best shavings, best heat lamp, and best starter food?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 8, 2011
If all goes well I should have baby chicks hatching this weekend. I am a first timer and already have their coop built for when they are older.

As of right now I have a very large tupperware to keep them in while they are small. I plan to line the floor with paper towels until they are walking okay and then adding shavings. I got a chick feeder and waterer with colored rocks to put in it so they don't drown. What is the best type of starter food and when do I change their food and give them grit?

I also need to go purchase a heat lamp, is there one that I can lay on top of a metal grate that will be my Tupperware cover? When do I change the bulbs to make it not as warm? Also what type of shavings should I get?

sorry I am a first timer and have tons of questions!!

thank you!
Welcome to hatching lol, it can be stressful but wonderful. I use pine shavings (never use cedar it can cause breathing issues), I layer them in my brooder with the shavings (first paper towels than shavings than towels than shavings) as long as the water doesn't spill it helps with easy clean up and if the water does spill than it helps absorb all the fluid. I don't change out my bulb (I have a regular brooder light, it looks like an aluminum bowl with a bulb stuck in the middle) but I do raise it up and down for effective warmth. If the chicks are huddled under it all in a big pile its too cold so I lower it a little, if the chicks are sitting in the corners far away from the light its way to warm so I raise the light. When I set up my brooder I run it for a day or two with a thermometer in it to make sure I'm staying around 95 degrees. I dont think I would just sit the light on your cover it could cause your lid to become to hot and burn something (I'd cut a hole or have it above lid (if I'm picturing your lid correctly). Good luck and I hope you have a wonderful hatch.
Since you asked 3 questions and gotten reply to only one of them let me share some of my choices I did not regret.
Purina Start and Grow for food: (find a local supplier)
These kinds of bulbs for heat: (put them high and into one corner enough so they can get away from it)
This lamp:
them on nipple waterers ASAP (no poop in water no splashing around, mine went on them when a week old) from;ft1_poultry_equipment-ft1_poultry_watering_systems-ft1_hoses_nipples;pgwc1030.html
kind of feeder:

pine shavings not the fine ones. People say avoid cedar shavings as it is toxic, some say not, best to stay with pine as noone complains about that.
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I agree with starting them on a nipple waterer. I like pine pellets. They absorb more, don't get moldy when wet, and really keep the smell down. And they are perfectly safe.
thank you so much everyone, I am ordering those things from amazon now. As far as the water nipple how does that work? Ive never seen that before, but it seems great..
I really appreciate you all taking the time to give me advice! A few more questions- How long do they stay on starter feed for? I didn't plan on using the plastic cover I just planned on putting metal chicken wire on the top so the chicks couldn't jump out. stupid question but how do you raise the light to lower the temp as time goes on?
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I put my lamp on a dimmer so I don't have to move it to adjust the temp. Here is mine. I would've used the lid with a cut out for air circulation and for the lamp to sit on but I couldn't find it so I made one and hinged it with zip ties.

ETA: I use metal binder clips to hold the lamp onto the metal shelf grids on the lid so I don't have to move it to open the lid. And I don't have nipple waterers but am using bunny water bottles for my Seramas right now. I will be looking into the the nipple waterer for my laying hens.
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Make sure you got good air circulation without a draft. Nipple video:
raise the lamp (easiest) and make sure you don't cook the chickens.
Start and grow is AT LEAST until they are 18-20 weeks.
If you keep the brooder indoors or in a warm climate a 100W heat emitter bulb is enough.
If you keep them outside and in cold get the 150W one.
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