Do 1 day old chick need dark at night?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lagondiechooks, May 18, 2017.

  1. lagondiechooks

    lagondiechooks Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2017
    Hi I'm raising incubated chicks for the first time (always had a mother hen before) and I thought I had it all covered! But the brooder is set up, the heat lamp (which I borrowed and has a clear white light) and the chicks are happily installed. But its now evening and I'm unsure whether my chicks need darkness at night. Obviously I can't turn off the heat lamp, but I could cover the brooder with a tea towel?
    Also not sure how much / how often to feed them?
    Thankyou!
     
  2. aimee1957

    aimee1957 Just Hatched

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    No, they do not need dark. They will fall asleep wherever they are whenever the mood strikes them. Keeping them at 95 degrees the first week is crucial then down 5 degrees each week.
     
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  3. lagondiechooks

    lagondiechooks Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you. Maybe I could swap to a infrared bulb so I don't t feel like they are being flooded with light?
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    While darkness is not a requirement, establishing a normal day/night cycle from the start can be very beneficial and result in happier/more balanced chicks and adults down the road. To heat without having to use light you can use a Mama Heat Pad (there is an excellent thread here on BYC) or a brooder plate as the heat source. I would not use any flammable materiel (ie the tea towel) anywhere near the heat lamp, even with what might seem infallible precautions the two can end up in contact with each other and the results are never good.
    As to the temperature, while 90-95 is a commonly recommended range for the first week (lowering by 5 degrees each week thereafter) this is actually erring very much on the side of caution -- rather than relying on the thermometer it is better to use your chicks' behavior to guide your heating. Provide a warm spot in one area of the brooder (if using a light this is directly under the light) but provide ample "cool" space outside of that area (many thing you must heat the whole brooder). This approach allows the chicks to better regulate their temperature themselves. If the chicks are all huddled right under the heat they are showing they are too cool, if they are all huddled as far away as they can from the heat they are too hot.....you are looking for happy chicks scattered about the brooder. It is very easy to overheat chicks and in many ways more dangerous to have them be overheated than to have them be a little cool.
     
  5. peepsnquacks

    peepsnquacks Out Of The Brooder

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    I had a very experienced chicken farmer tell me that it doesn't matter about the light. They go to sleep at night regardless. When they are babies, most important is the heat!! The temperature will kill them if they are not warm enough. If you are worried about it, you can get the red light, but it is not needed, and once they go outside, they'll learn the whole sunup, sundown thing. :)

    xoxoxoxo
    PnQ
     
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  6. aimee1957

    aimee1957 Just Hatched

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    All of my chickens were brought up in the heat of the light, and as adults they go to roost in their coop at night every evening around sundown, and they wake up with the sun too. I've never had any chickens with their schedules all out of whack.
     
  7. aimee1957

    aimee1957 Just Hatched

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  8. aimee1957

    aimee1957 Just Hatched

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    Mare is right about starting a fire. Don't drape a towel or anything else flammable anywhere near that heat lamp.
     
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  9. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    Mare is right about lots. ;)

    I can say that raising them with a light does make training them to go in the coop at dusk can be quite a challenge.
     
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  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    They need heat available in a small area of the brooder all the time for the first week or two. Many of us have switched to brooding with a heating pad, which allows them to snuggle down in a nice dark secure place, much the same as they would if they were with Mama Broody.

    There is an article about heating pad brooding linked to my signature (written by Blooie). Covering the brooder with a tea towel would not provide the darkness needed, and it would create a fire hazard. (heating pads are much safer).

    They should have feed and water available all the time for the first few weeks. Be sure you put the water in a safe container. Chicks are born with a death wish: seeking new and novel ways to commit suicide, drowning is one of their favorites. And they can do so in an amazingly tiny bit of water. They will also spill it, causing wet shavings and a risk of getting chilled.

    Enjoy your chickies!
     
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