Imagine your chickens in their coop during the wintertime.
The snow is falling outside and the wind is throwing leaves off the nearby trees. Your chickens are huddled together and shivering.
Maybe it is time to consider a chicken coop heater?
These heaters are used to provide heat in the chicken coop.
They are specifically designed with small and enclosed spaces in mind which means they are suitable for chicken coops.
Keep reading to learn all about the different types of chicken coop heaters and how to pick the best one for your flock…
The Best 5 Chicken Coop Heaters
|The Best Heater
|Sweeter Chicken Coop Heater
|Best Affordable Heater
|Cozy Safe Chicken Coop Heater
|Best Brooder Heater
|Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder
|Runner Up Chick Heater
|K&H Thermo-Peep Heated Pad
|Best Space Heater
|DeLonghi Oil-Filled Radiator
Best Heater: Sweeter Heater
The Sweeter Heater is one of the best chicken coop heaters around. This is a lamp style heater that is suspended from the ceiling. Although it does not have an adjustable heat setting, the strength of the heat can be adjusted based on how high or low you choose to hang the heater. The heater is completely sealed which makes it waterproof and easy to wash. It also has a safety feature that shuts the heater off if it senses that heat is not escaping the chicken coop.
- Very durable and sturdy unit.
- Safety feature which shuts off heater when it is too hot.
- Ideal for larger flocks.
- Sealed unit makes it waterproof and easy to wash.
- Can be used for variety of animals.
- A touch expensive.
- Does not have multiple heat options.
- Needs to have a surface to be hung from.
- Can be difficult to setup and hang.
Best Affordable Heater: Cozy Safe Heater
Your chickens will be toasty warm with the Cozy Safe Heater. This heater is a sleek and slim black heating plate. It is small and compact which makes it perfect for smaller chicken coops. This heater is not designed to heat an entire coop, but to only warm the air closest to it. Chickens who prefer to be warmer can move closer to the heater and when they are warm enough, they can move away from it to cool down. This safe chicken coop heater is a much safer alternative to space heaters and it is also cheaper to run.
- The perfect no-hassle chicken coop heater.
- Comes with two different heat levels.
- This heater is very energy efficient.
- Very easy to install.
- It is slim and compact which means it can easily be wall mounted.
- Not suitable for larger coops.
- Does not have an off switch.
- Limited heating range.
- Does not have a thermostat.
Brooder For Chicks: Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder
The Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder is a great option if you are hatching and raising chicks. It has a tent style roof which is height adjustable. This design means that chicks can huddle underneath it to keep warm. There is also a convenient indicator light to let you know that the brooder is connected to a power source and working. This is a great chicken brooder heater.
- The heater’s height is easily adjustable.
- Can be used in any size coop.
- Small and compact.
- Only heats underside so saves lots of energy.
- Can only be used with chicks.
- No adjustable heat setting.
- A touch difficult to assemble.
- Slightly more expensive.
Runner Up Heater: K&H Thermo-Peep Heated Pad
The K&H Thermo-Peep Heated Pad is a great option for those looking for a well-rounded chick heater. This small and compact chicken coop heater flat panel can be mounted to the wall or used on the floor of the brooder/chicken coop. It is durable enough to withstand pecking and other usual wear and tear. Best of all this plate will manage it’s own temperature which means that it will turn on and off automatically to keep your chickens warm.
- Very well price and budget friendly.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Turns on and off automatically.
- Strong and durable.
- Can be used with chicks.
- Not warm enough to replace a brooder lamp.
- Temperature can not be manually adjusted.
- No temperature indicator.
Best Space Heater: DeLonghi Oil-Filled Radiator
The DeLonghi Oil-Filled Radiator is a great option for those looking for a large coop heater. This heater has a low surface temperature which means it is safe to touch. This is important when choosing a heater in case your chickens decide to huddle up against the heater’s surface. It also has adjustable heat settings that can prevent overheating in the chicken coop. Interestingly it also has an anti-freeze setting which turns the heating unit on when the room temperature drops below 44°F.
- Very quiet heater.
- Low surface temperature.
- Overheating prevention safety feature.
- Different heat settings.
- Very low maintenance.
- The low heat setting is very weak.
- Is expensive to buy.
- Can sometimes have an oily smell.
- The on/off timer is not customizable.
What To Know Before Buying A Chicken Coop Heater
Before buying a chicken coop heater there are a few things you need to think about.
The first thing is do your chickens actually need one?
Whether your chickens need a coop heater will depend on the temperature range they will experience throughout the wintertime.
Backyard chickens that are exposed to temperature drops below freezing will need a heater.
Although most chicken breeds are perfectly capable of keeping themselves warm, their small bodies are put under strain to provide body heat. The energy that they normally use for egg laying and running around will instead be used to keep themselves warm.
If you notice your chickens are sluggish and they stop laying eggs then you should consider getting a chicken coop heater to make your chickens more comfortable.
Next up is older and sick chickens.
It is strongly recommended that you provide sick and older chickens with a heater.
These chickens are weaker due to old age (or sickness) and it may be difficult for them to keep warm and healthy throughout the winter months.
