Brooder Heating Issues

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CatsCrazyCoop, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. CatsCrazyCoop

    CatsCrazyCoop Chirping

    Jun 1, 2011
    Putnam Valley, NY
    Hi. I am having some ridiculous brooder temp issues.

    I have a thermometer in there, chick level - so I can know how hot it is where they actually are. Now, for my issue:

    My brooder is custom built out from pine. It is solid wood on 3 sides, the front is plexi-glass and the roof is two doors with the galvanized fence. 2' x 3'. I have a 250w red heat lamp suspended over one side of it. The brooder is in my garage, and I live in Westchester and it has been in the mid-80s lately. The bottom is lined with contact paper and I have a thick layer of pine shavings on the bottom.

    Now that I have bored you with my details... I have the heat lamp up pretty high and it is still ranges 93-104 degrees in the brooder around mid-day. If I unplug it completely, or even if I leave it on over night, we dip down to 84-88 degrees.

    Any advice on how I can get the temperature more regulated? Or am I just an idiot [​IMG]

    Thanks for all of your help and advice. I know they huddle under it if cold, and away if hot - but I would like to just get it more regulated if possible.
  2. andalusn

    andalusn Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    Can you switch to a regular bulb? I used a bulb for plants that I picked up at Home Depot for a number of weeks before my EcoGlo brooder arrived. There is a clamp on fixture for the bulb and then you get the light bulb. I think it was a 75w. that worked great for when they were little and I could easily move it up or down as needed. Not as big a fixture as the red bulbs either.
  3. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    I find the 250 watt bulb is just too much for the chicks. Home Depot has a red flood light that is 100 watt and lowes has an 85 watt red flood light that I use at time. I use the reflector with the ceramic socket. It does not get to hot to touch like the plastic. I regulate the temp during the day by raising the light up above the wire area. At nite I put it down. Its a constate thing when the temp outside is swinging back and forth. In a house if the temp is steady it is easier but messyer. I also have a 25 watt party bulb that I use to wean them from a light at night and to get them to go into their coop at night. It is not easy to regulate the temps. Just try to give them one corner that is about 90 and the others cooler. They will decide where they want to be. Make sure you have a little ventilation at the top of brooder. gloria Jean
  4. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Songster

    You could talk to the local pet shop (one that carries reptile supplies) too. You can buy a heat lamp that has a rheostat added, so you can dial the power (and the heat) up or down; it's a nice feature. But switching to a lower-wattage bulb is probably less expensive.
  5. CatsCrazyCoop

    CatsCrazyCoop Chirping

    Jun 1, 2011
    Putnam Valley, NY
    You guys are really amazingly awesome. Thanks so much for the advice!!! Keep it comin' - lord knows I need it! [​IMG]
  6. CatsCrazyCoop

    CatsCrazyCoop Chirping

    Jun 1, 2011
    Putnam Valley, NY

    Now - was thinking (because I am chicken obsessed and think of nothing else) If I put in a lower wattage bulb... then that solves my problem of temps hitting 104 (ack!) however, overnight, I guess my garage is cold, because I am dipping down to 88 - so I would need a larger bulb.

    Now STUPID question. I am dropping 5 degrees per week for about 6 weeks - making that a total of a 30 degree drop, from 95 - bringing us to a 65 degree final week. Its the summer! Just about - I don't think I can get the brooder to 65! Does that matter?

    Thanks again!
  7. Texas Willie

    Texas Willie In the Brooder

    May 25, 2011
    Vancouver, Washington
    Quote:Your question raises one for me also..........It seems ridiculous to me that lowering the temperature 5 degrees for 6 weeks is needed. So the question arises (for me) at 85 degrees wouldn't the chicks be "good to go" until they are given the keys to their new home? [​IMG]

    TW [​IMG]
  8. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Songster

    I think the "temperature lowering" protocol is based on acclimation to whatever the outside temperatures are. That includes daytime and night time. So if your chicks are going to be spending the days outside but come in at night, then you probably could consider them "equalized" when they're accustomed to those 85 degree temperatures that you're getting. But if they're staying out in the coop all the time and it's dropping to 60 at night, then they'll need supplemental heat then, because they're not used to that temperature yet. Also, a chick can't regulate its own temperature very well until it's got a decent coat of actual feathers. Down is just long underwear; it doesn't protect them against drafts or significant chills. So in cooler climates or times of the year, chicks are kept in the brooder until they're fully feathered, which is 6 weeks--hence that "reduce temp weekly by 5 degrees for six weeks" thing.

    I tend to start putting mine out during the day when they're 3 1/2-4 weeks old because our day temps are (usually) in the mid-eighties. I have a nursery built into the corner of the coop that protects them fairly well from drafts, and they like being able to run around more. But I'll either hang a heat lamp in the nursery at night, or bring them inside.
  9. stcroixusvi

    stcroixusvi Songster

    May 5, 2011
    Western NC
    My Coop
    Quote:I am also obsessed [​IMG]. I use a nightlight for the chicks when the weather is this hot - it is dim enough and not giving off heat, but light enough for them to see.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    How old are your chicks? If they are much more than a week old and it only gets down to the mid-80's at night, they do not need any heat.

    I find it much better to have a big enough brooder so I can keep one area in the right temperature range and let the rest cool down a lot more. In the spring, I often have the far corners 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the recommended temperatures. They play all over the brooder even as three day olds, and come back to the heat when they need to, which is not all that often. They can find their own comfort zone. I'd go crazy trying to keep the entire brooder the correct temperature.

    When they are 4 to 5 weeks old, they are fully feathered out. Even in cold climates, they do not need any supplemental heat after they are fully feathered out, but it does help to acclimate them before you drop them from 70 to 25 degrees.

    If you cannot get the brooder any lower than 84 degrees, don't sweat it. They will be fine.

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