Heat Lamp Safety....
As a polar vortex grips the majority of the north east, many farmers have been putting extra measures in place to keep our animals safe, healthy and comfortable in these cold temperatures. I for one have done things this past week to prepare for these sub zero temperatures. One of the main things I have done is buying straw for my animals to nestle down into. I usually bed with wood chips, because I find it is the best at absorbing urine, but it is not necessarily the best at insulating the animals against the cold ground. So this week, I stripped out my barn and chicken coop put a thick layer of wood chips down and then covered it with a thick layer of straw for the animals to nestle down into. This allows the urine to be absorbed and the animals to have a dry and cozy place to lay down. It is also absolutely paramount to have the fresh water that is unfrozen for the animals to drink. This means each one of my water reciptical has a heater, from my goat buckets, to my field troughs, to my chicken waters. One thing I have been kicking around for a long time is putting a heat lamp up in my buck house. The primary reason is, the bucks grew up in my barn which is much warmer than their current shed that they live in. They got moved for their sanity and my own, they were going crazy not being able to be with the girls, but by seeing them so close. So I wanted to provide them with an extra layer of comfort and help them not burn so many calories trying to stay warm in their new shelter. While it is a very nice well built shed, it does not have the warmth factor that a barn with two horses and a bunch of hay that is insulated does.
I have been hesitant to pull the trigger on heat lamps because I have read, and heard about many situations where poorly secured heat lamps have caused barn fires and burns in animals. I started to do my research and found that the premier 1 heat lamps have significantly upped their game from a safety perspective. After reading review after review and talking to a few friends I decided to purchase one and to say I was happily surprised was an understatement. These heat lamps are made of a durable plastic material with a fully enclosed plastic shield for the bulb and the heat lamp housing it self. Additionally. The heat lamp has a sturdy hook on the top where the heat lamp can be secured using a snap or caribiner, preventing the risk of it falling off of its location and into flammable straw. As a final perk the heat lamp has a very long cord, making plug in very easy, and this cord is covered for a good 4 feet in a chew resistant metal coil. One last consideration is how high to mount the heat lamp, it does give off heat, so one must be cautious to place it at least 20 inches from the ground or any bedding material. I decided with the help of my husband to hang the heat lamp from an eye hook we mounted to the rafters using a series of snaps to reach the desired height for our bucks. This allowed us to keep the cord up out of their reach, along with the heat lamp, and so far I have been very happy with the results. The buck shed has been much warmer than it was before and my boys are enjoying it!
Overall, you can use heat lamps safely in your barns and shed, just ensure you mount it securely, follow all safety instructions and keep it out of the reach of our curious goats! Stay warm everyone and Happy Goating!!!