Hard and fast temperature rule?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 30, 2014
Union Level, Virginia
Is there a hard and fast temperature rule for new chicks? Am new to chicken motherhood and mine seem to be fine at slightly lower temps. They are not pooling in the corners to get away, nor piling in the middle to get right under the light. I have only had them since Monday. I check the temp a number of times a day in the box to adjust for the ambient temp and have tried my best to keep at 90-95, but they seem just as happy when it has gone down towards 85, thou didn't let it stay at that. Learning daily. I love them already.
Watch the chicks. Watch the chicks. Watch the chicks. They are far better than sweating bullets over the minutia of the thermostat. Chicks are far superior to judging the comfort of the temp and after all, it is for them we do this.

If they move about the brooder, they're fine. If they huddle stand and/or peep, they are cold. If they get a relaxed sleep they need, they're just fine.

Reduce the wattage of the bulb used, or raise the lamp at week 3. As birds mature, they need much less intense heat than they did when they were newly hatched. They need a lot more room too.
Someone will undoubtedly quote the 95 degree number, decreasing five degrees weekly. But, some of us don't even use a thermometer. I just watch the chicks and if they are behaving appropriately, it's fine.
Thank you Fred for your common sense post. As a new chickie momma it is difficult not to be over protective of your charges. I have stopped micromanaging the bulb and chickies seem happy, spread out over the plastic container and having good periods of rest. They are growing like weeds and will be needing new accommodations soon. Their coop is being prepared, but for now they will live in my husbands workshop, whose ambient temp is more consistent than a totally unheated coop. Weather is warming here in Southside VA.
Spring can be challenging with the wild temperature swings. Lots of folks who brood in sheds or barns have multiple bulbs of different wattages so they don't use more electricity than is necessary or overheat the space. I found with the clear roof on my mini coop that the sun made a big difference, too. I would actually unplug for much of the day with two week old chicks because they were outside sunbathing or inside sleeping far from the lamp but out of the wind when the weather was in the 70s. It's amazing how much you learn letting them choose how much warmth they actually need. :D
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