Chick Heating Method (Radiant Heat)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by RoosterML, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    I have an idea that I would like to run by you all here at BYC. If someone has already done this by all means let me know but so far I have not seen or heard of it.
    All the brooder heating methods I see are all from above be it Heat lamps, MHP, Heat plates. Everyone knows heat rises.
    So why not heat from underneath via radiant heat? To us humans it's known to be one of the most comfortable forms of heat. Your heating objects compared to heating the air around those objects. Its also known that the temperature can be lowered but yet you feel the same warmth as you would with higher temps from different heating methods. So I wonder why this wouldn't work for brooding chicks?
    Here is what I am thinking of doing.
    Think of a shoe box when trying to picture this:
    1- Bend some aluminum coil stock so that I have 2- 1 1/2" high "shoe box" halves. Basically a bottom and a top.
    Let's go with 18"x18" for size. I have 24" coil stock to work with.
    2- Place an 18"x18" 1" thick rigid foam in the bottom half.( This should keep the heat from driving downwards)
    3- Place two heating pads side by side on top of the rigid foam
    4- Slide the other piece of bent aluminum over the top as the cover. (Like how you would put the lid on a shoe box)
    Now that your "heating sandwich" is made I will cover with a towel and sprinkle with some wood chips.
    I would then cover the whole thing with a cardboard box something around the size of 24"x24" with one end open for the chicks to go in and out. This will give them some area still inside the "cave" but not having to be over the heated area.
    This should also be very inexpensive for others to make or replicate.
    What's say you all? Worth doing it or not? Do you see any down fall to trying to heat chicks this way?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I like the way you think. You might want to do some research on a hover. Hovers were pushed as a way to brood chicks in WWII to conserve energy so it is not a new concept.

    Think of a shallow box inverted so it traps rising warm air. They used lights for heat, not a heating pad, but i don't see any reason heating it from underneath with a pad would not work.
    bantamsrmyfav and ejtrout31 like this.
  3. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    This is how I look at it.
    No need for height adjustments.
    Very safe.
    Very inexpensive to run.
    Very user friendly.
  4. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    Only thing I would say is with this your not trying to trap the heated air. The box is just to give them a little hide out and isn't really needed but might help the first few days with showing them where to go to get warmed up.:idunno
  5. Rose Quartz

    Rose Quartz Crossing the Road

    Problems i would see with this specific design is cardboard is going to insulate. It wont let the heat through very easily, and could raise the max heat of the heating pads causing a fire hazard.

    And for very young chicks the ambiant air might not be warm enough.

    That being said... they do love sleeping on top of the MHP even when there's plenty of room underneath.
    20180308_115254.jpg 20180308_120640.jpg
  6. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    Good point on potential heat build up, one whole end of the cardboard would be open. How's this to push back against your point of potential over heating/firehazard. I would think that many people lay on top of the heating pads thus trapping much more heat compared to what the box could ever hold in.
    Nice to see that the chicks are using the radiant effect of the MHP.
    Please understand I am NOT trying to argue with you, that is not what this is about. I like the feedback and am just offering a rebuttal to what you said.
    Again thank you :highfive:
  7. Rose Quartz

    Rose Quartz Crossing the Road

    The heating pad I was using for the chicks, I had used and laid on, the packaging specifically says not to lay on it because it get's hotter than intended and can cause burns. It was the only heating pad I could find locally that had a way to turn off the auto-shut off. Other brands might be different. It would be something to look into. The one I had was sunbeam. I found a pillowcase over top was enough to keep it clean-ish, the pad itself was also washable so I didn't have to worry too much about it getting nasty.
    ejtrout31 and RoosterML like this.
  8. Rose Quartz

    Rose Quartz Crossing the Road

    temperature wise the max setting was what the chicks wanted, and that was with direct contact, so just putting it on the floor of the box, might work better.
    RoosterML likes this.
  9. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    After some more thinking, my setup last year in this photo I had the heating pads covered with reflective Buble wrap insulation plus 1/2" PVC board ontop of that and a towel on top of that. I was trying to keep the heat in/force it down. No issues of over heating. I think this would also create more heat build up compared to the radiant method.
    Last year's method used:
    Heating pads used: Sunbeam Model 731 (No Auto Shut Off)
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They would be less able to regulate their 'comfortable place' by how far from the heat they are.
    On the pad too hot, off the pad too cold.
    Under a pad or plate, best set at an angle, allows them to choose the best spot.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: