Heat lamp help

PTA Chicks

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2012
152
192
186
KZN, South Africa
I was looking through what's available close to me (not USA based) and I can find plenty basking lamps for reptiles. Varying from 40 - 150 watts. They're red. Then ceramic heat lamps. No light just heat. 60 watt.

Which is better? Globe or ceramic?

Would those work for a small batch (say 10-15) of chicks? I want to get broilers in a month or 2 so planning ahead.

Chicken specific ones I can find that cater for 100+ birds are way too big for me.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,307
20,180
907
Southeast Louisiana
I know people always want the "best" but in reality either of those can be good enough. Different people will consider one better than the other but they won't always agree which one it is.

You are south of the equator, it's probably pretty warm by now and will get warmer by the time you get those chicks. I don't know how much heat you will need or for how long. One year in a ridiculous heat wave for me I turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the overnight heat off at 5 days. The brooder was outside and they simply did not need the heat. When it is still getting below freezing I leave the heat in for 5 weeks.

If you are brooding inside you have a different situation than brooding outside. In either case I consider the perfect brooder one that keeps a big-enough area for all of them warm enough in the coolest conditions and an area warm enough in the coolest conditions. 15 broilers are going to get pretty big pretty fast. I don't know how long they will need heat.

I like flexibility. I don't know what the relative costs are but I'd probably go with the one where I could change wattage by changing bulbs. But the other would work fine too.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,285
126,446
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I've used the red incandescent reptile bulbs, think it was 100W.
Used a dimmer extension cord to adjust heat output.

Tried the ceramic ones but heat distribution left much to be desired,
too hot right underneath and cooled too quickly farther away.

Now I use a human heating pad on a bakers rack.


Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
-If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
-If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
-If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. If you do use a heat bulb make sure it's specifically for poultry, some heat bulbs for food have teflon coatings that can kill birds. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.


Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
 

PTA Chicks

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2012
152
192
186
KZN, South Africa
Thanks for the replies. I have been reading a lot since I posted the query and I'd probably be able to easily raise them outside in the big coop with a division between them and the big girls. I'd collect them at a day or 2 old,no shipping. So minimal heat lamp usage would be needed.
Still plenty time to think about it all.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,307
20,180
907
Southeast Louisiana
Mary I actually like a heat lamp, usually two when it is really cold to spread the heated area when I have a lot. I often have around 20 or more at a time. My brooder is big enough and well enough ventilated that the far end can really cool down so I can have a lot of temperature difference from one end to the other. I put chicks straight from the incubator in there when the outside temperature is below freezing. I find them to be really good at self-regulating when given that option. One reason I like the heat lamps when it is freezing is that I put their water in the heated area so it doesn't freeze.

I have nothing against a heat plate or heating pad, I know they can work very well, even in freezing temperatures. But I have no experience with them. Is there a limit as to how many chicks one heat plate can handle? @Beekissed has used heat lamps and heating pads and did a comparison of the two. I did not keep a link to that, I should have as it was good. One of her comments was that she liked the heat lamps better than heating pads for larger numbers of chicks.
 

MANNA-PRO

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