First brooder setup, please evaluate!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by EasterEggDrew, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicks arriving this week, just want to make sure I have an acceptable setup. I learned most of this from reading here, so hopefully it's right!

    I was going to place this in the garage, to keep it in a place where my young kids could visit and handle the chicks, such that they develop a nice disposition. However, we're afraid my (very loud) car will scare them half to death every time I start it, so I have moved it to the basement of our house. Now, looking at it all set up with a heat lamp atop a bin full of newspaper and wood shavings, it looks too much like kindling to allow it in the house. So, it will be moved to my (heated and air conditioned) barn. This means less opportunity for the kids to interact (it won't be right in the house with them), but better peace of mind for my family sleeping at night.

    Lamp was tested with several different bulbs and locations, but it seems the best way to hit 95F average in the tub is to just place the lamp right on the chicken wire toward one end. Directly under lamp is about 100F, but the far end of the tub is only 85F, so it seems to give them the option of being warmer or cooler, by moving around the tub.

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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    How many chicks, and what wattage is your bulb.
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Since you have already bought your heat lamp, may be this is for the future, but here are some other options for heating a brooder that do not pose a fire risk (and use significantly less power)

    http://www.pandtpoultry.co.uk/product/categoryid/3/productid/1732 and the Brinsea Eco glow brooder (both work on the same principle). You may also wish to take a look at the thread "Momma heating pad - picture heavy" for another option.

    Good luck with your chicks!
    CT
     
  4. gmatson

    gmatson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many chicks will you be getting? If you are just getting a few this should work ok. I would be concerned more about the chicks being to hot than to cold with the lamp right on top like that.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    If you've been studying the forums on BYC, surely you've come across the options CT mentioned. You are obviously very concerned about fire, and with just cause. Heat lamps are a very real danger. Moving the setup to your barn isn't decreasing the fire danger. You are putting your very nice barn in jeopardy. And a heat lamp over a plastic bin invites overheating your chicks. Unless you are only having three or four so they have plenty of space to get away from the heat, you risk losing some to overheating and space issues.

    I recommend you return the heat lamp to the store and get your money back, and buy a Sunbeam heating pad with multiple heat settings and an option to select so the pad will remain on and not shut off after just two hours. Then I recommend you set the chicks up in your coop with the heating pad. The children will still be able to visit them, surely, and the chicks will be much happier in a larger space than that plastic tote.

    Read Blooie's thread on heating pad brooding to see how it's set up. It's really so simple and easy and much safer than worrying if the heat lamp is going to bake your chicks or set your barn on fire.
     
  6. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for your suggestions. Sorry I forgot to mention, just 4 chicks.

    I have been running the heat lamp about 2 weeks now, and have dialed in the positions required to maintain constant temperatures anywhere from 80F to 100F, so I don't think the comments about overheating the chicks are deserved. I can move it back six inches from the grate (I have a stand to which I mount it) to get 95F at the hottest part of the tub, if that is better, but then it will be only 80-85F at the far end, depending on room temperature.

    I will check out the other products, as any potential fire risk is my main concern. The light wasn't exactly a huge investment, so I'm not worried about the expense, if there's a better way to go.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    With any sort of brooding, heat lamp or other wise, the most important factor is space. The brooder needs to be big enough to allow the chicks to both warm and cool themselves. Plastic totes are just too small for heat lamp brooding. The warm zone should be at about 95*. Any warmer, and they may overheat. The cool zone needs to be at least 20* cooler. That is almost impossible with a heat lamp in a small brooder. It is much easier to kill them with too much heat than it is for them to die of chilling. If they get a bit too cool, they can always huddle for warmth. With a heat lamp, there is no place for them to escape the heat. This is not the only reason I love heating pads over heat lamps.
    The heating pad method enables the chicks to develop a natural night/day cycle right away. Heat lamp chicks have light 24/7 so they don't get into a regular sleeping cycle. They just nod off whenever. And they tend to freak out once they move to the coop when night falls. They have no clue what to do, and are terrified of dark, since they've never really experienced it before. Heating pad chicks have a day and night from the very start, and they naturally huddle in their little cave at dusk and put themselves to bed. Cutest thing ever to listen to young chicks settle in for the night. There is a special little bedtime sound they make, that you don't get to hear with heat lamp chicks. Transitioning to the coop is much less stressful for them.
    Also, chicks double in size every week for the first 6 weeks. And their space needs double with them. What seems like a ton of space when you first bring them home quickly turns cramped and crowded, in just a week or two.
     
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  8. gmatson

    gmatson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For 6 chicks I used two totes. I cut the ends out and duct taped them together. Just a thought if you decide you need more room.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  9. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The link above to the pandtpoultry product did not work, so I'm not sure to what it is referring, but I did read your very interesting article on your grow window brooder and brooding outdoors. Very interesting! Moving from the very warm indoor brooder to outdoors in six weeks, just when our evenings will start getting cold, is a concern for me, so I like the idea that it builds cold hardiness and may promote earlier feathering. Since this is my first batch, and I have no flock with which to integrate them, I'd love your ideas on moving them into the coop earlier than usual, and how to make that an easy transition (i.e. heating pad?).

    I found this post interesting, with the heating pad draped over a frame, which I guess would help to lessen the fire concern: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update

    I also had thought about how the brooder light would screw with sleeping schedules, but then told myself I must be worrying too much, as it seemed to be the way everyone does it. I guess that's one of the many differences between farmers, and those raising chicks as a sort of backyard pet, us probably tending more toward the latter.
     
  10. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and I forgot to say... our chicks came today! Gave them nothing but water for the first 5 hours, as I read this is a good way to avoid pasty butt. After that, and we were sure they were all drinking well, we gave them the first bit of food on paper on the floor of the brooder. Now the feeder and waterer are full, lamp is pulled back a bit (tub is averaging 90F in the middle), and they all seem happy. Would love to improve on this setup, tho. If anyone has a recommendation on a specific heating pad, let me know!
     

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