I never use a heat lamp in the coop unless I am brooding chicks that aren't fully feathered out. Even when I lived in South Dakota. The birds, if healthy, have a good insulating layer of fat and a down coat to keep them warm. I do reduce drafts while still allowing good ventilation. Heat or moisture will kill more easily than cold will.
Make sure there's no drafts on them in the coop and they should be fine. We feed ours warm oatmeal and cream in the morning when it's cold, sounds decadent but I learned it here! If you think they need a little heat (you don't say where you live) an incandescent bulb puts out enough heat. You don't want to raise the temp too much, that can make them sick.
It's not advised to use any heat in the coop. There is a risk of fire and then there is a risk of a power outage and the heat having prevented your birds from naturaly adapting to the cold. Then they just all freeze to death.
I did put one in in my coop this year, in a corner, because for the first time ever I had baby peacocks. It didn't go so well.
It is either you leave the coop totally unheated or you heat the whole coop. Chickens are likely to die of cold when only part of the coop is heated. The reason being that when they're in a cold environment, they keep warm by fluffing up their feathers to trap air that will form an insulative layer. This layer of air helps keep them warm and prevent death from cold. But if you heat part of the coop, any hen that abandon the heat later on will not have her feathers fluffed up, and so they'll be affected by cold. You can see more here: http://hencam.com/faq/cold-weather-care/
Never. Adult chickens don't need a heat lamp . I got some hens last year from a breeder. Her hubby is a barn builder & she had a gorgeous coop. The problem? It was actually over insulated & air tight. The moisture from the birds' breath was causing them to get frostbite on their combs. I have a very nice coop that came with the property. Very rare is the night that I don't leave a window cracked so that moisture doesn't build up.
No heat lamp in the plans for my birds, I'm in Michigan, its snowing right now and there's no hope of getting above freezing for a few days, and it's only November!
I am finding that I built my coop to nicely and sealed up (to make it 100% predator proof), because my humidity in the coop is WAY to high. Thank God I put a cheap temp/humidity gauge in there or I would have had no idea. The coop is 4x4 foot print, and about 4 high with a slanted roof, there are 4 birds inside, and I originally built it with vents at the top of 2 walls. Being winter and the fact that they are in the coop about 14-15 hours a day and pooping a lot more in the coop, the humidity was about 80%!! This past weekend I cut open each of the vent holes to about 2x as big as they were, added another vent on a 3rd wall, and added a small hole near the top of the 4th west facing wall. I am hoping that this helps, but the humidity gauge is still reading close to about 70%, which is still pretty high. I am thinking about switching over to sand bedding in the coop so that I can sift the poop out daily and quicker without removing so much bedding each time ($$). This is my first year/winter with chickens, so I'm adjusting the coop, bedding and venting as I go to meet their needs.
Yep, it's true that any of the small combs are better than the single combs in regards to frostbite. Rose , pea, walnut, etc...don't have the high points that will get the burns....5 degrees here this morning and it's still Fall.
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