Just thought you guys would like to see this nifty rheostat I came across, it's much cheaper then some of the infrared things from poultry supply places and better fit for small home brooders. I have used these with reptiles before and they work great. I would probably put 2 lights on the brooder, 1 that stays on and one that is hooked up to this and comes on when the temperature drops too low. That would also help in case one bulb blows out.
Brooder Temperature Control
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I live in northern Wisconsin and was a little overzealous and got my 30 chicks about 2 weeks ago...boy was I silly! We've had a change in the jet stream and got about 6-8" of snow the last 3 days and it's been getting COLD at night...10 this morning when I just went out to:he the garage to check on the little ones...luckily I've got a better half that doesn't sleep much do to a back injury, so she's been keeping the temps correct...but it's been a battle and she's been goofier than normal due to lack of sleep!:th
Well, let me introduce you to the solution! I found this temperature controller on Amazon for $45 with express shipping (Amazon prime)!It has 2 heat plugs and is capable of 1 degree deviation control! It's capable of 1200 watts so you can even have multiple 250 watt lamps hooked up at once. I've got one that stay on all the time and one that cycles on and off.
They sell controllers with 2 heat plugs, one heat and one cool plug, a humidity controller, and even a $16 module that will do heat and cool if you want to make you're own project box with multiple outlets! Even the name is fitting, Ink Bird!
Well it appears I've got the temps under control, happy wife, happy life!
I'm discerning a lack of understanding here about brooders not being like ovens, needing to be maintained at a uniform temperature like you would need to bake a cake or roast a chicken, pardon that second analogy. My clue is mention of two heat lamps in a brooder.
What the brooder temperature guidelines neglect to point out is that the recommended temperature is measured directly beneath the heat lamp, and the rest of the brooder needs to be much cooler. In effect, two temperature zones are necessary in order for baby chicks to be able to self regulate their body heat.
Lacking feathers, chicks need to warm up frequently under a heat source, but they also need to shed excess heat should they spend too much time under it. If the entire brooder is kept at a uniformly hot temperature or if it lacks the space for a chick to get away from the heat source, the chick will keep absorbing heat until it sickens and dies. More chicks die from overheated, crowded brooders than any other first week issues.
So while it's fine to plug one lamp into a temperature control device, having two lamps is absolutely not necessary and is even dangerous for the chicks.
Chicks are not meat patties to be kept hot for later consumption. They need cool spaces, therefore it's much more dangerous to be brooding chicks in a hot climate than it is in a cold one. It really matters not much at all if it's below freezing in the garage where you have the brooder as long as the chicks have a heat source under which to warm up. Having the rest of the brooder much cooler is actually very beneficial, and the chicks will not freeze to death. Toss that extra heat lamp. The chicks don't need it.
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The controller seems to be working nicely, my better have was septical about the new "gizmo" so has been monitoring the kids regularly since we installed it and everyone has been doing great. We've had to adjust the offset a couple times as we get this dialed in, but so far so good!
Thanks for the post. I understand the need for cool zones and we've been monitoring the temps in several places in the brooder. My better half is especially nervous / anxious about the new additions. With the 10 degree temps we had Friday night, I had temps in the 50's around the outside of our box. I've positioned the temp sensor for the controller directly in between the lamps and the lamps are spaced about 6" apart. I think I'm getting a pretty good temp reading below the lights as you've said...I'm nervous about the lamps, so I've been keeping an eye on them to make sure the box, cords and wood aren't getting warm to cause a hazard.
We've been "letting the chicks tell us what they need," both of us are pretty excited about our new babies as we've wanted to get chickens for a couple years, so one of us seems to be hanging out with them often. We've set things up so they all seem to be active and are using the entire box. I've seen chicks lay under the lamp for a little while, then stretch, eat, drink, interact with another chick, then go and snuggle in to the shavings off in another spot closer to the wall....all seem to be really happy!
Great coop set up! I was exploring posts last week and noticed your coop. Seems like you now what your talking about so again, thanks for the contribution!