Brooder temp for week old chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by figliadelre, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. figliadelre

    figliadelre Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 26, 2012
    Upstate NY
    My Coop
    We have our first flock (23 birds), and I'm just not confident that they are happy with the temperature in their brooder. We are using a large rectangle box as a brooder (in our guest bathroom) with a 250w heat lamp suspended over one side. I have a thermometer at chick-level under the lamp to read the temp.

    The chicks are just over one week old and for the last few days they have been huddling on the far side of the box (away from the lamp... the "cool" side). I raised the lamp a bit (the thermometer was reading 95*F) and have continually raised it until they stopped escaping the lamp. The temp is now reading 82*F. Is this warm enough? They all seem happy and active, but they still seem to think it's a little warm under the light. Is it okay to follow their lead with the temperature, or should I stay "by the book" for brooder temps?
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Follow their lead or they may die. If they get too hot or cold it can be fatal. For chicks one week old I strive for 85 degrees under the lamp if the brooder is about the same temperature (if brooding outside I strive for higher than that to make up for the very cold temps of the rest of the brooder).

    It sounds like you have them just right now! You can also decrease the wattage of your bulb if you are one of the white light users, like me. You might consider using the 150W red ones if they make them. If you are using a red bulb then raising and lowering it is the way to go.

    I use up to three 100 watt bulbs/lamps and turn them off and on throughout the day as the sun rises and sets to keep them comfortable. Right now I have three on out in a shed for my 4 week olds who come and go out in the run as they like (been there since 3 weeks of age- that is when they get smart enough to come back to the coop usually).

    The recommendation is 90-95 degrees the first week and decrease by 5 degrees per week until fully feathered, usually at 6 weeks of age (including the head feathers).

    But in winter I give them heat a bit longer out in the coop- a 100 watt bulb to cozy under if needed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  4. figliadelre

    figliadelre Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 26, 2012
    Upstate NY
    My Coop
    Thank you for the info!
     
  5. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    I would agree that you should follow the lead of your chicks. As long as they're moving around and not huddling away from the light or directly under the light you're okay. Will your box be large enough for 23 birds once they get a little bigger?
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Absolutely, The chicks are the best thermometer of all. Once I am setup and feel I can adequately warm the brooder, the thermostat goes out the window. Chicks should have a large enough brooder, I use 5'x8' which allows them plenty of room to go to 40 and 50F areas so as to cool off, play, rough house, jump and all the things chicks like to do.

    Since you are indoors, the ambient air is already 70F, so it just doesn't take much to raise their space to a temperature that is simply too hot. My guess, just a guess, is that 250watts is too much for an indoor brooder box of your size. 23 birds will need a HUGE space within a week. 4'x8' is my guess.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I use my utility trailer, 5'x8', out in the barn or in the unheated, attached garage. 23 chicks would use every inch of that space at 4 weeks.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. figliadelre

    figliadelre Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 26, 2012
    Upstate NY
    My Coop
    The box they are in now was only intended for the first week or two... we will be moving them to a bigger box by the weekend (think two wardrobe boxes on their sides, together). These chicks grow SO FAST! Do you think that one lamp will still be sufficient in a bigger box? They will remain indoors until 4-6 weeks, then we are thinking about moving them to the enclosed porch or the garage.
     

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