5 Different Types of Chicken Coop Heaters & Our Favorite

5 Different Types of Chicken Coop Heaters (+ Our Favorite) Blog Cover

This is one of those chicken topics where everyone has an opinion, and their opinion is always right!

Heating the coop has always been a source of endless discussion among chicken folk. Old timers will tell you that you don’t have to heat the coop.

However, there are occasions when heat is appropriate.

Today we will get into the nitty gritty of chicken coop heaters and explain your options, when heating is necessary, FAQs and much more…

Types of Chicken Coop Heater

Cozy Products Safe Chicken Coop Pet Heater Flat Panel Great 5 star rating
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Sweeter Heater Infrared Heater for Chickens Infrared Heater Good 4 star rating
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Pelonis Oil Filled Radiator Heater Oil Radiator Okay 4 star rating
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Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder Brooding Plates Great 5 star rating
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The recent innovation in coop heaters has been a blessing. For years people relied on brooder lamps alone. These can be dangerous things to have in a coop filled with dust, feathers and flying creatures!

Flat Panel Heater

The Best Chicken Coop Heater
Cozy Products Safe Chicken Coop Pet Heater Cozy Products Safe Chicken Coop Pet Heater

  • No need to worry about replacing bulbs or lamps
  • Cost effective as it only heats area you need it to
  • 1 heater can provide enough warmth for 6 chickens

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These are my favorite type of heater. They are safe and inexpensive to use, and are also easy to install. They look a bit like a flat screen TV; they can be fixed to a wall or left free standing.

A flat panel will not heat the entire coop, just a small area so placing it near the roosting perches will provide the most benefit.

Sweeter Heater

Infrared Chicken Coop Heater
Sweeter Heater Infrared Heater for Chickens Sweeter Heater Infrared Heater for Chickens

  • Automatically turns off when desired temperature is reached
  • Comes with both overhead and side mountings
  • Safe and energy efficient providing even heat spread

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This is an infra-red heater that can be hung overhead or fitted on side mounts.

Like the flat panel heater, this will only heat a small area. Sweeter heaters are simply and safely designed for use in the coop or in the brooding pen.

It would be most effective hung near the roosting perches. This too is easy to clean; it is a sealed unit and comes with a 3 year warranty.

It is a little bit more expensive than others mentioned here, but is well worth the money if you are going to use it frequently as a brooding lamp.

Oil Filed Radiator

Oil Filed Radiator Chicken Coop Heater
Pelonis Oil Filled Radiator Pelonis Oil Filled Radiator Heater with Digital Thermostat

  • Digital thermostat so you can choose suitable temperature
  • Built in safety switch which turns heat off if radiator is knocked over
  • Ultra-quiet operation so it won’t disrupt your hens sleeping

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This is another safe space heater that is suitable for a chicken coop.

These are not as economical as other heaters to run, however they are cheaper to buy.

I have used one of these and it did a reasonable job of heating a small coop. A large coop would not have benefitted and it would have been costly to run. One drawback here is that they are fiddly to clean after use.

Brooding Plates

Best Chicken Coop Heater for Chicks
Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder for Chicks Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder for Chicks

  • Saves you money; heat lamp runs at 250 watts, this runs at 14 watts
  • No need to worry about heat lamp fires anymore
  • Height adjustable as your chicks grow in size

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If you are brooding chicks through the colder months you will need to use a proper brooder such as an ‘electric hen’ or a brooding plate.

There is a large variety of shapes, designs and prices to choose from. Please remember though, if you use one of these plates, the brooding area must be draft proof of the chicks may chill and die despite your heater.

If you’re worried about the cost to run, many brooding plates are automatically set to turn on at 35°F and off at 45°F.

Brooder Lamp

Some folks still use a brooder heat lamp to heat coops in the winter. I cannot say strongly enough that this is a dangerous practice that can cost the lives of your birds, destruction of the coop and possibly worse.

When you put a hot light bulb in a room that is filled with straw, feathers and dander the chances of an unhappy ending are very high.

The amount of heat put out by these lamps is really too much for a chicken coop.

Light Bulb

If you have no other choice, a simple light bulb will work effectively to heat the coop. A 40w light bulb will put out enough heat to raise the temperature a few degrees for the birds.

You must ensure that it is well secured and cannot fall and come into contact with combustible materials. It also needs to be out of the way for flying birds!

Again like the brooder lamp, I really don’t recommend this as it is a fire hazard.

Other Ways to Keep Coop Warm

If possible, you should add some sort of insulation to your coop.

You can use a foam-board, insulating bat, even cardboard, feed sacks or shredded newspaper will help. Ensure you cover all insulation with wooden boards or other peck-proof material otherwise your chickens will eat the insulation. It is not good for them or your cash flow!

