Originally Posted by dragonthehunter
I need a creative dirt cheap idea to heat my brooder
I'm not sure what you are asking. We've been explaining the heating pad system as completely as we can, and I've noticed you've posted heat source questions on another thread too. So I'm not sure if you just haven't liked any of the ideas or if none of them fit your situation. Could be you are just smart and weighing all of the options out there before choosing one! If a heat lamp is what you want to do, then by all means go ahead. If Mama Heating Pad sounds sensible, then you can use that system instead. I also know that there are a couple of folks who have used a goosenecked lamp with a regular light bulb successfully.
One thing that needs to be pointed out is that while I understand completely the need to keep expenses down (who doesn't these days?) the one thing you can't sacrifice in order to meet a bottom line is providing the bare basics that chicks need. You don't need top of the line in anything, and chicks (and chickens) don't care what their environment looks like as long as they are able to be kept clean, well fed, hydrated, and, in the case of chicks, warm. Scrounging and recycling old materials can work great for building coops, runs, and brooders. But those basic needs must still be met, and if it means you have to spend a little then you'll have to do that.
Heating pads at Walmart like the one I use are usually around $20.00. They cost less to operate than a heat lamp, and they are far safer as far as fire danger goes. Chicks also aren't eating 24/7 because at night they go into the cave and sleep all night through. So those are some things you might want to consider too.