Brooder Questions Please...Hatch Day/Tuesday 8th


9 Years
Jan 6, 2011
Upper Lake, California
(1) What should temp in brooder be? (2) What Kind of Bulb to use for Heat? (3) Is this good to use for bedding in brooder?....Aspen bedding, naturally scent free & absorbent, No aromatic oils, encourages exercise & nesting, gentle shavings. ~I was going to put a Shelf Liner over the bedding. The Shelf Liner is kinda rubbery with little holes in it so the mess will fall through the Liner to bedding. Then I can rinse off Liner with warm water & shake off excess water. Do this 2 or 3x's a day or as needed and change bedding as often as needed. (4) On top/lid we cut out a big area, replaced & attached small piece wire cage for heat/light to go & other section of opening will have a plastic see through window. **I also have puppy pads to use for bedding.}}} Which would be best to use?? ~ Thank you, Julie
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Sorry. Please ignore. I did not notice it was ducks. I have no experience with them.

I'll attempt the first question. The recommended temperatures are (in Fahrenheit):

1st week - between 90 to 95
2nd week - between 85 to 90
3rd week - between 80 to 85
4th week - betewen 75 to 80
5th week - between 70 to 75
6th week - fully feathered out. Supplemental heat not required.

I think it is much healthier for them if only one area of the brooder is in these ranges and the rest is cooler, much cooler being perfectly great. Let them find their comfort range. If you try to keep the entire brooder this perfect temperature, you are going to have to really work at it and are prone to mistakes and accidents. I don't need that extra stress.

I have a 3' x 5' brooder that I keep in the coop from day 1. I set it up ahead of time to be sure I can keep one area in the required range. It is not at all unusual for the far corner to be 25 or 30 degrees cooler. I find that the first couple of days, they spend a lot of time under the heat source. By the third day, they are wandering all over the brooder, going back to the heat only when they need to. They don't go back that often. They do sleep in a pile under the lamp, but they play all over.

I don't really worry about the temperature that much after the initial set-up. I do raise the lamp some to cool it off a bit, but I never really use that thermometer again. If they get cold, they crowd under the lamp and chirp quite pitifully. If they are too hot, they get as far from the lamp as they can. Mine just tend to roam all over and find their own comfort zone. It is different for different chicks.
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Obviously I'm no where close to an expert, but I came across what I thought to be a brilliant idea for a small brooder while searching the web. I took my kids' wading pool (I have the large one) put a layer of dirt on the bottom and topped it with some burlap. I have sort of an old school heating unit made specifically for brooding chicks/ducklings that I got from my grandfather but I'm sure whatever you were planning to use as a heathing element would work just as well. Theres enough room in mine for them to go under the heater or wander out of they are warm or just curious. Heres a pic!
thank you! Best part was that it didn't cost me a dime to make as I already had everything I needed on hand. Since the pic I did put up a board to block them from climbing up the slide.
i brood in my bathroom and put plastic tote in tub. i use 100 watt lightbulbs first 2 weeks then i do 75 watt for 3 rd week then 4th week plus 40 watt bulbs i am cheap i dont buy red brooder lights.

the bulb i use depends on size of tote. i have 10 gallon tote for my 3 calls. my house is so warm i am useing 75 watt for first week. it is a perfect 92 in brooder today. my house is so warm with the sun out.
Its funny. I never used a lght on my 1st duckling Elliot. He lived the 1st week on the kitchen table in a see thru tote so he could see what was going on around him. When Gemini was born a week later I didnt use a light on him either. When they got put in together I put a light on for them when they got out the bath so they could dry off easier. Their feathers started coming in by 2 1/2 weeks, you could see them and their feathers came in fast and were more or less feathered out by week 5. These next lot of ducklings I put a light over for their 1st week but turned it off the 2nd week and only turned it on for them to get dry after their bath. They are into week 3 and their feathers have just started to come in, I cant see them yet but I can feel them when I pick them up. This doesnt help you with your post I know, but I just wanted to share my experiance.
I also know of a lady who doesnt use a heat sorce in her brooders. She does always hatch in larger numbers though- 15- 20 each time- and they snuggle up in a corner to keep each other warm. Ducklings raised inside a house may not need the same intensity of heat as others raised outside - or for as long. I have a small lamp in my brooders- but usually by three weeks old I find they no longer use it at all- and are ofter too hot and panting even when the light is off. Watching their behaviour will give you a good indication of how much heat to provide. If they are crowding under it- they are cold- if they are sitting away from it- especially if panting- they are too hot in there.
I have a 150 watt blue flood light/heat lamp on for my 3 ducklings. I'm also using a heat disk by SuggleSafe. I put it in the microwave for a few minutes and it keeps its heat for hours. The ducklings start off by sitting next to it, and then later on in the day sit on top of it.

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