Chicks seem to like it cooler than they "should"--is this harmful?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by eggspletive!, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. eggspletive!

    eggspletive! Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 9, 2009
    I've got three chicks--two of them are about 1-1/2 weeks old and the other is 1 week old. I've got my red heat lamp at one end of my rectangular brooder. Every time the thermometer in there gets higher than 85, they all go to the end farthest away from the light. If it's 80, they will sleep in the middle. They are never at the end with the light for more than a minute, but I've been afraid to lower it below that to see if they would stay down there. It's been like this since I got them almost a week ago--i.e., they liked it at 80 when they should have liked it at 95, according to the books.

    Once in a while they will sleep snuggled up together, but only briefly. Other than that, they don't huddle together.

    I assume they know best what they need, but being a first-time chicken owner I'm nervous about deviating from the "rules." What do you think? Is everything okay?
  2. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    Not the expert but I would suggest to lower the temp a little bit. The rules are not written in stone and if your chicks go as far as possible from the heatsource they are to warm. Some people don't use thermometers and let the chicks behavior guide them. You are doing great by being observant, I am sure you'll hit the right 'spot' for the little ones. They should not huddle directly under the light constantly but move around and eat, poop and sleep. Avoiding the area under the heatlamp most likely means it is a tad warm I'd say:)
  3. Kieyamama

    Kieyamama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2009
    Sounds like what I had going on. Any hotter than 90 degrees(from day one) and they were panting.

    As long as your babies can get away from the heat if they are too warm, you're fine.

    The chicks will be a better measure of the temp than your thermometer. They'll pant when hot and huddle when cold.

    I'm assuming that my thermometer was not totally accurate. [​IMG]
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I don't use a thermometer....I just go by how the chicks are acting.
  5. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I'm not an "expert" either. But i have not found that particular set of "rules" to bear out with my chickens.

    This particular flock i have in the brooder now i got when they were 9 days old. The first night i had them, they huddled under the 100 watt light. After that they did not. Two days later, i changed it to a 60 watt bulb, and they have not acted cold ever. I have now stopped using the light at all. My house is 70-ish at night and 75-80 during the day, and they are active and never huddling or acting cold.

    So i guess you just have to take some things as a guideline and use your head and your instinct from there.
  6. thespinningcottage

    thespinningcottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2009
    Arcadia, Florida
    My new batch of home-grown chicks are so different from my hatchery chicks. The hatchery chicks were so stressed, they all had pasty butt and seemed cold all the time. They huddled under the 95 degree lamp and I heated it to about 100 for them. Several died anyway, even with the electrolytes and the medicated chick starter. However, this batch of 6-day olds from my incubator are strong! They run, play, go through the feed like it's nothing, drink constantly, then crash and burn all over the brooder, sometimes huddled, mostly not, then jump up all at once and play some more. They avoid the 90 degrees like the plague. They seem to prefer the 86 - 88 range. So be it! They're the boss of me. [​IMG]
  7. eggspletive!

    eggspletive! Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 9, 2009
    Very interesting! Okay, I will just go by behavior, then. These are "home-grown" chicks (from a local breeder) and they do seem tremendously vigorous. I'm having to refill the feeder twice a day!
  8. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    Quote:exactly, just give them enough room to get to the temp that they want to be, and dont fret about the actual temp.
  9. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Yup, I've never used a thermometer. I don't even know the wattage of the bulb in my brooder. I just move it closer if they seem cold (which isn't often), and farther if they seem warm. They know what they need.

    I also noticed that my home-hatched ducklings needed less heat than shipped ducklings. Makes sense, really--stressed critters will need more TLC, and shipping is stressful.
  10. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine liked it cooler, too. I think we kept it below 85 even during the second week, and below 80 thereafter.

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