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Brilliant idea to increase brooder warmth

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by FlewTheCoop, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. FlewTheCoop

    FlewTheCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2009
    I have my brooder set up early, and have been experimenting with the heating. It's a large cardboard box (a lawnmower came in it)...and I'm only going to have three chicks. I'm staying at my mother's so keeping a high wattage heat bulb on 24/7 was a negative. I decided to try a regular bulb and a reflector. I've experimented with a 60 watt, but had to keep the light a bit too close to the bottom of the brooder to reach the desired temp, and then it was only really warm right by the light.

    So I upped to a 75 watt bulb and placed the reflector outside the box on top of the hardware cloth (metal) covering. It seemed to be getting warm, but was still only at the desired temp right around under the bulb.

    I was looking at the cardboard and had a bright idea. Tin foil! So I placed a large piece of foil (shiny side facing into the brooder) on either side of one corner of the brooder, put the light with the 75 watt bulb nearer that corner, and have the thermometer lying on the bottom right now. Directly under the light it's already up to 100, so that means a little further away from the light it'll be just right!

    So anyone with a cardboard brooder might want to try this...it could help save on electricity costs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  2. cockadoodle

    cockadoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2009
    Denver
    If I was in that position, I'd try and get my hands on a good (infrared) bulb designed for heat and put that in. They make em in smaller wattages and in addition to more heat per watt, your chicks will be happier not having a white light on them 24/7. Your brooder also sounds a bit large to be heated with one regular bulb unless you cover the top pretty good, but then adequate ventilation might be a concern. Good luck in any event, I'm always looking for ways to save a few bucks myself. Personally, I wouldn't compromise too much on the bulb if at all possible, they are about 6 dollars for the 75 watters [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  3. FlewTheCoop

    FlewTheCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Nope...we checked all around at hardware stores, farm supply stores...all they had were the 250W in infrared, unless you count a red party bulb at Wal-mart...I don't think that would supply enough heat.

    I'm in the South where it is 82 degrees today, and my brooder is being kept in the house. There won't be any cold drafts on my babies. As for the white light...I've read equal numbers of posts both for and against. I'll give it a shot, anyway. Chicks won't be arriving until the 2nd week of April, and by then I doubt we'll have anymore cool spells down here.

    The box is about 2x3x1. Maybe a bit less than three feet long. It's up on the dining room table (we don't use the dining room for eating). I figured it was large enough to accommodate the babies even as they grew.

    Anyway, I'll keep everyone posted regardless. [​IMG] If the babies seem cold, I'll certainly reevaluate.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  4. chubbydog811

    chubbydog811 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 24, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I think that's a great idea! I usually just put a small space heater in the bathroom. I am VERY against heat lamps or any sort, and refuse to use them unless I absolutely have to.
    Though I cant afford a new heater, and the one I am using is old, and taking too much electricity so I had to...
    I have 3, 60watt bulbs in regular desk lamps( for 3 different brooders) set for them. It is doing more than enough.

    We went to a NOFA seminar this past weekend, and one of the ones I went to was on chickens...Basically what he said (and it is completely true!) is you set the lamp, and let the chicks tell you what to do with it. If they are still too cold, then drop it down a little. If they start panting, just leave it, and they can adjust themselves to the temp they want to be at, so you dont need to keep re-adjusting when they get cold again.

    I'm sure I'll be picked apart for saying it, but really, its not an exact science for where the temp needs to be at. If the chicks are happy at 70*, then good, if not, raise the temp a bit. It doesn't need to be exactly 80 or 90* their first week [​IMG]

    Anyway...
     
  5. NancyDz

    NancyDz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dutch Flat, CA
    Try a pet store in the reptile dept.....
     
  6. 98 gt

    98 gt a man of many... chickens

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    Jan 14, 2009
    Marshville NC
    Petsmart has them, also try tractor supply... The heat being near the light is fine, that way they can regulate their own temperature...
     
  7. cockadoodle

    cockadoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No on the wallmart party bulb, lol [​IMG]

    here's one..
    http://www.amazon.com/Heat-Glo-Infrared-Bulbs-INFRARED/dp/B0002AR3QC

    Not endorsing that bulb, or any others, just thinking how I would heat my brooder with 50 or 75 watts. My basement is colder than your living room, so for me, this would be a futile exercise [​IMG]. just looking for the most heat per buck for your application, sounds like you have it covered. The best of luck with your new chickens, I'm sure they will do great.
     
  8. backintime

    backintime Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2008
    Northern Wisconsin
    Chubbydog (I feel bad calling you that!) I'm wondering about your suggestion for a space heater. I thought the point of the heat bulb was that there would be different temperature "zones" in the brooder, with the temperature highest right under the bulb and then decreasing as the chicks got farther from the bulb. With a space heater, isn't the temp fairly constant throughout the bathroom? What if it gets too warm (or cold) and the chicks can't select a more comfortable area? Just wondering, as I've only ever had one batch of chicks and used a household 75 watt bulb suspended on a chain above the brooder (raised it as they grew). I do love picking (pecking???) the brains of others for good new ideas.
     
  9. chubbydog811

    chubbydog811 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 24, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Haha...Don't feel bad! Chubby is my dog...My name is Sarah [​IMG]

    I loved using the space heater...It worked great when there was only one set of chicks in there, but when I was to the point of having 3 or 4 different sets of chicks, it was getting hard.
    With only one set at a time, it works great having the heater- you figure out where the chicks are comfortable, and leave it. I have them in my bathtub, so there are some cool spots(60*house, and drafty windows..bath tub works great!). Once you have the chicks figured out, you drop the thermostat accordingly each week, or just drop it as much as you can with them still being comfortable. I never had a problem with them being too hot or too cold.
    With the 3 set of chicks (I had 3 week olds, 2 week olds, and 1 week olds) it was getting very hard to keep them all happy...

    So I dont know if I actually answered anything...but its my point of view on it [​IMG]

    I guess what it comes down to, is either do the lamp, and not have to worry about adjusting, or have a heater, and watch their behavior every time you are in their area and adjust as needed [​IMG]
     
  10. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    Quote:250 Watt infrared bulb will provide more heat than you need indoors, I even used it on my patio in cold 50 deg Florida nights in early spring where I keep my chicks at about 3 weeks of age.

    250 Watts indoors is too much and waste of energy, so I run the light through $5.00 dim switch, this way I can control amount of heat, I never run it full blast indoors.

    Very important:

    Never use regular plastic socket for 250 Watt light, it may cause a fire. Base of bulb gets very hot !!!

    ALWAYS use a special ceramic socket and metal reflector for efficiency and safety.

    Happy brooding.
     

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