Increasing the amount of bedding for the floor will help with insulation too; straw and hay have a lot of air pockets that stay warm.

One thing to always remember is space. If you have four hens sitting in a large coop it leaves a lot of empty space to heat. Look at ways to reduce the overall size of the room, or can you move them to smaller quarters for the winter?

Blocking off part of the coop can reduce the area that needs to be kept warm; ways to reduce the size of the room could include things like partitioning off parts of the coop with plastic sheeting.

Please do not stack straw bales inside the coop; they can become moldy and toxic to your birds. Outside around the coop is acceptable although it will attract vermin.

When Should You Use a Coop Heater?

The vast majority of chickens can shake off the cold much better than us humans; after all, they do have a superb down coat!

While us feeble humans are dressed in four layers of clothing before we even get out of bed, chickens will be up and positively happy while the mercury slides ever downward.

A chickens’ core temperature normal runs between 105-107°F; a baby chicks’ temperature is slightly lower at 103.5°F. It will rise as the chick matures until it reaches adult levels. As you see, they are ‘hot stuff’ to start with; their metabolism is much different to ours.

In preparation for the colder months, chickens will molt, growing in a new set of feathers to keep them warm and insulated during those bitterly cold months right after the winter solstice. Those feathers will be fluffed up to keep warm air trapped against the body and they may huddle together for warmth.

In the coop overnight, it has been estimated that each hen puts out the warmth of a 10w light bulb, so they do generate a small but consistent amount of heat for themselves.

If you give them a small amount of scratch grains or cracked corn before bedtime, they will generate a little more warmth from processing the grains during the night.

The coop needs to be draft proof and well ventilated. Chickens need to be able to get out of drafty areas as the draft will compromise their ability to keep warm. If you need further advice read our winter care guide.

Ventilation in the coop is also essential.

To judge when you should heat the coop, you need to watch your chickens. If they seem content to go about their business normally, have no signs of frostbite and are socializing with each other, they are doing fine.

If they seem lethargic, are off food and water and reluctant to move – it’s time for a little heat.

Known Exceptions

Chicks in WinterChickens that may be considered exceptions to the rules are birds such as Frizzles and Silkies, tropical breeds such as jungle fowl, sick or ailing birds and chicks.

Frizzles and Silkies have a really hard time staying warm with those funky feathers. The feathers do not sit against the skin so the insulation factor is severely compromised for them.

Recently imported Jungle fowl have a hard time acclimating to a cool climate because they are born to live in a hot, humid environment. It will take time for them to acclimate to your weather.

Fully feathered chicks should be fine without heat. They are young and healthy and can tolerate the cold well. If you have chicks that are still feathering out, try to maintain their ambient temperature at around 60-65°F until full feathered, then turn off the heat.

If they are new hatchlings, they need to be kept in brooder conditions.

Dangers of Heating the Coop

There are some things to look out for when heating your coop (apart from the obvious fire hazard).


Your chickens can survive bitterly cold weather (down to 0°F). When you heat the coop you need to be aware that if the power goes out and you have a quick drop in temperature in the coop – your hens may die because they cannot cope with the sudden drastic change.


When you increase the heat you will increase humidity. This increases the chance of frostbite to birds with large combs and wattles.

Remember, your coop doesn’t need to be tropical. It should not go below 32°F but it doesn’t need to be any higher than 40°F.

FAQs about Heating a Coop

Chickens Out in SnowI don’t want to use a heater, what else can I do?

Insulating the coop will help tremendously. Make sure there aren’t any drafts too. Check out our other ideas for heating the coop in the section above.

My hens are sleepy and aren’t eating, what’s wrong?

Your hens may have a low body temperature or hypothermia. Take them into a warm place for a few hours and see if they improve. If they start getting active and eating, you need to heat the area they are kept in.

My hens have frostbitten combs, should I raise the heat?

No, heat is not the problem, moisture is; you need to better ventilate your coop. See our article on coop ventilation here.


The key is to remember that too much heat can also be detrimental to the health of your birds. Just because you are almost frozen to the spot, doesn’t mean it will affect your chickens the same way.

The birds are in a dry, draft proof area, they have food and water so they don’t really need to go outside, but they will. For an expedition outside the coop, they are well equipped; a cozy set of feathers insulating them against the arctic air.

If you were to hang a thermometer in the coop, the temperature will almost always be warmer than outside – my coops have never been below 32-34°F even in the coldest snap of winter.

So remember, heat the coop for the comfort level of your birds, not your comfort level! They are two entirely separate things!

Lastly, buy the best, most safe and durable heating items you can. You may need to use them time after time and if you have a safe and reliable unit you can sleep easier at night.

Let us know in the comments section below your favorite way to heat your coop…

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  1. Kelley says

    I’m thinking about heating our coop, because we have one chicken…she’s a rescue, and special. Because she’s only one, I really feel she needs a little heat…no other fluffy butts to snuggle with.

