Heat plate and ambient temperatures

Farmer D

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2018
Warren, NJ
Hi all,

First batch of chicks, 12, arrive this week. I've got the brooder set up outside in a Suscovitch tractor. I'll be using a Premier 1 heating plate.

Two questions:

1. Ambient temps are going to be lower than I had planned on, with one night dipping into the upper 40s this week. Should I consider adding some extra heat? One site I was reading said these plates only work well with temps in the low 60s and up. Daytime temps here will be in the 70s this week, and go back up to the 80s next. But the lows this week are hovering in the 48-55 (F) range.

2. Does anyone ever drape a towel or some such over the top to create a more enclosed environment, similar to a Mama Heating Pad?

Thanks for sharing your experience!



11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
I brood with the heating pad system, but if I had the heat plate, I would get a generous scrap of fleece material and fashion a snuggly berm on two sides of the heat plate for the chicks to snuggle against.

The thing that turns me off on heat plates is that the thing is a rigid piece of hardware and not soft and snuggly like the underside of a broody hen. I fear the person who engineered these things never met a broody hen or saw baby chicks snuggle deep into her soft skirts.

No need to provide another heat source. I brood outdoors in the run, and it gets down into the 30s in spring. The chicks do just fine with just the one heat source. You want to be sure they aren't subject to any cold drafts, though.


Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
My hen took her babies outside at 2 days old with temps in the 50s and 60s and they were unfazed by that. They went under her to warm up occasionally and then came out and resumed exploring. They were unfazed by wetness after a rain as well on day 3. They are grown now.Big and healthy.
If temps are down in the 40s now, and you can test out temps under the plate, before they arrive, that would be good.

Farmer D

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2018
Warren, NJ
Thank you both!

Day time temps are 70-80 for the next two weeks, so it is only in the depths of the night that I am concerned about. They should, given that they are not getting artificial light, be all bundled up under the heat plate then, right?

I will definitely add the cozy "berm" and am shoring up the draft protection in a few weak spots. I will post a photo when set up is complete.

Just waiting for the shipping confirmation!



Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
Western Ohio
Draft free brooder is key no matter what.

Heat plates are great and are low wattage. I’ve seen on here that the Premier 1 version is rated to be used in colder temps, whereas some other brands are not. Check your packaging or the Premier 1 website if you want to verify that.

A heat plate is meant to be set to the height where the chicks can press their back to the plate and warm up. And can be raised or lowered as needed. Also, with 4 legs and open sides a chick can freely move under or away from the heat as needed.

Good luck with your chicks!

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