Ceramic heat emitter - questions for those who have used one

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ImportTheBest, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. ImportTheBest

    ImportTheBest Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2012
    Lex, KY
    I purchased a 100w ceramic heat emitter and I'm currently testing it over a box with a thermometer in my garage. Granted it is cold outside today, about 47 degrees, but it's taken a really long time (a few hours and one change of distance) and had to be about a foot away from the thermometer for it to register 91 degrees!

    How are you using the heat emitters that works well and is still safe? My babies arrive in a few days and I'm not confident that this will keep them warm in the garage overnight when the temps drop to freezing. I need a cost effective way to do two batches at once (just this one time) as i will have 9 layers and 10 meaties that will be arriving at the same time but separate brooders! I really don't want to do the red heat lamps.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I don't have any experiences with a ceramic heat emitter. I use a plain old heat lamp. I don't use the red 250 watt bulbs because they are too hot. I use a 125 watt heat bulb. I usually start out with it about 18 inches to 2 feet away. I haven't had any problems using one, and find they are the best for larger batches of chicks and colder climates. I like to be able to control the temperature my chicks are at.
  3. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    Here's are a couple threads about the ceramic bultbs- but they didn't seem to work well for brooding chicks-- most especially for really cold temperatures like you're describing. I haven't tried using one, but wanted to point you to this information so you're not stuck with cold babies (one lost babies to this) and no backup.


    I'll add another post in a bit with a couple other suggestions.
  4. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    I've used the MHP with great success as well as the Sweeter Heater 11x40 size. The Sweeter Heater isn't cheap- I bought it before I found the MHP method, so now I start using it around week 3 because, well, it's there and I already paid for it! It doesn't fit in my chick brooder tanks though- so it comes into play when they've got more room.

    However, my favorite for little bitty babies is the "Mama Heating Pad" which simulates the chicks going under a hen to get warm and lets you introduce them to dark nights (just like they'd have with mom) right away. Edited to add: Using a thermometer won't represent how warm it is- because they get warm by pressing their backs into the pad like they would a hen. How they behave is a representation of their comfort, but it won't read 95 and so on- and it's not supposed to.

    Here's a full huge thread that people are very good about helping and updating about designs:


    There are as many ways to do this as there are people- the thread will give you ideas- I'll share mine here, which is ultra simple. The most important part is a heating pad that doesn't have an "auto-shut-off" feature, or one that you can disable the shut off. It needs to stay on 24/7. If you've got a heating pad, plug it in, set a timer- or plug it in overnight and make sure it stays on. The thread gives which new brands do this, and many many versions using lots of things that are probably around your property already.

    Here's my version, which is a heating pad wrapped in a pillowcase, then sandwiched between two of those racks you buy for putting foil and saran wrap on kitchen cabinet door. I used zip ties to secure the pad between the two racks, so there's no space for little beak or necks to fit between the rack and the pad where they can get stuck. I pull them so tight I can't even get my fingernail underneath!

    Here are the racks I'm talking about. They are flexible to be bent into a good shape. It should be higher at the front and low at the back. Some leave the very back open. I like these because they've got easy exits out three of the sides, and the very back down to the ground lets them press their little backs up against the pad like they would with the hen:


    Here's my heating pad sandwiched between two of these racks. I zip-tie right by the edge of the pad on both sides as below, zip tying every where the racks meet.


    Here's what it looks like from the side- the back portion is bent out so the littlest chicks can get right up to the pad.


    Then I drape a towel over the top of the whole thing. I like to leave about an inch up at the side so they can find their way out. If you've got them in a brooder with solid sides, they should be fine because the sides will prevent a draft.




    When they get bigger, you can prop the front legs up on 2x4 scraps. As I said before, the sky's the limit - as they get bigger you can overturn a turkey roasting rack and put the pad over that too!

    Hope that helps and good luck with your littles!
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  5. katieuppi

    katieuppi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2017
    Pacific Northwest
    There are 150 and 200 watt heat emitters. They would be more suitable for those temps.
  6. tdpeake

    tdpeake New Egg

    Apr 7, 2016
    Spartanburg, SC
    I have used them to brood small groups of 4 to 6 six at a time. I used two hanging over a tote. I bought a temp controller to make sure it was only one when needed, a probe gives feedback at the temp. Both were 150w. This year I made a more permanent brooder with 3/4"radiant barrier insulation with an air-gap(1.5") then some plywood to keep the chicks from pecking it. I put 1 ceramic bulb in there, a ceramic tile under that and bedding. The one bulb was able to keep the brooder (18" by 24") close to 96 degrees under the bulb and 86 at the farthermost point from it. The radiant barrier reflect most of the infrared radiation back toward the inside of the brooder. With heat lamps and ceramic heaters the infrared radiation doesn't heat the air very well, but it heats objects that absorb the radiation. A clay tile works great for absorbing and conducting the heat into the rest of the brooder as well as storing the thermal energy when the heater turns off at temp. Just think of walking by a brick building on a cold night after a sunny day. That is how we kept warm when going to and from classes at NC State.

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