Best Lighting And Heating For A Chicken Coop

Chickens inside a chicken coop on a farm.

Lighting and heating can be a benefit in your chicken coop to keep your chickens healthy and productive. How do you know when heating and lighting are necessary, and what are the best options for these features in your chicken coop?

Lighting is important for chickens to keep them laying eggs throughout the winter. Heating is important in cold climates to keep the chickens warm to prevent frostbite and the chickens from dying from the cold. Timers and thermostats should regulate lighting and heating systems.

We will explore whether when lighting and heating in the chicken coop are necessary and the best options to implement these features in your chicken coop. Additionally, we will find out the importance of balancing lighting and heating and maintaining the systems to keep chickens in the best possible conditions.

Best chicken Coop Lighting And Heating

Chickens are easy animals to raise on the homestead, farm, or even in your backyard, but giving the birds the best conditions is important

One crucial aspect of caring for chickens that is often overlooked is providing proper lighting and heating in their coop. Adequate lighting and heating can make a big difference in keeping the flock in good condition and reducing stress, especially during cold or dark seasons.

Lighting For Chicken Coops

There are two main types of lighting for chicken coops; natural and artificial. Natural lighting refers to the light provided by the sun, while artificial lighting is provided by electric light fittings installed in the coop.

When choosing lighting options for a chicken coop, it’s essential to consider the age of the chickens, the coop’s location, and the climate.

Generally, chickens require about 14 to 16 hours of light per day to lay eggs consistently. You can use LED, incandescent, or compact fluorescent bulbs for artificial lighting in the coop.

Most chicken keepers, myself included, have moved away from incandescent bulbs because they can generate too much heat, which may be undesirable in warmer climates.

LED coop lights are the most energy-efficient and long-lasting, making them the best choice for most chicken coop setups. If you cannot get electricity to the chicken coop, solar lighting options are a great alternative and will reduce your chicken-keeping costs.

The ideal lighting schedule for chicken coops is 14-16 hours of light and 8-10 hours of darkness per day. Chickens require a period of darkness to rest and regulate their body temperature. You can use timers to ensure consistent light and darkness schedules.

Providing adequate lighting for your chickens can help regulate their internal body clock, promote egg-laying, and prevent health issues such as feather pecking and cannibalism. However, it is important not to overdo it with artificial lighting, as too much can disrupt natural chicken behavior and cause stress.

When Do Chickens Need Lighting In The Coop?

Chickens do not need artificial lighting all the time in the coop. There are certain stages of their lives and seasons of the year when providing artificial lighting is beneficial for the chickens.

Adult chickens do not need artificial lighting, but this lighting is beneficial in winter to keep the chickens’ egg production at a higher yield. If you do not want to maintain your chickens’ laying cycle through the winter, providing artificial lighting during this season is not always necessary.

If you have particularly long, dark winters, lighting in the coop may be beneficial for your chickens’ state of mind. They are happier when they have longer hours of light during the day.

Baby chicks need a more regular light supply than adults. This encourages their growth and keeps them eating for longer periods of the day.

Baby chickens raised separately from their mothers also need heating provided to prevent them from suffering from the cold. They would normally shelter under their mother’s feathers for warmth. If they cannot do this, alternative heating must be provided.

Depending on the lighting method chosen, the light source can also provide the heat source necessary to keep the chicks warm during the day. Separate heating must be provided at night when the lights go out.

Heating For Chicken Coops

There are several types of heating systems for chicken coops, including electric heaters, propane heaters, and radiant heaters.

Electric heaters are the most common, but propane heaters may be more effective in larger coops or in extremely cold climates. Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation and are often used for raising chicks.

When choosing a heating system for your chicken coop, it’s essential to consider the coop’s size, insulation, and location. You should also choose a system that is safe to use with chickens to prevent burn injuries.

Overheating can be as dangerous for chickens as a lack of heat. Electric heaters should have a thermostat and automatic shut-off features to prevent overheating.

