Brooder lights

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Meaghan, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Meaghan

    Meaghan Chirping

    Dec 3, 2014
    Archer, FL
    I know there is probably a thread like this out their somewhere, but I couldn't find one that really answered the question. [​IMG]

    So, we're getting to the phase of building our chick brooder. Since we're getting a lot of chicks in a few weeks (plus ducks and turkeys about 8 weeks later), we're going with a design that we saw on the brooder thread of a 4x4ft box elevated off of the floor. Since it's still particularly warm (by my standards, I'm spent the last three winters in Northern Oregon), we're just going to brood them in the garage. They're supposed to be arriving the week of Feb 9th. [​IMG]

    We got this lamp from TSC a few days ago, but the bulbs sold at TSC have very poor reviews, so we didn't want to buy bad quality ones.;-brooder-lamp-with-6-ft-cord

    My question is, to heat a box that's about 4x4ft when it's still averaging only 40 at night, what sort of bulb should I get? I know red is better to prevent pecking, but I'm not sure what brand to get or where to get it from.

    The other question is in regards to when to heat. I know that those temps are too low for the chicks at night, but is 70s high enough to turn off the light during the day at a certain age? First time chick mother. [​IMG]

    During the day, it's in the 70s on average. We have had a few frosty days, but few and far between. Today was chilly at only 60, but it rained and will keep the temp at 49 tonight. I imagine that, at night, it will require a 250 watt bulb to keep them warm. But would that be necessary during the day?

    Thanks everyone. [​IMG]
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    The rule of thumb is to keep them at 90-95* the first week, and drop by 5* every week there after. (that's a conservative estimate) When they're fully feathered, they should be weaned from supplemental light. Can you give them the 250W bulb at night, and use a second reflector during the day with a 70W bulb (or what ever is needed to reach your target temp? Remember, you only need the target temp UNDER the light. Your chicks will tell you if they are warm enough... or too cold. You don't want them crowding under the center of the light, nor do you want them going as far away from the light as they can get? If they are panting, or sound aggitated, distressed, you need to fix things for them.
  3. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    x's 2 You don't need the whole brooder to be the recommended temp, just one side of the brooder. The chicks will move in and out of the heated area as they need for warmth. I can't recommend a brand of bulb, because I just use what I can get at what store I am at. I think the light in there now is a cheaper one, and it has worked great.

    I start with the 95 degree range and drop down as well until the brooder temp is equal to the room temp, then i stop using the light during the day but will still use it at night for a week or two until I am satisfied that they are comfortable.
  4. losttexan

    losttexan Songster

    Jan 24, 2014
    Lubbock, TX
    Agreeing with everything from the previous posters - recommended temp under the light and then watch your birds and they will tell you what they need. Look at chicks brooded naturally - they run away from mom, peck around, and when they get cold, run back and jump under her for a warm-up.
    I know people wax monumentally against the evils of heat lamps. Yes - they can cause fires, and yes can be dangerous. Cars are dangerous too, but we take certain precautions. One should NEVER install one of those TS style lamps where it is hanging only by the cord. Likewise, you can use the clamp, but I would always use a backup chain or something similar so if the clamp lets loose you are OK. I fix my lamps with multiple backups, so there would have to be more than three unrelated failures for the lamp to fall, and that has never happened. The danger with some bulbs can be the Teflon coating which, when it gets hot, can release fumes lethal to chickens. A little internet/BYC research will help you avoid those.

  5. Honey Maid

    Honey Maid Songster

    Jan 11, 2015
    State of Jefferson
    Heat lamp bulbs, you can find them at Lowes, Home Depot, local hardware store, my bet Fred Meyers, a Sears...... lots of different places. Don't know of the best brand, just have to wing it!
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    After around the second week, indeed they are good in the 70s. I usually take my chicks outdoors to play when it's in the 70s. I take their carrier and place it where they can scoot into it and cuddle should they feel chilled. They sometimes nap in the carrier, being the babies they are. If I find them huddled together in the carrier rather than running around, then it's time to back indoors and into the brooder. If you watch baby chicks being tended by a broody, those tykes are running all over the place, spending very little time under her.

    As for brooder lights, I discovered a couple years ago that my chicks, even during the first week, do not like the temp hotter than 85 under the light, and by the beginning of the second week, I ditched the 250 watt heat bulb and installed a 100 watt incandescent bulb in a brooder approximately the size of yours. I draped a red cloth over the brooder at night to mute the glare. It was exactly the amount the chicks preferred.

    Most people keep their brooders much too hot. Watch the behavior of the chicks and you'll see they prefer it to be cooler rather than warmer. If they're huddled together and not running all over, then you need to adjust the heat so they have more. It's better to err on the side of being too coold rather than too warm.
  7. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    I have never thought to use a red cloth at night. I've always winged it with the regular bulb and have thought about the red bulbs, but not invested in one. That's a neat idea.
    We keep our home warm, cause I really hate the cold and get cold rather easy, but I find that my birds like the added warmth. Even at the 90-95 degrees on the warmed end of the brooder and with the room being 74-80, they like lounging in the light. This last batch complained with every increment drop. Personally I think they are just spoiled, as I have a tendency to do that, but they honestly prefered the warmer to the
  8. smcdermott

    smcdermott Chirping

    Dec 9, 2014
    Central Fl
    I second everything azygous just said.

    I am a first time chick mom also. Wecome!! [​IMG]

    Hope this helps.......I got my first 2 silkies back in the beginning of December. This was the setup I started with, put them in the box to keep out drafts and keep them warm.
    Even though the temp was right where the "books" say it was supposed to be, they kept away from it.
    So I took the box and put the original tray back on and they were much happier.
    Light stayed the same but I guess the drafts helped. [​IMG]

    We ended up trading one of the first 2 in for 2 1 day olds at the end of December. So I now have 3 that are 4weeks apart. They have outgrown the small animal cage so we just moved them to the garage and converted an old dog cage. They will stay in this another 4 to 6 weeks until the coop is ready.
    Ellie, the 7 week old should be old enough to do without the light.
    But with the other 2 still needing it, it doesn't seem to bother her.
    Here is what they are in now. We probably could have had the small cage in the garage to start with but I was a little over protective. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: