When it comes to keeping a chicken coop warm through the cold winter months, the safety of your flock certainly needs to be a top priority.
Unfortunately, heating a coop can be quite the fire hazard if not done properly. After all, straw, wood, and even dry manure are all extremely combustible. And they are all prominent in chicken coops!
The recent cold snap across much of the U.S. has led to a bevy of questions to our blog in the last few weeks about finding the best methods for heating a coop. Or, is it even necessary to heat it at all.
So today, we decided to tackle that subject head on. And it all begins with knowing what chickens need most to survive winter.
Chickens And Cold Weather –
So is it necessary to heat a coop to keep chickens warm? The answer to that is question is not always. But in extreme cold or adverse weather, it can certainly be beneficial to meet their core needs.
An unheated, but well-designed, insulated coop that keeps drafts and moisture out will keep chickens more than comfortable and safe. Especially if they have access to quality food, and water that isn’t frozen solid.
As it turns out, chickens are not bothered by cold temperatures as much as they are by drafts and moisture.
Their thick coat of feathers are well designed to keep them warm, even as the thermometer drops low. But those feathers work best when they are dry and not exposed to drafts.
Once their feathers become wet and damp, and they are unable to dry them out, they lose their ability to keep warm. And that is when trouble can set in for your flock.
Especially if their water becomes frozen solid as well. And that is exactly when supplying the coop with a few safe, supplemental heating sources can help your flock out in a big way.
Here is a look at 3 products that can keep your chickens comfortable and safe when extremely frigid temperatures set in.
3 Ways To Safely Keep Your Chicken Coop Warm & Cozy
#1) Ceramic Heat Bulbs In Place Of Heat Lamps
Heat lamps, or traditional 75 or 100 watt light bulbs can be extremely dangerous in a coop. They can easily ignite straw, cardboard, and even manure if the heat source is dry and aged – even from a distance.
And that is exactly where ceramic heat bulbs are an excellent, and much safer alternative. We have been using them in our coop, and do they ever help in providing a bit of radiant heat to the space.
Originally developed for terrariums for keeping snakes and lizards warm, these bulbs emit an even, radiant heat. But even better, without the light that can disrupt the sleeping patterns of your flock. Product Link : Ceramic 100 Watt Heat Bulbs
#2 Using A Flat Panel Chicken Heater – How To Keep A Chicken Coop Warm
Another great alternative for heating up a coop space is a flat panel chicken heater. Flat panels have become increasingly popular over the last few years for both their effectiveness and safety.
The 200 watt heater has no bulbs or lamps to replace, and instead emits warm heat from the entire panel space.
It can be placed at the floor level safely to help direct heat wherever you need it. Even better, it can help keep a water source from freezing when placing it nearby the water. Product Link : Chicken Coop Flat Panel Heater
It is both energy efficient, and a much safer alternative to using heat lamp or light bulbs for heating the coop
#3 Using A Water Heater – How To Keep A Chicken Coop Warm
Ask any backyard chicken owner the most frustrating thing of taking care of chickens in the winter, and the subject of frozen water will likely come up.
One of the most important aspects of keeping your chickens safe and happy through the cold is to keep a water source available to them. Without proper water, they can become dehydrated, which hinders their ability to stay warm too.
There is nothing like constantly chipping ice, or replacing water buckets every time they freeze. But all of that goes away with a heated chicken coop water bucket.
There are several models available to choose from. Some use a heated base to keep ice from forming in the water above. Others, like the 3 Gallon Poultry Water in the picture, are a complete heated system.
Here is to keeping your chicken coop warm, and you chickens safe and comfortable – even in the coldest of temperatures. Happy Chicken Raising – Jim and Mary
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