A few heat lamp questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by gmabry75, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. gmabry75

    gmabry75 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 27, 2013
    Brandon, MS
    Just got my new chicks this morning. First time chicken "daddy". Is it normal when you first put them in the brooder after a two day trip for them to be piling on top of each other. Have the brooder lamp with 250w bulb about 18" above the floor. I dropped it a couple more inches.
    Next question is how do I need to adjust height of lamp with change in temp. Today we will have high of 60 ish and low tonight 32.
    I have been reading for weeks and now I'm questioning everything I do. Thanks, Greg
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    There is a whole lot I don’t know about your specific set-up or how you are managing them. I’ll be a little generic and not real specific.

    It’s not that unusual for them to pretty much stay in a group in an area with the right heat for the first couple of days. Usually by the third day mine are roaming all over the brooder. I have had some roam pretty much the first day and some that did not roam much until about a week, but three days is usually about right.

    They are not necessarily cold. If they are cold they will be as near the heat as they can get in a group and giving a plaintive distress peeping. It’s different than their normal peeping. Once you hear it, you won’t mistake it for normal peeping.

    There is a general rule of thumb on here that you start them off at 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week and drop it about 5 degrees each week after that. I don’t follow that at all. When a broody raises her chicks, she does not heat up the entire world for them. She provides a warm place for them to go when they get cold. I work off the same principle.

    My brooder is 3’ x 6’ and in the coop. It has a good draft guard and good ventilation, both of which I think are important. I heat one end so it is warm enough. I don’t even use a thermometer anymore to check it. I’ve been doing this long enough I don’t need to, but you can try laying a thermometer on the brooder floor and see what the temperature is. As long as I have that area warm enough and the rest is cooler, they can find their own comfort zone. In reality, that comfort zone is all over the brooder as long as one area is warm enough and other areas are sufficiently cooler. If they are lined up as far as they can get from the heat, it is too warm.

    I’d go bonkers if I tried to keep an entire brooder one perfect temperature. Give them an option and let them do the work.
     
  3. gmabry75

    gmabry75 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 27, 2013
    Brandon, MS
    My brooder is 4 by 8 and in the garage. Heat lamp on one end. So I'm worrying for no reason? Was concerned when I first put them in they were piling all on top of each other, but are now spreading out a little. Thanks, Greg
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Sounds like you are doing fine.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I've only had chickens a couple of years now, but 32 degrees is a bit low for brand new chicks with a heat lamp out in an unheated garage. I would definitely get the thermometer and check the hot spot on the floor of your brooder when the temp starts getting that low. Some breeds of chicks are very hardy and may do fine, but be cautious for the first week with the cold, especially if you have any banties or weaker chicks. Chicks with a broody hen would have no problem with those temps.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    If one area is warm enough, it won't be a problem. It doesn't matter what the temperature is anywhere else. If it is right in one area of the brooder, it is warm enough.

    I agree it would be a decent idea to check on them when the temperature is approaching the coolest it will get, but in a brooder that size, it should not be hard to have one area warm enough and much of the rest cool enough, especially with a decent draft guard. If one area is too warm, as long as they can move away from it, they'll be OK.
     

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