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Panting chick

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Let me start by saying that I have zero experience raising chicks.  My wife and I have been wanting some laying hens so I did some research and found some barred rocks from a local guy.  I picked up 8 of them and placed them into the brooder I had built (pictured).  Everything appears fine at first, until I come back after about 10 minutes and find one of the chicks on its back away from the rest of the chicks and the heat lamp.  A quick search and I figured out that I didn't have the thermometer in the right place directly under the heat source.  It was topped out at over 120 degrees!  I immediately hoist it up from probably 18 inches off the bottom of the brooder to about 2.5 feet which still has the temperature just below 100 degrees, but they seemed to be ok with that as you can see in the picture.  


y concern is with the chick that flipped on its back.  It will go with the group most of the time but will start panting and run away and look extremely lethargic.  Recovers after a few minutes and usually sleeps, then goes back to the group.  Rinse and repeat.  Any idea what's going on with this chick?  I've read that panting can mean numerous things, but it's hit and miss.  It is the smallest chick in the bunch, so I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it or not.  Any tips are greatly appreciated.



post #2 of 13
I'm sorry to hear that.I have seen this too mostly when folks buy on a whim for kids and they end up roasted,hopefully you caught it in time, but most likely the little one has suffered heat stroke, not saying it won't survive, but mostly some brain damage done, let's hope not.I actually don't use heat lamps because so hazardous, I use a heating pad its perfect.I suggest go to the mama heating pad thread they're super easy and I wouldn't brood chicks any other way.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I feel like such a dummy for making this mistake on something that is easily prevented.  I think my first mistake was ordering a brooder kit which came with an insanely bright white incandescent bulb.  The light is easily 2.5 - 3 feet above chick level in the brooder and it's still hovering around 100 degrees at the hottest point.  I'm also concerned with the potential fire hazard since the brooder is currently in one of our spare rooms.  I have a shop that I could put them in, but I'm a little concerned since it's not insulated.  Not drafty at all, but no insulation whatsoever.  I bought an infrared light at lunch that I will swap out tonight.  Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

post #4 of 13
Id raise it up a bit more. They will be fine at 90 that first week. Make sure the overheated one drinks some water. And be sure that there is a cooler area in the brooder, that its large enough that they can all escape the 90 degree side when they want to.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

I will definitely raise it up a bit more when I get home and can build a better platform to support my light stand.  I'm a little spooked about having the heat lamp over pine bedding in my house now, so I think I'm going to move them out to the shop tonight as well where there is more room and less loss if something were to cause it to ignite.  I imagine this will be acceptable since the guy I got them from had them in an outdoor brooder that was only covered by a tin roof and a lid.  

post #6 of 13

A bit of schooling is in order. First, please try to get a hold of a heating pad that doesn't turn itself off when it feels like it. Then go over to the "Mama Heating Pad for the brooder" thread and see how to rig up a frame for it. It's easy. Any fencing scrap or wire rack will do.


The problem with brooders period is they're often much too small for the chicks to find a cool zone in which to cool down. The heat guidelines fail miserably in neglecting to stress that two temperature zones are required, a warm zone and a cooler zone. Only the warm zone directly beneath the heat source needs to be around 85-90F the first week. The rest of the brooder should be twenty degrees cooler.


The reason is that you aren't keeping food hot. You're providing a warm-up spot for chicks to self regulate their temperature. They move in and out of the warm and cool zones as needed to maintain their body temps.


I'm sure you can find another use for that light that will do far more good than trying to warm chicks when it's better suited to cooking food. Don't get me started on the junk out there for sale that serves no more purpose than to provide a profit for people who aren't even interested in the well-being of baby chicks.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Ok, I'm definitely going the heating pad route.  I will just return the lamp tomorrow.  I can't sit at work and rest easy that I have a bulb burning down on something that is extremely dry and flammable.  I appreciate all the feedback here.  I just hope the little one makes a full recovery and doesn't have any permanent injuries from my stupidity.  My wife has been watching them today and said that she gave the sickly one some water in a syringe and that she has been tearing up the cage ever since.  Hopefully that's the end of the whole ordeal "fingers crossed".

post #8 of 13
giving electrolytes will help too. you can get them at any TSC/ farm store or I've also used smart water.
post #9 of 13
Also I used a conair heating pad instead of a light this last time it was so much safer and it kept them on a normal day/night schedule.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by yochickiemomma View Post

giving electrolytes will help too. you can get them at any TSC/ farm store or I've also used smart water.

Luckily, the brooder kit I ordered came with save a chick electrolyte packs, so I mixed it in with their water supply immediately.  

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