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heat lamp position

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Michael Peyper, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. Michael Peyper

    Michael Peyper In the Brooder

    Nov 7, 2015
    Hi all. Ive tried to google and youtube on how i would know if my 250watt red lamp is positioned properly. Iow its not to high or to low (far/near) to the chicks. If some1 can assist pls

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Michael, are you brooding in the house or somewhere with consistent temperatures or outside where the temperatures fluctuate a lot. That can make a difference. If you are where the background temperatures are constant, put a thermometer on the floor of the brooder under the heat lamp and raise or lower the lamp until you get the temperatures you want.

    If you are outside where the daytime temperatures can be really warm but overnight temps drop a lot, you need a different approach. You need to set it up so that one area is always warm enough and the far reaches cool off quite a bit. That way the chicks can self-regulate where they want to be. I’ve put chicks straight from my incubator into my brooder which is built into the coop with outside temperatures below freezing and they do fine. Even at that age they are really good about self-regulating.

    I do mine with a heat lamp but the method shown in this link works pretty well to. There are always different ways to do things.


    There is really no perfect temperature for all chicks. Just like humans some chicks like it cooler or warmer than others. You can certainly raise chicks inside using a small brooder and keep the temperature constant throughout, but to me the best brooder is a fairly large one where you keep one area warm enough and let the rest cool off some. Too much heat can be just as dangerous as too little heat. Allowing them to self-regulate makes it easier on you. You don’t have to worry about keeping things perfect, just close enough.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    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 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.

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

    JetCat Songster

    Oct 26, 2015
    Southeast Alabama
    i keep a 250w red 18" off the bedding and on an InkBird controller, for day old chicks i have it set to turn off at 95° back on at 93°, bump that down 5° a week till they are 4 weeks old and then i swap to a 125w white heat lamp as it cuts down on the cycling time as the brooder temp gets closer to room temp.
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Chick behavior is the best indicator, I also put a cheap thermometer right under the lamp on the floor to determine what temperature I'm getting, I prefer a 125 watt bulb to the 250 which can get pretty hot. Make sure the chicks can get away from the heat if they want.

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