Heat lamp, necessary?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mahsad, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. mahsad

    mahsad Out Of The Brooder

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    May 10, 2013
    I'm looking forward to getting 20-30 chicks but I dont own a heat lamp. Last time i had chicks they were 8 fluffy balls who thrived just fine under a 30 W incandescent light.

    I am going to keep them inside where the temp. is 70 degrees the first three weeks, do you suppose 30 W will be enough? Will they be able to "warm each other", so to speak, because of their number?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    They shouldn't have to. It should be about 90F for the first week or so. You may very well be able to accomplish this with an incandescent bulb, yes, though I suspect 30W might be a bit too small, unless your brooder os too small and they are not from overcrowding.. A heat lamp indoors is often too much.

    The best brooders are not plastic, they are wood or cardboard (things like refirgerator boxes work well) and rovide at leasst 1 sq ft of space for every two chicks. They will often cuddle to sleep but they should be comfortable rnning around when awake, and they shouldnt have to huddle together when awake to stay warm. See this example:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...have-a-couple-of-questions/0_20#post_11151084 (esp. post 6)
     
  3. Lalegid

    Lalegid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a 70w bulb in a regular lamp for my chicks, it seems to work well. It's summer here at the moment so quite warm in the house anyway.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I used incandescents exclusively when brooding inside, but aggrees 30W is probably not enough-I used 60-100, dimmer extension cords can help adjust heat output.


    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85F on the brooder floor right under the lamp) 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 integration 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'. 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.
     
  5. mahsad

    mahsad Out Of The Brooder

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    Thought so! But do you suppose a 60 W reflector bulb will be enough if I move them to the coop after 4-5 weeks? The temperatures will be about 40 F during the nights. Maybe a little too chilly?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hard to say......if you keep the brooder heat lower after the first week or so, and keep the room temp down, they will feather out faster.
     
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  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  8. Rpeeps

    Rpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok reading all of the great responses, I feel ok by taking my 30 chicks out of the bathtub at 10 days to the south Ga weather, I kept the heat lamp in there, some are under it some are roosting depends on them. I feel comfy knowing the school of hard knocks for chicks works just fine!!!!
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. mg15

    mg15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had my babies in a plastic kiddie pool, a small one, with heating pads under the inner liner (shower curtain) in the pool. And I had the red heat lamp so they could sleep peacefully and be warm.
     

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