Confused about heat lamp placement


8 Years
May 23, 2011
Creedmoor, NC
I'm having a very hard time telling if i have the temperature right in my brooder.

We have a 150 watt red bulb in a heat lamp (all the store had). The brooder is about 18" tall and i had the heat lamp placed directly on the wire lid. The room they are in is about 74-75 degrees F. The chicks were all sprawled out under the lamp with their wings held away but not panting.

I then took the lamp away to get ready to clean out the brooder a bit and they all perked up immediately.

I have no idea if this means the brooder temp is too hot or just right. I thought if it was too hot theyd move away. But if thats so then why are they holding their wings out?

Thanks in advance for you alls help!
Put a thermometer at chick level so you know what the temp in the brooder is for sure. I think the rule is 95 degrees the first week then drop 5 degrees each week after that.
I've just got a 75 watt flood light in one of those clamp on light holders. It's probably 2.5 to 3 feet off the floor and the thermometer I placed under it in the pool brooder usually reads about 86 to 90 degrees. They normally sleep together under it as a group (not in a pile just together). If it gets over 90 (per the brooder thermometer) during the day (the brooder is located next to a pair of french doors) they will group up outside the light range to nap until the temp goes down a bit, then back under the light again. They seem to be happy with the temperature.
Thermometers are unreliable. Just watch your chicks. If they were holding out their wings, they were hot. If they were active when you got rid of the lamp, they liked the coolness much better. With 70-75 ambient temperatures, they need very little extra warmth. Raise the lamp or get a lower wattage. By 4 weeks, and it being June, they won't want much heat at all.
I put the 150 watt lamp in the corner of the brooder. I had logs under and near the lamp if they wanted to be closer. The other end is much cooler. They have a choice of heat or no heat. I never checked the temp.
Great question, thank you to the OP for posting. I am working on my brooder tonight to get the temps just right for my chicks coming tomorrow. This is my first chicken endeavor. I can't seem to get the temp on the opposite end of the brooder up above 83 degrees.... The light is as low as it can possibly go for the 18" height of the container without removing the lid. (the cats will get my babies!).

I thought the temp on the other side of the brooder had to be 90-95 degrees... not just under the lamp??
Actually, it is best if the hot spot is 90 degrees, but you don't want that temp over the entire brooder. Chicks need room to leave that kind of heat and control their body temperatures. They need cooler places to go. Mother Hen's body heat is what we mimic in brooding, but even she doesn't have them under her feathers 24/7. She takes them for walks in much cooler air. If the brooder is too small and the heat everywhere is over 85, lets say, they've no place to cool off. With June coming, ambient temperature are rising. It doesn't take very much to create a warming spot of 90 degrees when the general air temperature, on a warm day, is 80 degrees already. Hope that helps.

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