Safely heating your chicken coop

Our temperatures have been dipping into the negatives here recently, so I wanted to give a different heating source a try for my chicken coop. I’m going to purchase this bulb/thermostat combo (below) from Amazon and follow up on the review:

A couple of caveats, I’m using a metal heat lamp ballast as opposed to ceramic that it says to use (but I think that’s in comparison to plastic that would melt, not metal).

It also comes with a thermostat so it will be interesting to see what temperature change it can achieve in my fairly large coop (~5 foot wide x ~8 foot long by ~4.5 foot tall with ~6 foot peak). Presently, I’ve only partially insulated my coop, and I’m using a clear heat bulb that’s not pumping out that much heat. Don’t know the current temperate in the coop, but it’s enough to freeze the water about every night (a.k.a., a water heating element will probably be my next purchase.

I will follow up with my review below:

Conclusion is I wouldn’t recommend the black led light to heat your coop — and not for perhaps the most obvious reasons. The light definitely generated heat, albeit not as intense as the red heat lamp bulb I got from Tractor Supply. My biggest issue was there was no visual indication that it was even on. To be fair, this did offer a pro to the chickens in that they didn’t have to deal with artificial light (and potentially screw up their day/night cycle), but I had an issue with the safety of this “blind” heat.

  1. You can’t tell if it’s on. You may accidentally touch it or let something in the coop touch it without realizing it. It definitely gets hot enough to burn your skin, or to catch something flammable aflame.
  2. You cannot readily tell from inside the house if your chickens are getting warmed by the light — red light may be obnoxious but at least you know the electric didn’t short out or that the bulb went bad.

I did however love the little digital thermostat that came with my led bulb. I have it hanging in my coop to check the interior temp and found that with the black led and the red heat lamp I could consistently keep the coop at least 10 degrees warmer than the outside temp (and I have a big coop to heat). This was great for developing a baseline, so I now know that my coop is above freezing when using those two bulbs up to 22 degrees outside temp — which in my region typically only happens 4 to 6 weeks a year all in.

So in summary I still use the led bulb, but only in conjunction with another bulb that can give a visible indication that the whole heating system is still running.