Distancing a 150 watt Infrared Heat Lamp

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LaKASkill, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. LaKASkill

    LaKASkill Out Of The Brooder

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    I am using 2x50 gallon jumbo tote (Rubbermaid) containers as brooders for 15 chicks with newspaper on the bottom and pine shavings about 2 inches deep on top of that. My question is, since I am using a 150 Watt Infrared Heat Lamp for each brooder what distance do I keep it from the wood shavings. Also, what would be a good ambient room temp? I fully understand that the temp of the brooder should be around 95 degrees. For the first week I will be keeping them all in one brooder and then splitting them up between the two brooders. I will play that part by ear and see how much room they have once they actually start growing.
     
  2. gigi113

    gigi113 Out Of The Brooder

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    it should probably be at least 2 feet- you need a thermometer to be sure
     
  3. LaKASkill

    LaKASkill Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your reply. I was asking because my thermometer was giving me really high temp readings and I could not understand why and figured it had to be the distance I was keeping it. Well, not the case. My thermometer is trash as it turns out. I went ahead and bought a 250 Watt red bulb rig because I saw it was more calming for the chicks as well as a new thermometer. My old one was off by about 15 degrees.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I keep hammering away at this issue every time I see a post such as yours asking about brooder temperature.

    No where in the heat guidelines for chicks does it specifically state that the recommended temperature for the first week and each week thereafter is for that spot directly beneath the light. And it totally neglects to state that the rest of the brooder should be much cooler.

    As a consequence, many new chick raisers are attempting to keep the entire brooder at the recommended temps, and some are even trying to keep the entire room where the chicks are way too warm.

    Here's what you do. Before you bring the chicks home, rig the heat lamp at a height where the temp directly beneath is between 85 and 95 F or around 30C. When you put the chicks into the brooder, stand an watch them.

    If they are gluing themselves to the spot beneath the lamp and not moving from it, they are probably not warm enough. If, on the other hand, the chicks are congregating away from the lamp as far away as space will allow, then the lamp is too low, thus too warm. In the first case, you need to lower the light. In the second scenario, you would raise the light or change the bulb for a lower wattage.

    If your room is very warm, say, because you live in the tropics, or south Texas, or Florida, you probably won't need a 250 watt heat bulb. A 100 or even 60 watt incandescent bulb will be sufficient.

    Or you could brood outdoors in your coop or run under the heating pad system and avoid all that uncertainty with heat lamps and indoor brooding. I talk about all the reasons chicks benefit by discarding the notion chicks must be brooded indoors in my article linked below. And you can read about heating pad brooding on the thread "Mama Heating Pad for the Brooder."
     
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  5. turboscooby07

    turboscooby07 Out Of The Brooder

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    Infared warms stuff up very differently than a lamp. I use a 600 watt lamp to cure paint and it will get so hot it will melt plastic if you dont watch it. I use a laser thermometer to check surface temp of everything in the coop even the chicks surface temp if I am curious. my chicks are in the coop and have adapted to cooler weather very quickly with the use of a heat lamp at night. They huddle up and sleep together if they are cold. I have been noticing each day that goes by they sleep further away from tthe lamp and each other. Chickens are tough and adapt quickly to living coditios
     
  6. RockyFieldsFarm

    RockyFieldsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had never heard of the heating pad method until I read the post you mentioned above. I think I'm going to try it this time after we hatch out our own chicks. Thank you for taking the time to post about it!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That may be way too much heat for a such a small container.
    What are the dimensions for these totes?
    Go by their behavior more than a temp or distance.



    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.


    Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  8. LaKASkill

    LaKASkill Out Of The Brooder

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    I decided to stay with my 150 Watt and not the 250. Experimenting with the 250, temps were above 100 degrees. The chicks arrived today, way ahead of schedule and with the 150 they are sitting at about 90 degrees though the ambient in the room is about 78 degrees. Tonight will get down to 68 degrees with a storm coming in for the next 2 or three days. After the storm is done I will consider moving them to their coop after I mess with the heat lamps in there for a bit. I actually was going to do the mother hen method though I did not have enough time for the shipping and had to make some decisions now. These chicks are actually replacements for ones that did not survive shipping.
     
  9. turboscooby07

    turboscooby07 Out Of The Brooder

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    I too will be building the heating pad hut, but mostly for cost and safety. My 3 week olds have had much less heat than recommended and they are feathering out so much faster. I dont plan on heating for them once fully feathered unless the temps drop down below 20 or so for a while, I need them to survive a kansas winter with their own adaptations to the weather. I am using straw in the coop beacause it holds heat well and the chicks have moved it around to their liking for sleeping...btw it has been in the 50s during the day and mid 30s to 40s at night around here
     
  10. LaKASkill

    LaKASkill Out Of The Brooder

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    Have you considered using sand in your coop for the floor, such as playground sand found at Lowe's? You can add a little bit of water to it in the day time during the summer, that will help cool down the coop a bit. That is what I have read anyway, have not actually done it myself. I don't know how sand will do for the winter time though it seems like it would be a good insulation. Also, it allows for the poop to be scooped easily.
     

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