I been reading that heat lamp can cause fire and i'm scared of buying a heat lamp but scared of my chicks dying too and i heard that chicks will feather out faster without heat lamp and can live so do we.
They can go without a heat lamp but will need something different to keep them warm enough. You can us like a heat bag for them to stand on or cuddle up against or something else that can keep them around a 90-95 degree temperature
. We have used a heat lamp several times and as long as it's not on something flammable or there beading gets on it (but if it's the right height that can't happen) it's very safe.
My 250 watt heat lamp doesn't feel as if it gets hot enough to start a fire so I haven't been too worried about it and it's been on all night for over a week and on some during the day and it hasn't given me one problem nor concern. I have it about a foot away from the bedding, I started out with it closer than that though.
I'm using a 250 watt bulb in a heat lamp with a cardboard box brooder and I have it set up so that it's perfectly safe. We have the lamp hanging from the ceiling above the box, and the shade of the lamp directs the heat straight down onto the bedding (sand). The sand is nice and warm but the walls of the brooder are barely warm to the touch, and the wire cage around the bulb prevents the bulb from ever touching the box or even coming close. Not a very likely fire hazard. If you're very worried, you could use nonflammable brooder (rubbermaid container, kiddie pool, old bathtub, etc.) and nonflammable bedding (sand) with a heat lamp, but so long as you're using the heat lamp responsibly it will probably be fine.
You could use a regular light bulb but it would be about the same. Just don't have the heat lamp touching anything ( e.g. cloth/plastic/etc) and have something more supporting it then just the cord. (Like hang a wire.)
If you go with 250 W, you might be wise to get one with a ceramic socket, otherwise, just use common sense as with any light bulb. If you're brooding them in the house, you probably won't need 250 watts to keep them at 90 - 95 degrees. If you want your chicks to thrive and grow, and not get sick, they'll need that extra heat.