brooder Questions

Still Bill

Dec 14, 2019
i'm building a brooder to give away to a school.its 4'x2' 4' tall...questions are,in no order...when i wire it for power can i put a reostat on the heatlamp to regulate the heat?.....what kind of ventlilation do i need because i have tons of 3/8" lexan shatterproof sheets....I built the floor out of them, 2 piece popouts for cleaning.Insert boxes bottoms,back wall also made from 3/8s lexan so stuff doesnt go out the back or a buidlup of water in the boxes...would it be ok to encase the sides too?i could install 4x10 adjustable floor registers for venting...i've skirted the bottom of the brooder,above the floor,with 8x2s so the lexan is above the skirt...Should i install a 2x2 across the inside length to clamp the lights?....Should i build it to accept a divider?...if so half or 1/3 2/3?...When installing the electric box (GFI) would it be best to install a swith too?....Would a foldown table be better front or sides?....Since the bootm half of the brooder is basicly open do i bulid tipout drawers for feed of would there be a pest problem?...i have built a number of coops but no brooders


Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
I'm sure this brooder will be a thing of beauty and engineering. But do you know how many chicks it's supposed to accommodate?

Also, are you aware that baby chicks get freaked out when handled from above and side access brooders make for more relaxed and friendly and trusting chicks? Are you aware that only one heat source is necessary and the majority of the brooder must be much cooler in order for chicks to shed excess heat or they will sicken and die?


Dec 12, 2018
Knoxville, TN
I used a light dimmer on my heat lamp:

The dimmer is wired in a 2 gang box:

With an outlet being controlled by the dimmer:

And cover:

With a pigtail extension cord hanging out of it:
I found when using the dimmer, you will loose about ~5% power at full throttle than not using it. I can use a 250w bulb turned down to a 125w bulbs heat, but you actually will pull ~135w of power because of losses through the dimmer. I also put hash marks on the wall plate to help me dial in what I want.

I started out with a GFI outlet but every few days that thing would trip for no apparent reason. I got tired of fooling with it and took it back to Lowes. I now have a GFCI/AFCI breaker that hasn't had any problems with tripping.