Baby Chick Temperature!


In the Brooder
Jan 18, 2018
Hi everyone!

We just adopted 6 baby chicks!! They are about to be 2 weeks old now and I’m a little worried about the temperature of their brooder.

For the first week I had them, the brooder stayed between 80-90 degrees because the temps at night were in the 40s which kept it right where it was supposed to be. Now that the temperatures outside have dropped into the 20s at night again the past 3 days. I noticed that at night the brooder is only getting up to 55 degrees!! The chicks all laid with their wings touching, but not all piled on top of each other, and I’ve read in a couple other posts that if they are cold they will be chirping pretty loudly which is not the case! I have an additional heat lamp with a white light that gets the temp back up into the 70-80s, but I also read that the white light makes it hard for them to sleep at night so I’ve only had the white light on them part time.

So a couple questions, is it better to keep the white heat lamp (in addition to my red heat lamp) on them to keep the temp where it needs to be?
Or will the white light stress them out?

Also, can the temp dropping to 55 degrees in the brooder cause them enough stress to kill them? I am terrified I am going to loose one of the babies!!!

Any insight would be great because I’m new at this :)
Well, at two weeks the brooder temp should be at around 90*. What does your brooder setup look like? At two weeks, 55* is too cool.

I always use a red bulb, but unless they show signs of stress, a white light should be fine. A dimmer lighted bulb does help to calm them down, though.
What voltage is your red heat lamp? Mine is 250, which keeps my brooder nice and toasty. When I need to get it at a cooler temp, I just raise the heat lamp. I raise my lamp about 3 inches every week until my chicks are 6-8 weeks.
Mine is 250 too! They are in a storage very large tub for now (quickly out growing it).... and it feels super warm under the heat lamp, so I guess it could be a thermometer malfunction too

Here is how it’s set up...


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At that close it looks like it should be warm enough, I would just pay close attention to their behavior. I would trust the way they're acting sooner than a thermometer.

Keep us posted! :)
Where is thermometer measuring the heat?
It should be on floor bedding directly under the lamp.

Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:

They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.

Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY:

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