Why I Hate Using Heat Lamps in Coops

Published on 25 April 2024 at 10:53

As a backyard poultry enthusiast, I’ve tried various methods to keep my chickens warm during cold winter months. However, one method I’ve come to dislike over the years is using heat lamps in the coop. While they may seem like a quick fix for keeping chickens warm, there are several reasons why I’ve grown to hate using them.

  1. Fire Hazard: One of the biggest concerns with heat lamps is the fire risk they pose. They can easily ignite bedding, feathers, or other flammable materials in the coop, leading to devastating fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heat lamps are a leading cause of coop fires, especially during the winter months (source).

  2. Overheating: Heat lamps can create hot spots in the coop, leading to overheating. Chickens are surprisingly resilient to cold weather, but they are not as tolerant of high temperatures. Overheating can cause stress, dehydration, and even death in extreme cases.

  3. Energy Consumption: Heat lamps consume a significant amount of energy, leading to higher electricity bills. In colder climates, they may need to run constantly, further adding to the cost.

  4. Inefficient Heating: Heat lamps only heat a small area directly beneath them, leaving the rest of the coop relatively cold. This can lead to uneven temperatures and discomfort for the chickens.

  5. Risk of Injury: Chickens are curious creatures and may peck at or fly into the heat lamp, leading to burns or other injuries.


    Instead of relying on heat lamps, I’ve found other methods to keep my chickens warm and comfortable during the winter:

    • Insulation: Proper insulation in the coop can help retain heat generated by the chickens' bodies.
    • Deep Bedding: A thick layer of bedding, such as straw or wood shavings, provides insulation and helps trap heat.
    • Draft Prevention: Closing up drafts in the coop with insulation or weather stripping can help keep cold air out.
    • Natural Light: Maximizing natural light during the day can help keep the coop warmer.

    In addition to avoiding heat lamps, another method I’ve found effective for keeping baby chicks warm is using a brooder plate. Brooder plates mimic the warmth of a mother hen by providing a warm surface for chicks to snuggle under. Unlike heat lamps, brooder plates are much safer and more energy-efficient. They also provide a more natural environment for the chicks, allowing them to regulate their own body temperature more effectively. I've found that using a brooder plate not only reduces the risk of fire but also creates a more comfortable and stress-free environment for my baby chicks.

    By implementing these methods, I’ve been able to keep my chickens warm and safe without relying on heat lamps. Not only have I reduced the risk of fire, but I’ve also saved on energy costs and provided a more comfortable environment for my flock.

    Do you use heat lamps in your coop? What methods do you prefer for keeping your chickens warm in the winter? Let me know in the comments below!

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