The story is always the same. Time after time, year after year, every single winter another coop, brooder, barn, home, livestock or life is lost due to a heat lamp fire.
Farming, no matter the scale, is an exercise in risk management. Even a small backyard flock requires many decisions to be made by carefully weighing the pros and cons and deciding if something is a risk worth taking.
Heating the coop, in my opinion, is not a risk worth taking. You might ask why? I’m cold so they must be too right?
Wrong, for thousands of years flocks have been able to not only exist but thrive without much human intervention at all. Many species of birds, including chickens, are well equipped with amazingly warm feathers and if they are allowed to naturally acclimate to changes in the weather they will not only do just fine but will actually be healthier.
While it is true that advancements in technology can be absolutely amazing making our jobs, chores and lives that much easier there are some, like the heat lamp, that have created more harm than help.
Even in the coldest part of winter, if your flock is provided a dry, well ventilated shelter with plenty of food and fresh water they will manage just fine. Hanging a 250-watt heat bulb from a $2 clamp situated above highly combustible bedding where it can fall or be knocked over at any time will possibly not have the same results. There are just so many variables inside that coop that are simply beyond our control.
Don’t become a statistic, take the time now to weather-proof the coop. Making sure that it is draft free and checking for leaks, proper ventilation and make those basic repairs before the worst of the weather hits and your flock will skate through the winter beautifully!