We plugged it in to see how hot it got; there is no thermostat. After about 15 minutes it was very warm to the touch; I could not keep my hand on it. Hmm, that doesn't sound like a good idea. The coop is fairly small. I think it would get too warm and what if a chicken got squished up against it?? So, back to the drawing board.
John went out the next day to the local farm store and brought home a little outdoorsy looking space heater. It's electric, but with a fine mesh over the heating elements, a thermostat and a way to hang it. We put it up last night. It's the perfect size. The fan noise is very soft and the thermostat is marvelous. We set it at its lowest temp and by golly, I can keep the coop at a very reasonable 32 degrees. Not so warm as to shock them going outside, but warm enough to keep them safe. Here is what it looks like:
We can keep it far enough away from the chickens that they don't get blasted, but it's enough to take the frigid out. Tonight it's suppose to drop into the teens, but I won't turn it on; I know the coop will stay much warmer than that and it will be fine.
We plan on doing regular maintenance on it to keep the dust out; that would be another problem with fire hazards. I'll let you all know how this all turns out. So far I am very hopeful.
Namaste and Aho!