Should you add a heat source to your chicken coop?
Are you new to raising chickens and wondering whether or not to put a heater or a heat lamp in their coop? We'd advise against it. While it may seem like second nature to add a heat source to your coop, it's not the safest idea and chickens typically don't need it.
The biggest problem with adding a heat source to your chicken coop is that it could catch fire. You have flammable bedding in a confined space that could lead to deadly and costly consequences. Not only could it cause a fire, but it could burn the chickens. As you know, chickens don't always stay still. They may end up touching the heat source by accident and injuring themselves.
Thankfully, chickens don't need an additional heat source anyway, so it's more of a danger than a help. Chickens inherently know to come together and keep themselves warm with their body heat when it's cold outside. You can help them by adding a roosting area up higher in their coop where more heat tends to linger.
Another way to help your chickens stay warm during those cold winter days is by making sure the coop is well insulated. If you don't have enough insulation built into the coop, consider adding some sheets of cardboard or foam. Cover up the insulation, though, because you know the chickens will be pecking at it if you skip that step.
Additional insulation can help the heat stay inside and help your feathery friends stay warm. Just keep in mind that you don't want the coop sealed too tight or you could end up with another problem. Ammonia can build which can cause your chickens to become ill. There needs to be enough ventilation in the coop to keep that from happening.
We know you want to keep your chickens healthy throughout the winter, but as you can see, a heat source isn't the ideal choice. Instead, install a roost or additional insulation to help your birds survive the winter.