and silkies. These breeds cannot withstand cold temperatures.
- Suppose you have a few hens in a large coop. Having one to three hens is not enough to keep the chicks warm.
- If you have backyard chickens that go in and out of the coop, thus exposing them to temperature drops.
- If the hens are lethargic and stop laying eggs, they need a coop heater to warm them up and feel comfortable.
- Tropical chicken breeds need coop heaters to protect them from sickness, as their bodies cannot tolerate cold weather.
- If you maintain a large coop with a few chickens, you need heaters to keep your fowls warm and comfortable.
Coop heaters will prevent the water in the waterers from getting frozen. If you have an aversion to coop heaters, think about the consequences if you have not installed them on your chicken farm. You can install a single heater near the roosting or nesting boxes.
Should I Install Heat Lamp in Chicken Coops?
If you prefer to use a heat lamp over heaters, you must secure it well, so it does not catch fire. The lamp’s clamps might come unscrewed; bulbs get busted and untwisted wirings, which can cause damage to your property and the lives of your chicken. Mice might eat up the wiring, leading to accidents and fire in the barn.
Installing a heat lamp is more dangerous than a coop heater, so you must think twice when buying it. An electric panel heater is an excellent alternative to both devices as it has a lesser fire risk. But whatever you choose, use precautionary measures to prevent accidents on your farm.
Best Heaters for Your Chicken Coop
1) SWEETER HEATER 150 Watt Safe Heater for Fowls & Animals
The SWEETER HEATER chicken coop heater is safe, reliable, and resilient against wear and tear. This Amazon’s Choice energy-efficient lamp-style heater is suspended from the coop’s ceiling. It produces a uniform heat pattern and does not develop hot spots.
It automatically shuts down thru its internal thermostat when it detects overheating in the coop. The heater comes in white and operates in the radiant heating method. It weighs seven pounds with a heat output of 150 watts.
- Proven tested by customers since 1995
- Automatic shut-off features
- Recommended for large coops
- Waterproof heater
- Easy to wash
- Suitable for other barn animals
- Energy saver
- Absence of adjustable heat settings
- Requires a surface to get suspended
- Requires effort to setup and install
- It gives off a toxic odor
- It gives off little heat
2) Cozy Products CL Cozy Safe Chicken Coop Heater & Cord Lamp
The 200-watt Cozy brand chicken coop heater is energy efficient and gives off a low amount of heat in the coop. It is safer than heat lamps, with ETL and third-party certifications proving its safety guarantee.
The heater has a durable and protected cord ensuring the chickens do not get hurt if they accidentally peck using their beaks. The radiant heating panel offers continuous heat without overheating the coop.
The panel’s center warms to 175 degrees F at 185 watts on the highest setting for below-freezing temperatures. It switches down to low with 150 degrees F at 85 watts.
- Over 6,000 customer ratings on Amazon
- Convenient to use by plugging into a power source
- Easy to mount on a wall
- Does not need lamp or light bulb replacement
- Space saver
- Uses 200 watts
- Not ideal for large animal houses
- Extremely hot to touch
- It does not last longer
- No off switch
3) Brinsea Products Ecoglow Safety 1200 Brooder for Ducklings/Chicks in Black or Yellow
The Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder is an excellent brooder heater for hatching and raising young chickens. It can accommodate 35 newly-hatched ducklings or chicks, where they can keep warm underneath it.
This Amazon’s Choice brooder comes in a combination of black and yellow colors with adjustable height and tent-style roofing. It has a 12-volt radiant-heated underside that provides uniform temperature and less power consumption.
The brooder has an indicator light to show it gets connected to the power source. It comes with a US plug and power supply.
- 3-year warranty
- Amazon’s Choice
- Adjustable heater height
- Usable in any size of animal house
- It consumes less energy with its radiant-heated underside
- Compact and handy
- Easy to clean
- Not ideal for adult chickens
- No adjustable heating option
- Need extra strength to assemble
- It does not give enough warmth
- A little bit costly
4) PETNF Radiant Heat Energy Efficient 149 Watts Chicken Coop Heater
This PETNF brand chicken coop heater has different attachments for the upper and lower sections. The power switch has an adjustable temperature range of 122 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit.
This affordable heater offers radiant heat within 40 centimeters. It has a sticker that alerts you whenever the temperature changes-red to 45 degrees C and above and black for temperatures below 45 degrees C.
The heater is easy to install by screwing down the legs or mounting it on a wall or standing style. It consumes 140 watts of electricity. It takes pride in its UL standard compliant heating wire and extra thermostat that offers dual protection.
- Affordable price
- Easy to install for either free-standing or wall mounted
- Two-year warranty
- Color-changing stickers to alert you of the temperature condition
- Controlled radiant heat
- UL-standard compliant heating wire
- Chicken safety heater
- Not ideal for large coops
- Does not put out enough heat
5) VIVOSUN Clamp Lamp Light with Multifunctional Clamp & Detachable Reflector
This VIVOSUN brand clamp light is excellent as standard lighting in your chicken coop, rooms, art studios, and for photography. It is versatile as you can use it as clamps for terrariums, indoor plant growth lamps, and other lighting uses.
