Chicks - when to cut back light/heat


9 Years
Oct 6, 2010
Hello all, look forward to contributing to the board when I gain some experience. No I'm a newbie with 8 - 3.5 week old chicks. Have used 60W light bulb for the last 2 weeks, prior was heat lamp - red. So 90 degrees - 5 per week = 70 degrees at 4 weeks. My house stays about that most of the time. My brooder is by a south window. can I now gradually end the light at night? Of ourse I will still monitor temp and use as needed if things get chilly. Thanks in advance!

Joe (the chicken newbie)
You may be able to turn it off completely. Let your chicks tell you. Are they gathering near the light for warmth? Are they moving as far away as they can? How do they act if you turn it off? Danger is when they pile on top of one another for warmth; they can suffocate the guy on the bottom.
If the temp in the house doesn't drop below 70-75 degrees at night, sure. That's about the 3 and 4 week level. Just monitor them - if they huddle to sleep in a snuggled up, low pile, that's okay. But if they peep a lot and climb on top of each other, they're a bit too cool.

Also, if you're using a white light, it keeps them active. They need some "down time" in the dark or at least dimmer light.

Oh, and
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This is my understanding:

Week 1: 95
Week 2: 90
Week 3: 85
Week 4: 80
Week 5 (and beyond if fully feathered): 75 or outside

If they're still not even 4 weeks old, they will need more heat than 70 degrees. Of course every brooder is different, and if they're being raised in a house with heating, they might need less. I agree that this is a guideline (above) and you should let your chicks tell you with their behavior, but the above is a good place to start, and they very well may need closer to 85 degrees.

I would keep the light on a night for another week or so - but that's just me. I would also use a red bulb as that will keep the pecking and cannibalism at bay, and will allow them rest at night. By the time mine were 3.5 weeks, I was turning off the (red) light in the evening for 3-4 hours while I was still up, but always put it back on at night because I didn't want to wake up to frozen chicks! They had a big enough brooder they could completely go away from the light if they wanted, and I found that 5-6 would huddle in a different part of the brooder, 3-4 would be right under the lamp, and another 5 or so would be dispersed throughout the brooder (the brooder had separate "rooms"). Goes to show that they all have different preferences!
im winging it too at this point, based on how happy they seem to be. There is currently a 40 degree difference in the high and the low daily temperature and my chicks are outside in a shed so... we're off...we're on..... we're off with the windows open...we're on with the windows open.. we're on with the windows closed...we're off...we're on....good grief.
Actually it goes more like this:

Week 1: 90 to 95 degrees (I've never had a chick that liked the 95 degree range, & some liked it even cooler than 90)
Week 2: 85 to 90
Week 3: 80 to 85
Week 4: 75 to 80
Week 5: 70 to 75
Once your temps. are done to 70 degrees, end of week 5, they should no longer require supplemental heat, under normal circumstances.

To the OP: I agree with gryeyes and dawn.
I know! and the problem I'm having is that they keep burying the thermometer, so every time I try to check the heat, it's covered in poo shavings...then when I un-bury it and wait a bit, I go in there to find 1 sitting on it so there goes another attempt at reading it. They just won't leave it alone. Lately I've been just watching behavior. On top of all that, the freaky weather here has been 85...67...82...40... so the lamp goes up... down...up...down....I can't wait until they're in their coop already.
Mine are 4 weeks tomorrow and have been in the coop since last week. Here in Mass we've been having crazy weather. We've had 20's at night but almost 70 during the day. I put the red heat lamp about 24 inches off the ground. They move around the coop, eat, drink, scratch and go back near the light when they are cold. They sleep under and around the light at night, but not in a pile.

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