Chicks and heat lamps

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jailbirdjulie, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. jailbirdjulie

    jailbirdjulie Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2013
    Bountiful Utah
    I just got 3 chicks today that are each around 3 weeks old. I got silver leghorn, cuckoo muran and an ameraucana . I put a red heat light above their enclosure. They are actually in an old metal washtub with chicken wire over it. How close should the heat be to the chicks at this age? I believe it's a 250 watt bulb. If it's pointed at a specific area I guess if they get too warm they can move right? The last chicks I got were last August and I didn't need to have a heat lamp on them at all. We are having unusually warm weather at the moment but they are threatening snow again later this week. They are in an enclosed patio.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    We can't estimate the temperature in your brooder. It would be a good idea to get a thermometer, Otherwise, you[ll have to adjust it by how they move about. However, honestly, I doubt the washtub is big enough for the temp to vary much in there. I would be a lot more concerned about their being too hot than too cold at that age.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    You need a thermometer placed beneath the heat source. 3 week old chicks should be at 80 degrees and then lowered by 5 degrees each week until they are at room temp, at around 6 weeks of age. You don't want them to get any drafts as the cold air can kill them. So make sure this area is heated and stays relatively stable in temp and there are no breezes blowing around.

    Good luck with your babies and enjoy BYC!
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten good advice above. X3 a thermometer to check temperatures is really handy. The chicks will move away from the light if they are too hot, but do be careful they have enough room to get away from the heat so you don't overheat them. If they are on an enclosed patio where the temperature will really drop at night, you may have to adjust where the lamp is from night to day also. Check out the Learning Center for a lot of good chick raising articles, ie
  5. SoDak605

    SoDak605 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2014
    South Dakota
    If the tub is big enough, they will move away from the heat if it is too hot. I used a plastic feed tub from TSC, stapled wire across the top to keep them from jumping out while I was at work before they were moved to the coop. Id say 18-24" is fine (250w), keep the light concentrated on one side and the chicks will decide if they are hot or cold on their own.

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Alright [​IMG] great to have you joining the BYC flock [​IMG]

    You got a lot of good feed back here [​IMG]
  7. jailbirdjulie

    jailbirdjulie Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2013
    Bountiful Utah
    Thanks! I actually joined last fall after I got chicks last August. That was a whole different ball game though because it was a hot summer and I didn't even have to use heat on them at all. I bought a thermometer last night. It got to about 90 right underneath the heat lamp and the rest of the washtub wasn't quite that hot. I put a towel over most of the top of the washtub also. It got down into the high 30's here last night but the patio is usually at least 10 degrees warmer than it actually is outside.. They are all eating and drinking well this morning. So far so good! .
  8. CutlassL29

    CutlassL29 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2013
    Swansea, MA
    We're getting ready to be first time owners as soon as our local TSC gets their chicks in. Learning a lot from this site so we know what's best for the chicks.
    We have the brooder ready to go and put it in our 3 season room. We have a space heater in there to run if it gets really cold. We have been experimenting with the heat lamp height on a sliding pole that I made for it. Living in southern New England this time of year the temps can swing from one extreme to the next. It's pretty cold outside now after a few nice days we just had. Just hope we can keep everything warm enough for the chicks around the clock when we get them 'cause it's suppose to be cold here for awhile.
    Here's a pic of our brooder. It measure 47"L X 21.5"W X 24"D. Pine shavings will go in when we go get them and a modified lid is ready to go on when they start showing signs of getting out.

  9. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    For most brooder sizes a 250w heat lamp is far too much. Save on electricity and use a 100w or even 75w incandescent.

    My tote is typical brooder size for small number of chicks, about 2X3 ft and 100 watts in metal reflective hood is more than enough heat.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You are getting good advice and it sounds like you are doing fine.

    First and foremost, take the clamp off your heat lamp and throw it away so you are not tempted to rely on it. Firmly attach that lamp so it can’t fall. Two supports are better than one, with one being a backup. I use wire. Plastic can melt. String can burn through or melt. Wire can break if it flexes back and forth. You don’t need to start a fire by that lamp falling or getting knocked down by the chicks jumping.

    I don’t use this chart at all but I’ll still give it. It’s not a bad place for people with little or no experience to start. This chart is extremely safe. In reality the chicks can do pretty well with lower temperatures if the brooder is really draft-proof, if you have enough they can huddle together and generate heat, or if you have bedding they can cuddle in. But since everyone doesn’t have the same conditions or the same brooder, these numbers keep everyone safe, even the ones with a lousy brooder.

    0 to 7 days – 90 to 95 degrees
    8 to 14 days – 85 to 90 degrees
    15 to 21 days – 80 to 85 degrees
    22 to 28 days - 75 to 80 degrees
    29 to 35 days – 70 to 75 degrees.

    After 5 weeks mine generally don’t need heat. They’ve gone through nights with a low in the mid 40’s and even down to the mid 20’s before six weeks age. But a key to that is that I keep one end of the brooder warm enough and let the far end really cool down. Mine are acclimated to those colder temperatures because they play all over the brooder and only go to the heat when they need to warm up. My brooder is in the coop from Day 1.

    Another key is that my brooder in the coop and grow-out coop are really draft proof. The chicks are not going to be hit with a cold breeze. Part of when they can go without heat is how acclimated they are and how your facilities are set up.

    I much prefer a brooder with one end warm and the other end a lot cooler. Not only does it acclimate them, I don’t have to worry about keeping the entire brooder at one perfect temperature. Let the chicks go where they are comfortable. That means a larger brooder.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
    1 person likes this.

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