chicks are cold at night

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by wren, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. wren

    wren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 30 one-week old chicks outside in a wood 12 x 8 shed in a 3 x 4 brood box with two 175 watt heat lamps and I'm going to buy another one today for night time. The temp outside is ranging from 90's during the day (which is fine I can ajust the heat bulbs) to 60's at night which is a problem. This is the first and last time that I start chicks outside like this. It's been horrible keeping the temp up at night. At night I am hanging the bulbs 12 inches from the floor of the brooder box which is covered with 2" of pine shavings and covering a corner of the box with plywood. The temp at night at the lowest dropped to 78 degrees. Horrible. (I have a temp gauge that records the highest and lowest temp on the floor of the brooder and an old school thermometer too). The chicks are good at positioning themselves where they are comfortable. But I'm worried that they are too cold at night. I haven't lost any thank God.

    Maybe if I grouped two heat bulbs hanging them right next to each other and created a very hot area (too hot at first) but then it would be just right at night? My other idea is to put in a heating pad covered tightly with a towel that they could cuddle into. Also I could cover more of the brooder at night, but when I go to bed, the brooder temp is a toasty 95 degrees. Any other ideas out there? Has anyone ever used a heat pad with chicks?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2007
  2. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Something does not sound right...I had a 4 x 8 brooder box with a 175 W heat lamp and my temps were OK...in fact, I had to keep raising the lamp to keep the temp down. This was outside in March with lows getting in the 40's.
    Where is your thermometer located? It is OK if the air temperature get lower than 90 degrees. You are trying to provide the ideal temperature at floor level where the chicks are located.
    Also, are you sure you have a heat lamp bulb and not a flood light bulb? They can be the same wattage but there is a HUGE difference in ambient heat output.
     
  3. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Also, aren't those little buggers a bit crowded in a 2x3 box (6 sq ft)? That's less than a quarter of a sq ft per bird...
    I am confused how you are positioning 2 heat lamps over a 2x3 box? Do you have any pics of your set-up?
     
  4. wren

    wren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks M.Saint

    I measured the brooder box, rather than just guessing and it is actually 3 feet and 2 1/2 inches wide, by 4 feet and 1 inch long. I reported the size of the brooder incorrectly in my original post.

    Yes, during the day I do have to raise the lamps quite a bit (3 ft), I even have to turn one off.

    Yes, I have pics I'll photobucket them ASAP.

    [​IMG]
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    Any night time tips out there?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2007
  5. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Looks good...did you make sure the lamps were actually "heat lamps" and not "flood lamps"?
    If you put your hand a few inches from the bulb you should only be able to stand it for a few seconds...if it is a flood lamp bulb it will feel like a regular light bulb...not nearly as much heat.
     
  6. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Those heat lamps are way too high.

    My brooder was 3' x 4.5' for 35 chicks. At an ambient temp of 60 degrees
    I keft one 250 infrared heat lamp 18 inches away from the floor to hold 87 to 94 degrees.
    I decreased and regulated the temp using a dimmer.

    The chicks are now outside in their coop (8 weeks) with the light on at night.

    [​IMG]

    Pic taken 1 day before the rest of my flock arrived.
     
  7. Jsto

    Jsto Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I wouldn't say so. My heat lamp has always had to be pretty high up because the particular brooder I was using retained heat really well. your brooder is open on the sides rather than solid like hers. The height of the heat lamps vary depending on where the chicks are kept. My chickys would have fried had I kept my lamp as low as yours, yet yours probably would have froze if you kept it as high as mine.

    Wren, where do you have your thermo situated? It could be reading incorrectly. I don't really know what else to say except for keeping quite a bit of the top covered so the heat can't escape. Putting two lamps together is also a good idea. If it is too hot underneat, they'd have plenty of room to get away from it, but at night it could be perfect.
     
  8. Arklady

    Arklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are those windows on the shed open all the time? If not then it could be that the lights could be lowered and one could be permantly low with a 100 watt bulb in it and they come and go as they need for warmth. I keep one end of my brooder heated pretty good so that if they get too hot they can go to the cooler side. It seems to work with the smaller chicks (I have various age chicks in there) directly under it for warmth and the larger older chicks radiated outwards.

    Nice shed by the way!

    Arklady
     
  9. wren

    wren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the great responses![​IMG] I looked closely at the bulbs that I'm using, and I can't find anything saying if they are "flood" lights (I don't have the boxes they came in as my sister gave them to me) but they are only 175 watts. I put my hand under the low wattage bulb, and I definitely could stand it for more than a few seconds. So, maybe they are flood lights. I'm thinking that that is the problem. I bought a 250 watt bulb today, and I hung it towards one side of the brooder, and the temp shot up fast. So maybe that will do the trick. By the way, the therm is on the floor of the brooder. And they seem happiest at 92%.

    I like the permanently low hanging, low wattage bulb idea with the babies coming and going-I've never tried that before! Good idea.

    The windows are opened in the pic-one all the way, and the other just a bit. Umm, I adjust the windows depending on the time of day. During the night you better believe it they're closed up tight!

    All of my other hatches have been kept indoors - so I've never had problems with temp before.

    Thank you all for the thoughtful responses![​IMG]
     
  10. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Putting a partial roof over one side of the brooder would help retain some of the heat. If you tacked some plywood (or even just a blanket with a staple gun) over about 1/3 of it, and then put the heat lamp just a little bit lower than the height of the "roof" you built, the heat will be retained lower into the brooder on that side and the chickies will be far warmer. Don't cover more than 1/2 of it- you don't want to accidentally bake them!

    -MTchick
     

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