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Can laser light hurt chickens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by seashoreduck, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Songster

    May 6, 2013
    So I have an open-air brooder, it's near a window. We keep the house low 60's. They have a heating pad below and a red light above.

    I test using my husband's infrared sensor. It's a cheap tool and it has a fairly cheap laser to point on what you want to know the heat of. The chickens seemed to like it and even chased it...but after the first couple of days I got the brooder I didn't need to test and see what temp it was. I've been able to lower the heat about a degree a day and they've managed well.

    Today they are about 17 days old (hatched Jan 18) so 95 to 90 minus 17= 78-75 in their warm spot. I have an idea of the heat level because I did this before, twice, with ducks. It is a bit cold in the house tonight so I got worried.

    They were puffed up and squished together under the most intense light so I was worried that I went to check in and they went spazzzztic, rageful angry peeping was shocking and they went nuts.

    Do I need to take them out of their cage to test if it's warm enough? It seems kind of counter productive. They have an 79 degree to 63 degree range in an 30x30 cage. They have enough room to sleep in the hottest area, a tissue box with dirt, water, food, sticks to play on.

    I'm not sure why the laser is the new enemy...just totally threw me off. After the initial chaos, (one was a runaway and the other was a screamer) they've been angels.

  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    To me, this sounds like a fluke incident. Perhaps they just didn't appreciate being disturbed. It sounds plenty warm enough. My chicks are 2 weeks old and outside, and half the time when I check on them at night they aren't even under their mama even though it's in the 20s to 30s.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You probably just startled them.
    Don't get too obsessed with temperature readings, go by their behaviors.
    Not sure why you are using a heating pad and a heat lamp.
    Overheating is one of the most common newbie errors.

    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.

    Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
    1 person likes this.
  4. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Songster

    May 6, 2013
    It's actually a tiny gecko reptile lamp. The balance of the heat is really well managed. I took the pad out because it was too hot for them and left the red light the other night so I was worried about if they were warm enough. They were very poofed up, cuddled together and unhappy with cheeping. I turn the light off during the day so they are now in 62-68 most of the day and show no signs of being cold, they run around, pester eachother, climb in and out of the dirt box, climb on the branches, scatter their food and otherwise are little pests.

    Come night, though, when I turn the light on because the house gets colder they huddle under it. Granted, I do so after the sun goes down and they get very warm all day sun.

    Today I had them out and playing in the room and my husband was playing with the infred gun. They went loony bins. They hate it with a passion.

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