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From "20 yrs." thread re too-hot brooders: tell hatcheries?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by allpeepedout, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    In the wonderful thread now under Managing Your Flock, where "old timers" with 20 yrs.+ of chicken experience are sharing tips, these experienced people mention too hot brooders killing chicks and creating pasty butt. I basically stopped reading baby chick threads after reading about so many dying, when it sounded like at least some were simply overheated and lacking ventilation. Yet hatcheries routinely recommend 95 degrees--plus people are brooding things like plastic tubs, trapping heat and gases.

    Do regulars on this thread agree or have thoughts? If so, I wonder if it would be helpful as individuals or a group to communicate concerns to hatcheries, maybe at least encourage their instructions to have more flexibility? Just a thought to prevent some loss and pain. Thanks.

  2. Yonaton

    Yonaton Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    I have no idea how 'hot' I keep the area I raise hatchery chicks. It's usually one or two cardboard boxes cut so that I can tape two ends together making one long piece of cardboard about 8 or 10 feet long and no more than 3 feet in height (so it's easy to reach in and change water, feed, etc. and make sure there's no 'sticky' part of any tape showing or a chick can and will get stuck to it). I then tape the ends to two walls in the coop. This usually gives a nice big area for the chicks to sleep and spread out if cool or hot, and for the feeder and waterer. I hang a red heat bulb over a corner usually starting at about 2 and a half feet up from the floor and then watch the chicks to see how they react. If they never sleep directly under it, it's too close and I raise it 6" until it's right for them. If they're always under it, I lower it a few inches at a time until they equalize their time under it and out of it. I can usually get the heat needs fixed just right in about an hour or two and then just watch how they're reacting to it as they get older so as to raise it a little bit according to those reactions. As they get bigger and need more space I simply add another 'box' to the setup until they're big enough to take it down and let them use the whole coop, leaving the heat lamp of course. It's really simple and all it takes is watching and observing the reactions of the chicks. Putting chicks in too small of an area and not giving them the room to run around and excercise and get away from the heat if they need too, is just sad and pathetic, IMO. The 'secret' is simply to have the room necessary for raising chicks and not have to jury-rig dumb things like aquariums or laundry baskets, etc. I don't know about any "gases", but the term 'heat kills' applies to *ALL* animals, not just humans.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Quote:Very well said.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    When I got back home this past summer with my four day-olds, I popped them into a brooder and clocked the heat at around 95F. The poor little tykes were all cringing in the far corner away from the heat lamp. So I raised the lamp and brought the temp down to 90. It was still too hot. I raised the lamp some more, and it was still too hot.

    I finally yanked the 250 watt and switched to a regular 100 watt lamp. That produced an 85 degree temp for my day-olds and they finally gave me their seal of approval.

    The recommended 95 - 100F temp for day-olds is WAY too hot. I agree that so many problems could be averted if people would just allow the chicks to dictate what's comfortable.
  5. Chemguy

    Chemguy Songster

    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    Quote:This was *precisely* my experience. I used chick behavior to determine how to supply heat. Better than any thermometer!
  6. There a chick...

    There a chick... Chirping

    Oct 7, 2010
    West Michigan
    Quote:I just go by chick behavior too...easier than having to clean a poopy thermometer![​IMG]
  7. I don't measure temps. I do use a huge rubber tote. I use a regular 60 watts bulb or two on a standing lamp and adjust the height according to chick behavior. The light only reaches a small corner of the tote.
    I would never use this set up for more than 25 regular size chicks. I move chicks out by one week of age into a floor cage made of an ex-pen or preferably, outdoors with a secure tractor.
    I raises chicks when it's warm enough so they can go outdoors at a week of age with a heat lamp in the corner of their tractor but, if i had a barn like I used to have, I could extend my chick-rearing season and make a horse stall brooder with a hood over the heat lamp. Those work very nicely.
    I received some shipped chicks during hot weather once last summer and pasty butt was an issue. I'd never really dealt with that before.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011

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