    • Rachel says

      You need more than one chicken. That’s just cruel to keep her by herself. If she’s the only one she needs to be in the house.

      • Corrie Ariens says

        We only have one hen as well. We tried getting her a companion and that did not go too well. She was very hostile and mean to the new hen and pecked at her feet all the time. At night she would chase the new hen off the perch over and over. The new hen became very lethargic and sick. I think it was stress. We ended up sending her to chicken heaven. Now we have the single hen and I’m not sure if I should warm her coop for her or not.

        • Sarajane Galloway says

          When You interdoose a hand to your other hands always said a corner of the co-op or an area that’s close where they can see each other but separated with chicken wire that way they get used to each other and then bring them out out of the co-op and let them get together out of the co-op and eventually they will get along after a couple weeks

          • Sarajane Galloway says

            Sorry about the spelling lol my phone has a mine of its own lol🤪🤣 It was to say hen not hand


    We live in SW Florida and just adopted our friends 4 chickens 6 weeks ago. They are very tame and so much fun. They have a beautiful coop and nice side yard to play in. We’re concerned about the cold weather. It rarely gets below 30 degrees, but just in case we wanted to get a coop warmer. We are looking at the Flat-screen coop warmer, but what accessories do we need to buy to be sure it goes on and off at the correct temperature? Thanks

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Candi,

      Most flat panel heaters will have thermometers built in so they will come on/off automatically.


  3. Traci Sonney says

    Thanks so much for your information. This is my first winter with chickens and I have been using a red heat lamp so far (it was 17 degrees F this morning). Even though I have it mounted as safely as I can, it made me nervous but I didn’t know what else to use. Today I ordered the flat panel heater, it was relatively inexpensive on Amazon and I should have it in two days. Thanks for helping me keep my girls safer!

  4. Margie says

    I see you suggested using foam board as insulation. That is fine if it is on the outside and covered with plywood or siding of some sort. I made the mistake of putting the foam board on the inside of the coop and they have eaten up as far as they can jump! THEY WILL PECK IT AWAY! Beware!!!

  5. Stacy says

    It is 12 degrees this morning in my chicken coop, and the temp is supposed to get down to 0 this week. The chickens were all acting normally this morning. No frostbite on any of them. I have four who have decided to start molting in the last couple of days. To heat or not to heat??

  6. KidePlace.com says

    this safe, energy-efficient, reliable heater is our favorite type by a mile! They are far, far safer than the traditional heat lamp alternative, and will save you money on electricity in the long run. Plus, they’re designed and manufactured in the USA.

  7. Mark says

    You said chickens can survive down to 0 F, but I live up in Canada and we have temperatures often around -20 F in Jan and Feb. This is going to be our first winter with chickens, is heating a must? I was thinking of putting a 10×20 shelter over the coop to keep the wind and snow away, should I add a heat source as well? Thinking moisture might be a problem, but if the shelter has venting around the top, should be fine. Any points or tips for extreme cold and snowy climates?!??! Thanks

  8. Beth says

    This is our first winter with chickens. I built them a beautiful well insulated coop with a large run attached that I wrapped in Poly for additional protection. The temperature last night hit -30* and wind chills where down to -40 I installed 2 cozy coop heaters, I have 11 chickens And one duck (we had 2 but one got attacked by a timber wolf as well as 3 chickens) even with all of that and extra bedding and extra draft protection it tough keeping things warm enough (the coop was down to 10*) we are just getting rolling with winter and it is not uncommon for us to have a month straight where temperatures won’t rise above-20 and at night will fall to -50 or even lower with -70* windchills. I may try lining there cedar shiplaped walls with cardboard. Thank you for the idea. I was contemplating that but it’s nice to have an expert reinforce the idea. I am worried about the ladies! (Doesn’t help that 2 of them chose to molt right now!)

  9. Chicken Momma says

    We have 5 barred rock hens they are a year and a half old. This is the second winter in New Hampshire for them. Our coop has a house with the nests where they only go in to lay eggs. When they were little they did sleep on the perch inside the coop. As they got older they decided to roost on the roost in the run which is covered with hardware cloth, and a roof. We have the cozy coop panel heater in the nesting area, should I move it down to the run and place it close to the roost? When it gets really cold we wrap the whole coop and run with tarps. Are we doing it wrong?

  10. Carey says

    We are down to a single chicken, a Barnvelder, who is nearly 7 and doing just fine, alone. She gets to roam our yard during the day and I spend time with her, as her flock mate 🙂 We will be moving next spring, so I am not planning to get any more hens, until after we see what kind of set-up we can have in place at our new home. Should I be concerned about heating her coop this winter?

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