Heat lamp help!


8 Years
Jan 7, 2012
I am in the process of organising my first incubator hatch. I haven't even ordered my eggs yet but want to get everything ready before I do as I am in New Zealand and if I have to order anything internationally it can take a while and I don't want my chicks to freeze!

Anyway on with the questions...

1. What is better a ceramic heat lamp with no light or a standard heat lamp?

2. What wattage is best, I will be hatching 34 chicks max (that is if I get the super unlikely 100% hatch rate!) I don't want them to freeze or fry!!!

Hello from an ex-pat Cantab living in Oz!

You shouldn't need to order international for heat lamps... the brooder I have here only has a standard 45watt bulb in it and that provides enough heat for my four chicks and I alter the temp by having the door more or less open (and blocking the gap with wire of course so they don't all fly out).

If you're in Canterbury you might want to have a plan B handy if the power goes out in a quake.
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Indeed I am in Canterbury, in fact just near Kaiapoi (but we haven't had any power outs here with the quakes, well the first two but nothing else!) Heat lamps are just an awful lot cheaper on ebay than buying from a shop (and I am in to looking at deals!)

I know a lady whos incubator fell over in the last big quake and she lost all of her chicks at about week 2! Poor chicks!

I also have a heat pad for them to sit on, but does that work as well as a heat lamp (maybe a combination of both?)

I usually brood from 15 to 50 chicks. I've always used heat lamps but I prefer the ceramic even though they're pricier. They don't break.
I always had to keep extras on hand in case one went out.
For just a few chicks, I put a regular 75 watt bulb in a large container. But for more I use a hover with one lamp at each end. If you have enough space you can use a high wattage and let them find their comfort zone. I never use thermometers any more.


Well with as much as 35 eggs and lets just say your 100% successful I would consider (2) 250 watt RED Heat Lamps. build them onto a board with metal to protect for fire proofing. The best way is to attach them to metal "L" iron and clamp the ends so there is not fire hazard or secure them up by chain with safety cords. The birds will get active and jump and test there wings and accidents happen but with basic sense and caution of fire hazard this should not be an issue at all. The RED 250 watt bulbs I refer to are the ones you get at a bathroom supply section or a hardware store for the overhead heat after you shower. Before the kids are hatched you should try it out in the area you are going to put the kids in while they are being brooded. You will also need a dependable and accurate thermometer to test the ambient air temperatures (don't be cheap the chix lives depend on accurate temps) under and around the area the heat lamp effects. When the kids are in the box think that if they are crowded under the light fighting to get directly under it that means it is not warm enough and it needs to be lowered to keep them warmer. If they are circling the area bc directly under it is to hot it needs to be raised so that they can get more under it. The best way to start is by testing under the lamps and around the lamps before you have the birds in there. The starting temps will range a bit but around 85 to 90 degrees is the first weeks out of the egg shell. So mark on the chain length were 85 to 90 degrees is when the thermometer is laying down under it. You will be reducing the temperature by 5 degrees per week there after until the kids are fully feathered out at 6 to 7 weeks old. So adjust the chain to the next week and experiment to find where 80 to 85 degrees will be for week 2 and mark the chain link with another string to mark week 2. Then keep doing the marks for 8 weeks. By the end of the 7th week you kids will be fully feathered out and be ready to go out in the outside brooder and coop and believe me with all the dust and all the poop and all the inside the house or garage odor you and you family will be happy they are in the coop and out in the yard. At the 5th week you will be wanting them to get some outside time in the coop to get familiar with their new home and accustomed to it as the 1 permanent place that's theirs. So week 5 out they go in a cat carry box or a small carrier to move and transport them into the coop and back to the inside of the safety of the home. Everyday after week 5 they go out for the day and back inside at night unless like you live in a warmer place to leave them and brooder them outside which is in my opinion the best. NO inside your home to dust, stink, urine and feathers flying around and be kids like baby chix are but for that to be out in a warm garage, backyard or heated shed or coop. We had a shielded heat lamp in a brooder box and planned the entire hatching thing in the summer and never needed a warm inside the house experience but others I have read about have expressed the crazy stories of inside during winter raising chickens inside the bath rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements and garages. Some have wonderful experiences and others have told of crazy experiences. This site has tons of stories to tell you. Great luck to you and much success to the beginning of a fantastic hobby and family fun.

Post lots of pictures!!!!

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