Heating For Baby Chicks

Baby chicks are extremely sensitive to cold weather and can die very easily if the ideal temperatures are not maintained.

Newly hatched chicks need constant day and night heating to keep the temperature in their enclosure at 95°F or 35°C for the first week of their lives.

The temperature can be reduced by 5°F of 3°C for each subsequent week until, at 4 weeks old, they are kept at a temperature of 75°F or 23.8°C.

This gradual temperature reduction helps acclimate the chicks to the environment, and they need less heating as their feathers begin to replace the down.

The best heating for baby chicks is infrared lamps, such as the REPTI ZOO Infrared Heat Lamp, which output constant heat to keep the chicks warm. These lamps should be used together with a thermostat to regulate the temperature to within the ideal range for the chicks.

Heating For Adult Chickens

The ideal temperature range for chicken coops is between 50-90°F. However, chickens can tolerate colder temperatures as long as they have access to a warm, dry shelter.

In contrast, temperatures above 90°F or 32°C can cause heat stress, dehydration, and even death. Monitoring the temperature regularly and adjusting the heating system accordingly is important.

Providing adequate heating for your chickens is essential, especially during winter or colder climates. A warm and comfortable environment can help promote egg-laying and prevent health issues such as frostbite and respiratory diseases.

However, it’s important not to overheat the coop, as this can also cause health problems for chickens.

A heat source that works very well without introducing light is the REPTI Home 50W Ceramic Heat Emitter, which heats a ceramic coil to radiate heat into the chicken coop. These ceramic heaters are intended for reptile enclosures but also work well for chickens.

Use the ceramic heater with a thermostat to control the temperature in the coop and prevent overheating the chickens. Some heating systems have a built-in thermostat, but if yours doesn’t, you will need a separate thermostat to control the temperature.

Combining Lighting and Heating in Chicken Coops

Balancing lighting and heating in a chicken coop is crucial to maintaining the chickens’ health and productivity. Too much or insufficient levels of either can cause stress, disrupt natural behaviors, and lead to health problems.

You should provide consistent lighting and heating schedules to create the ideal chicken health and productivity environment.

The coop should be well-insulated and ventilated to regulate temperature and prevent moisture buildup. You can also use curtains or other materials to block out drafts and provide extra warmth during cold weather.

Combining lighting and heating in a chicken coop can help regulate the chickens’ internal clock, promote egg-laying, and prevent health issues such as respiratory diseases and frostbite. It can also help reduce stress and increase overall chicken well-being.

It’s important to monitor the lighting and heating systems regularly and make adjustments as needed.

For example, you may need to adjust the lighting schedule during the winter months to ensure adequate egg-laying. You should also check the heating system frequently to ensure it’s functioning properly and not posing any safety risks for the chickens.

Maintaining Lighting And Heating In Chicken Coops

It is important to regularly clean and maintain your lighting and heating systems in the chicken coop. This includes cleaning light fixtures and heaters, checking the wiring for damage, and replacing bulbs or heaters as needed.

If you notice any issues with the lighting or heating systems, it’s important to make adjustments promptly. For example, if the temperature in the coop is too low, you may need to adjust the heating system or add insulation.

If the lighting schedule is causing stress or behavioral issues in the chickens, you may need to adjust the timing or duration of the light.

Safety is also critical when maintaining lighting and heating systems in a chicken coop. Ensure all wiring and electrical components are properly installed and maintained and there are no potential fire hazards in the coop.


Proper lighting and heating are essential to maintaining a healthy and productive chicken coop. Consistent lighting and heating schedules, monitoring temperature and light levels, and conducting regular maintenance and cleaning, can help create an ideal environment for your chickens to thrive.

Heating and lighting are not always a requirement, but in certain climates and when raising baby chicks, it can be an essential chicken coop feature to ensure the survival of your chickens and keep them productive.


Owen Jung

Owen is the co-founder of Our Daily Homestead. Own grew up in his parent's homestead in Illinois and learned all things gardening, sustainability, and off-grid living while he was young. He now shares his knowledge through this website.

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