You may also want to consider getting a heater if you keep tropical chicken breeds.
Topical chicken breeds are not designed to tolerate the cold as well as other cold hardy breeds and can really suffer in the cold.
As far as how many heaters do you need, this will depend on the size of your coop, how many chickens you have and the type of heater.
A good general rule of thumb is that you should keep the coop warm enough to prevent the water in the waterer from freezing.
Most setups will be fine with a single heater placed near the roosting area.
What Are The Dangers of Heating a Chicken Coop?
The biggest danger of using a chicken coop heater is the chance of fire.
If the heater shorts out, or makes the coop too hot, it can cause the flammable bedding to ignite.
Apart from fires, there is the danger that your heating source suddenly goes out. Lightbulb-powered heater are especially dangerous as the lightbulb may suddenly go out. Either naturally, or if a flighty chicken crashes into it.
It is incredibly dangerous if the heat source suddenly goes out, as chickens are very bad at adjusting to severe sudden changes in temperature. Going from warm and cozy to the freezing cold can cause them to go into shock. This can be fatal and kill chickens.
One last danger associated with chicken coop heaters is that many do not have thermostats. In lots of places, the weather can quickly change. What starts out as a very cold morning may turn into a warm, sunny day. If the heater cannot tell this and is left on, it can cause the coop to become way too hot.
Even if the coop does not catch on fire, it can cause chickens to overheat and become dehydrated.
Key Features Of Heaters to Consider
Some key features that you may want to keep in mind when choosing a heater include: safety features, heating capabilities and ease of installation.
Keeping these key things in mind will make sure you get the right heater for your flock.
Here are all the essential things that you should look for.
First up are the safety features.
Any heater should automatically turn off after a certain amount of time. This is a great feature for those concerned about their chickens overheating and becoming dehydrated in the coop. The heater may turn off through a sensor that reads the surrounding temperature.
Next up is temperature control.
Some chicken coop heaters perform at one heat level that cannot be adjusted. This is ideal for those who require a constant and consistent source of heat to warm their chickens. These heaters are often hung off the ceiling of the coop and temperature adjusted by height.
Others have switches to a warm and warmer heat level to make it more suitable for a variety of climates and coops. This makes it easy for you to adjust the heat to a comfortable level for the chickens.
Finally, ease of installation.
Heaters with complex instructions run the risk of being installed incorrectly and will therefore not work correctly.
As a general rule it is best to choose a heater with easy and simple installation instructions.
This way you can be certain the heater is setup and working properly.
Common Problems With Coop Heaters
The most common problem with using a heater is the risk of a fire.
Unfortunately chicken coops are the perfect breeding ground for fire accidents because they have lots of highly flammable fuel sources, such as dry straw, hay, feed, feathers and wood.
You should make sure that the chicken coop heater is installed properly and securely fixed. Watch the heater closely for the first couple of days to make sure everything is working properly.
Caution should also be taken to avoid overheating your chickens in the coop.
If your chickens are kept too hot then they can get sick. To stop overheating you should make sure your coop has good ventilation.
A good rule of thumb is if it is too hot for you then it is too hot for your chickens.
Lastly, make sure there is plenty of water for them to drink as well.
Extra Ways To Keep Chickens Warm
There are several extra ways to keep your chickens warm: giving them different feeds, bunching the flock together and insulating the chicken coop.
The easiest method to keeping your chickens warmer during the wintertime is to feed them a varied and strong diet.
Feeding chickens corn will turn on their digestive system which will produce heat.
Bunching the flock together is another way to keep chickens warm during the wintertime. Chickens will naturally huddle together and roost to keep themselves warm. Giving them the space to roost and warm up is essential.
The last thing you can do is insulate the coop.
You can get insulation panels from any local hardware store. It does not need to be expensive – you can even use cardboard!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I put a heater in my chicken coop?
The short answer is it depends.
If your chickens are showing signs of being too cold then it is time for a heater. Common signs of your chickens getting too cold include lethargy, reduced egg laying and frostbite. Lethargy means your chickens are not as active as they usually are, reduced egg laying is a huge concern if you depend on their egg production and frostbite is extremely painful for chickens to deal with.
What is the best way to heat a chicken coop?
The best way to heat a chicken coop will depend on the size of your coop.
Some chicken coop heaters are very large and designed to heat an entire room. This kind of heater is best for large coops with a tall ceiling. You should use this kind of heater if you need to warm your coop significantly.
Others are relatively small and are small heating plates – these are perfect for smaller coops. This style of heater is designed to release heat directly in the air close to the heater so that chickens can move away and towards the plate depending on how warm they want to be.
How cold is too cold for chickens?
There is no magic number to answer this.
Generally though any weather where it is freezing means there is a risk your chickens get frostbite. In these conditions you should provide a heater and pay close attention to them. If your chickens are not as active as usual and seem sick it is a good indicator that they might need a heater.
For those of us who live in cooler climates, chicken coop heaters are a great option to keep your chickens comfortable.
Best of all there are a variety of styles with many different features to suit your unique needs.
We hope our article has helped your decide which heater is best for you.
If you have any questions about chicken coop heaters please leave a comment in the comments section below…
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