It is easy to install by screwing it down to secure it. It boasts of its long cord for easy movement.
This multifunctional Amazon’s choice product provides good reflection using its reflective aluminum material. You can detach the metal shroud from its base according to your lighting needs. The clamp has an adjustable ball connection for easy setup and positioning.
- Amazon’s Choice
- UL-certified product
- Energy efficient
- Very cheap
- Handy and compact
- Produces bright light
- Not peck-proof cord
- Not tightly secured
- Develops hot spots
- Sockets are hard to screw
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Coop Heaters
After contemplating the usefulness of coop heaters for your fowls, it is time to order them. However, there are many factors you must consider before buying the product to ensure the safety of your chickens.
Before heating the chicken coop, you must know the year’s different seasons in your area. Do you live in a tropical country or a frigid zone? A tropical country has two seasons-the dry and wet seasons.
If you live in this area, your chicken need not have a heater as the weather is tolerable even during rainy seasons (the weather is colder but not freezing). Your hen house may require a heater if the temperature may drop below 40 degrees F.
The chickens may suffer from frostbite, diseases, and death when the weather exceeds 32 degrees F; at this time, they produce fewer eggs.
Install the heater near the roosting bars and waterers, but ensure the birds cannot reach them. Chicks, sick, old, and adult chickens need constant heat to keep them warm and healthy during the entire cold season.
Chicken Coop Size
The size of your chicken house is another consideration before you buy a coop heater. Larger coops require heaters if you have fewer chickens, as their plumage cannot cover their skin. They need more chickens to huddle and give warmth to their tiny bodies.
Place the heater on one side of small brooder boxes and chicken coops so the birds can choose where to warm their bodies.
Large chicken houses have enough space to position the heaters. You can place it beside the water, so it does not freeze. Mount the heaters on a wall or near the perches.
Type of Bedding
There are many types of bedding for your chickens, and each type impacts the choice of coop heaters. You can use a heater if you are using sand bedding. PDZ bedding is suitable for a ceiling or wall-mounted heater because it is flammable.
It would help if you secured the lamp or heater by tying it tightly with rust-free wire to prevent falling into the bedding and starting a fire. Check the heaters regularly for loose connections, warped wiring, and dust build-up to ensure the safety of your chickens and property.
A large chicken coop requires high-wattage heating machines to cover the entire area. The minimum wattage for coop heaters is 100 up to 150 watts, which can give warmth to your fowl during the winter season.
Always read the manual instructions and customer reviews to know the safety features of heaters. Avoid buying in a rush just because the product is on sale.
Evaluate the durability of the electrical components, such as thermostats, switches, screws, etc. Make sure to install the heater in a place that is out of reach of your chickens.
Types of Coop Heaters
Heating your chicken pens may be the best decision you make, considering some factors that can impact the lives of your fowl. It pays to know the types of coop heaters if you are a newbie in raising barn animals. Here are the five types of coop heaters:
Brooder lamps are unsafe if your bedding is composed of flammable materials, such as straw and wood shavings. These lamps are not ideal as they emit more heat. Light bulbs can still be a fire hazard even if they emit tiny amounts of heat. Secure the light bulbs tightly to prevent them from falling into the bedding.
Heating pads do not take up much space, as you can place them anywhere in the coop to match the internal temperature of your fowl. These pads are energy efficient and easy to clean.
Infrared heaters are energy savers as they use targeted heating. This heat lamp transfers the energy from a higher temperature to the chicken using electromagnetic radiation. It gives warmth within a few inches. The heater comes in various forms, like panels or bulbs. Install the infrared heater securely to prevent fire in your chicken pen.
Flat Panel Heaters
These heaters heat a general area in the chicken coop, using radiant heat to warm the chicken without using much energy. They function like cooking hotplates, but the heat is not extremely hot. It is safer to place the panel heater directly on flammable items without causing a fire. After exposure to the flat panel heaters, the chicken recovers frostbite and starts strutting in the coop.
Space heaters have different types: oil-filled, infrared, ceramic, and fan heaters. These heaters use electricity to warm the oil or air to pump heat towards the chicken coop. It is ideal for small to medium-sized pens. Space heaters warm up the space faster than other coop heaters, but they are costly.
The downside of space heaters is they may overheat in the long run. The highly recommended coop heaters include infrared heaters, flat panel heaters, and heating pads. Solar coop heaters may be cost-effective, but they are not commercially available because it is less popular.
Coop heaters have been a subject of debate due to their fire risks. Their usability depends on the given conditions discussed earlier in this blog. Certain conditions may require heaters as some chicken breeds are not cold-hardy. Heating the coop increases humidity, while poor ventilation may lead to frostbite, especially in chickens with large combs and wattles. The ideal temperature for chickens is 70 to 75 degrees F.