Do I need a heat lamp on my chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by pfewless, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. pfewless

    pfewless In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2014
    I just got 6 chicks from TSC today. Ihave a heat lamp but am not sure if I need to use it. I have them in a big box with bedding & newspaper. They have their feeder and water container. I put electrolite in the water like they said. They are in the family room near the pellet stove. It stays about 68 degrees 24/7 in there. So I am asking if I need to put a heat lamp on them and if so for how many hours a day and how close to the box should it be? or at what temp should it be at the bottom of the box where they are? Iknow to keep it away from the food and water area. Thank You for any answers.
  2. chavira777

    chavira777 In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2015
    Tacoma, WA
    The info that I received today says that Chicks need to be kept under a heat lamp for the first 8-9weeks, as they can't regulate their own body temps. The temperature should be consistent at around 90-100 degrees and reduce the temp by about 5 degrees each week until the birds are fully feather. At that time birds may be moved into their permanent outdoor coop.

    Hope that helps, I'm a chicken noob! [​IMG]
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Unless they have enough heat, they will get sick and die. They need their temp at least for the first few days to be 90 - 95 degrees under the heat lamp (or in the warmest part of the brooder), with the box being big enough for them to get away from the heat to an area that is about 70 degrees. Then, you need to gradually decrease the temp about 5*/week until they are fully feathered. Please read the wonderful articles in the learning center about how to take care of baby chicks.
  4. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Chirping

    Jan 18, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Absolutely! I'm a proud new chick-mom, but everything I've read in the past few years really stresses the need to keep the little guys toasty!

    Remember, the floor is probably cooler than where your thermostat registers, depending how close they are to the stove, and little chicks would normally be snuggled close to mama to regulate their temperature.

    I'd get your heat-lamp on straight away, but maybe place it at one end of your brooder to start with, whilst you get the temperature perfected, so they have some options if they get too hot. I have a little thermometer in my brooder, and the temp varies a bit (old house), but I make sure it's always over a certain temp, and take my cues from the chicks.

    There's a great quick guide to setting up for your chicks, including heat-lamp, here:

    Happy chick-watching — hope they get warm soon :)
  5. pfewless

    pfewless In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2014
    I have heat lamp on them thanks every one for the prompt responses. They are all feathered up. So I was not sure. I am just going to be safe rather than sorry and keep it on one side of the box to keep it at 90F. If I notice they stay away from there then I will raise it or lower the wattage of the bulb to lower the temp each day until I find the right temp for them then start lowering it by 5 degrees a week until I am at room temp. at that point i will start introducing them to the outside little by little until they are ready to go into their coop.
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  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you haven't installed a heat lamp over your chicks by this time, I would expect they would be raising quite a racket because when chicks are uncomfortable, they chirp and screech non-stop. If they're hungry, same thing. So that can be your cue. Once you get a lamp over them, if they still complain, you need to lower the lamp until they go quiet. That means they're content.

    You'll see your chicks moving around, sometimes falling asleep like they've keeled over and passed out. That's typical of babies in the first week. They will probably sleep all night, though, unless they're uncomfortable. If you wake up in the middle of the night and hear a lot of frantic chirping, it means they're too cold, and you need to get up and adjust the heat.

    If you see all the chicks huddled in a pile directly beneath the lamp, it means they're not warm enough and you need to lower the light. If the chicks are lying around just outside the range of where the light hits, it means the light is too low and the chicks are too warm. You might also see them panting.

    But, yes, heat is very important for chicks. They will go into shock and die if they aren't kept at around 85 to 95 degrees the first week. They need less heat every week as they begin to grow feathers, which, by age four or five weeks, will do a pretty good job of keeping in their body heat, and they will need very little extra heat by then.

    I just noticed as I submitted this post you posted information that would have been very nice to have when you started this thread. Everyone assumed since you "just got chicks", they were a day or two old. If you had mentioned the chicks were all feathered out already, then saying you were thinking of not bothering with a heat lamp wouldn't have sounded so darned ignorant and irresponsible.

    If your chicks are, in fact, "all feathered out" (a photo of them would be nice so we can judge for ourselves if you are making an accurate assessment), then they are probably close to a month old or more, and probably do not need any extra heat if the room they are in is around 70 F.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  7. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Songster

    Oct 29, 2012
    Tyro-Lexington, NC
    For the first week, they NEED to be at about 95 degrees. Reduce the temperature five degrees each week after that until fully feathered. At 68 degrees, with no way to warm up, they can freeze their little fuzz off. Keep the food and water on one end (the cooler end) and the heat lamp on the other side. If you see that they are staying away from the light, they are too warm. All huddled together under it, they are too cool. Get those babies under the light now!!

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