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#73144 - 11/20/05 09:24 PM red light or not
Nickers3 Offline

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 42
Loc: Idaho
I have been told that it is better to use a red light in the coop for heating as compared to a regular white light. Does this have to do with the eyes not dilating with the red light so they may not think it's daylight? Any help would be appreciated as I think my girls and especially my rooster are confused.

#73145 - 11/21/05 07:04 AM Re: red light or not
Sneakers Offline

Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 19
Loc: Massachusetts
Great question. I have a red heating light and it doesn't seem to bother them. I added a white heating light this weekend that I just intend to use when the temps drop to really cold levels (single digits). I tried it out over the weekend though and I checked on the chickens late at night. I found them to be pretty wide awake. They were roosting, but when they noticed me they were nervous and flew around a bit. Usually at night they are pretty out of it if I check on them. I was wondering if the bright white light was keeping them awake.

#73146 - 11/21/05 08:11 AM Re: red light or not
J. Henderson Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 674
Loc: New York
Although lighting and heating often go together, they aren't the same.

Some research indicates that chickens and humans do perceive light the same way. A red light is usually recommended because it may discourage feather picking and cannibalism, often in young birds. However, blue is supposed to be soothing to the birds. Full spectrum lighting is supposed to be beneficial to humans, and some compact florescent bulbs are now advertised to be full specrum, but I don't know how chickens would get the same benefits.

That lighting works for extending daylight, not for keeping birds warm in the winter. Keeping the light on all night will confuse the birds natural instincts and limit their sleeping. Some commercial egg factories keep lights on 24 hours to maximize egg production.

Infrared heat lamps are not the same as light sources that emit red light. I stopped using infrared heat lamps on CFR's recommendation. We live a borderline Zone 4 and 5, and for the last couple years we've been successful not using any other heating than the chickens' own body heat and some straw bale insulation and insulation sheets right above their roosting area (look up hood in the archives). Heat lamps are often used in small scale poultry houses, but there are dangers and disadvantages. They warm only what they shine on, so they may not provide adequate heat for the whole flock. If too close they can do harm to the birds.

#73147 - 11/22/05 01:22 PM Re: red light or not
Michele Burns Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 08/22/03
Posts: 261
Loc: Ohio
I bought some cheap red heat lamp bulbs at Walmart for like $5 each. They keep my 8X8 coop pretty toasty in Cleveland winters. Although, I only have Silkies, so there's no risk of them flying up too close to the lights. They say the red lights decrease a bird wanting to pick on it's coop mates. Alot of plucking and picking goes on if they're under full light all of the time.
Michele Burns


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