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Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop

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 Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop

With winter coming, I’ve been seeing quiet a few posts on adding light and heat to your chicken coop and I’d like to tell you why we don’t add lights to the chicken coop.

Here in Northwestern Pennsylvania we have some frigid winters with feet of snow. The area that I live in is actually called “The Snow Belt.”

Other than heat, another reason that people add lights to their coop is that egg production goes down with the shorter days.

Here’s how you can keep chickens warm in the winter without lights!


Nick and I did a lot of research before we bought our first chicks and chose Buff Orpingtons, because they are winter hardy birds that, although egg production goes down, do not stop laying all together.

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“Big Momma”

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Lights in the chicken coop seems like a good idea. More eggs, heat, what's not to love? These are some great reasons why you might want to reconsider adding lights to your chicken coop! #chickens #chickensinthewinter #backyardchickens #winterchickencare #achickandhergarden

My 3 Reasons Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop

My first reason for choosing not to use lighting in the coop is that if you give them heat that they rely on and then have a storm and lose power they could very easily freeze to death.

Or what if you are away from home for the day and the bulb burns out.

By not providing heat your chickens, if they are a winter hardy breed, they will build up a tolerance to the weather.

If they rely on that heat, when they lose it, their bodies aren’t prepared.

You can also provide heat naturally by using the deep liter method throughout the winter.

I will add a post later that goes more into detail on this. 

But the main idea is that by adding dry bedding daily you are keeping moisture down while the waste composts and creates heat.

My second reason for not adding light is that although you are artificially giving them a longer day to keep egg production up, you are actually shortening the length of time that they will produce for you, and possibly shortening their life.

Chickens do not have and unlimited supply of eggs and will eventually run out.

It is also hard work making eggs and winter gives them a much needed, and deserved rest from all of that work.

The third reason is that chickens are EXTREMELY flammable!

My cousin lives on a permaculture farm in Durango, CO.  He lost his coop and all of his birds to a fire started by the heat lamp.

If your chickens get close enough to brush up against the bulb they will catch fire.

Respect for our chickens…

Here at the Samuels’ Homestead we do use our chickens as a dual purpose bird.

They give us eggs and meat that is healthier, and tastier, than what you would find at the store.

But that doesn’t mean that we treat them any less than what we treat our pets.

We love and respect them for what they give to us.  In return we make sure that they have the best life possible that we can give to them.

Looking to raise dual purpose chickens like us? Grab a copy of Dual Purpose Chickens: Raise ‘Em Like Your Grandma Did for tips from brooder box to butchering!

So, if we don’t use lighting, how do we have eggs all year long?  Check it out here!

What are some ways that you provide for your birds in the winter?

This post was shared on Homestead Blog Hop

Rustin Lv

Monday 8th of April 2019

We have the solar light with Timer which is less than 45USD/set. It could keep more than 6hours with more 70Lm.

Kimmy Kamphaus

Monday 7th of May 2018

how do you keep water from freezing?

Staci Samuels

Tuesday 15th of May 2018

Hi Kimmy! I Slow the freezing down with a method in this article This helps to keep us from changing it out constantly throughout the day. And it's best to bring in overnight! :-) Hope that helps!

S Spiegel

Tuesday 6th of February 2018

I disagree with this post. The author assumes all lights that people use in a coop are heat lamps. I use LED rope lighting for a few hours in the morning. It puts off next to no heat and has an extremely minimal fire hazard. These are the same lights that people put directly on their dry Christmas trees and I have yet to hear of an LED Christmas tree fire.


Monday 25th of December 2017

Chickens do you have a predetermined number of eggs. That number though is in the thousands, far more than they will ever lay in their lifetime. I have found no proof in all my research that pairing lights will shorten their lives. I just seems to be an opinion not substantiated by any fact. Please provide your sources.

Renee Becker

Monday 1st of January 2018

I was wondering about that too. We have three low voltage heat lamps in our coop. It also has been saying that chickens will keep laying with more light. Which isnt true with my flock of 16 hens and 1 rooster. Every time before sunset I can find the entire flock up in the rafters, roosting. Not a single one will lay on their eggs for long periods. Maybe I dont have broody breeds, I dont know. But mine never want to lay on their eggs at night, even with the lights. Which I wasnt trying to accomplish. Our lights are purely to help keep predators away and accompanied by a radio we keep on 24/7.


Friday 1st of December 2017

From Minnesota here. I added a heated fan for about a month - WORST decision I could have made for my flock (and myself). The fan became dirty (quickly) and ended up causing a health hazard to the birds. Plus, adding any sort of electrical element always adds the danger of something catching on fire. The last thing you want is to be mixing sparks with wood, litter, and feathers. I now always go with deep litter method and make sure my coop walls are properly insulated. Also make sure you close any lower vents to prevent harsh cross-breezes. You need vents, but they should be high up, above perches so your birds don't catch frostbite. -James