Do 1 day old chick need dark at night?

lagondiechooks

In the Brooder
May 18, 2017
11
3
21
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!
 

aimee1957

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2016
6
2
23
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.
 

lagondiechooks

In the Brooder
May 18, 2017
11
3
21
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.
Thank you. Maybe I could swap to a infrared bulb so I don't t feel like they are being flooded with light?
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,047
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
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.
 

peepsnquacks

In the Brooder
Apr 13, 2017
28
8
21
Citra, Florida
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
 

aimee1957

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2016
6
2
23
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.
 

aimee1957

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2016
6
2
23
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.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,023
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
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!

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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