Brooder heating setup...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by pgivens83, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. pgivens83

    pgivens83 Hatching

    Dec 31, 2015
    Douglas, WY
    Hello all!

    My first post here on BYC but I'm familiar with raising birds (4-H and laying hens during my school aged days).

    We're on target to get four chicks for our backyard in the spring. I'm looking at brooder options and my intention is to convert a 54 gallon rubbermaid tote into a brooder (like this - and keep it in my basement until the birds are old enough to transition outside to a tractor.

    I'm currently debating my heat source...

    I'm attracted to the infrared ceramic "lamps" such as this one -, then using a digital control such as this -

    Any experience, both good or bad, with these lamps and controls? And what wattage do you recommend for that sized brooder being kept indoors.

    Many thanks!


  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Due to living on a solar-powered system and needing badly to conserve energy, I tried these ceramic bulbs a while back. They work great for 4-5 chicks but they can't heat any more than that. They also need to be much closer to the ground than I am comfortable with, since their heat radius is only maybe 8' in any direction. The only real advantage they have is low wattage + lack of light.

    Plain old 250 watt red bulbs work but they use tons of energy and of course they are rather bright.

    Heating pads are great option that produce no light, can't start a fire, and don't usually use a really big amount of energy, but it's very hard to find one these days that doesn't have an auto-off function.

    I also recently got a Brinsea EcoGlow 20, it's definitely a bit more expensive than most options but I have been loving it so far. 18 watts of energy for a much better return in space/heating ability than a ceramic bulb. No light produced from it either. My favorite part though, is that it absolutely cannot start a fire! And as someone who has had a brooder fire in the past with a lot of loss resulting, this is a very important factor to me.
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA

    Also, chicks grow very quickly. They double in size every week for the first 6 weeks or so. What seems like tons of room at first, will quickly become too small.
  4. pgivens83

    pgivens83 Hatching

    Dec 31, 2015
    Douglas, WY
    That's great to know about the ceramic! I looked into the EcoGlow, but it is pricey. It looks like it keeps its value pretty well though so am still considering the splurge with intentions of reselling.

    I'm limited to 4 chicks/hens by the city so I'm not worried about the size of the brooder. If I do need to give them more room before I can move them outside then I'll just attached another tote, hamster cage style. Ha.

    Thanks guys!
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
  6. pgivens83

    pgivens83 Hatching

    Dec 31, 2015
    Douglas, WY
    Awesome! I'll def read!

    That's my youngest a couple months ago :) he's almost 7 months now and at just over 20 pounds he's a load when I wrap him. But yes, I love wearing the babies. It's a life saver and sanity keeper for me.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

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