Heat plate and lighting

Kyn

In the Brooder
Jan 27, 2021
8
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11
I'm new to having chicks and I have went with the heating plate. I have 7 chicks in a brooder in my basement the room has one tiny window. I've been keeping the bedroom light on 24/7. Is this right? Or should I not be keeping the light on all the time and if not what should I do?
 

Smileybans

Songster
Nov 13, 2020
396
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Upstate New York
You can turn the light off when it gets dark where you are. Or a bit before so maybe the sun from the window will fade and they will understand it’s getting dark. That way when you move them out of the brooder they are already used to the day night cycle.

I have a heat plate for my chicks and use a night light at night. But I also have plants in the brood room and those lights turn off suddenly. So it startled the chicks the first time. It’s just a small dollar store night light plugged in to give some ambient lighting. That way when the lights go out suddenly they aren’t so surprised.
If your basement doesn’t get any sun and is dark, I know mine is, then try the night light idea. But I don’t think keeping the light on will hurt them at all.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
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Light should be off at night - if they were outdoors, they would automatically seek shelter under the heat pad as the sun set. And they'd quietly stay there until the morning came.

With artificial light it'll confuse them if you suddenly turn it off, so best thing you can do, if possible, is to use a light that can dim, and dim it over time. If that's not an option you could also use a much weaker light like a night light, to give them a chance to get settled. Turn it off once they settle down for the night.
 

Sally PB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
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Belding, MI
I had one of those heat lamps when I brooded last spring. When they didn't need it anymore for heat, I left a room light on for three nights. Then the hall light, then the bathroom light, each being dimmer in the birds' area. When I moved the brooder out to the mudroom which was cooler, I had a small (4 watt) nightlight on for a few nights. Then, since they were near a window, I turned that off and they were on natural light until they moved to the coop.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
I'm new to having chicks and I have went with the heating plate. I have 7 chicks in a brooder in my basement the room has one tiny window. I've been keeping the bedroom light on 24/7. Is this right? Or should I not be keeping the light on all the time and if not what should I do?

Hi, Kyn, welcome to the forum. Glad you joined us.

As you can probably see there are a lot of different opinions on this. That's pretty common on this forum, there is hardly ever one way that is right and every other way is wrong. My opinion on this is that people care a lot more about this than the chicks themselves do.

If a broody hen were raising them in nature, they would follow a day-night routine. They would eat, drink, and play during the day and stay under the hen when it was dark. That routine does not hurt them, it is natural.

But we are not a broody hen. We raise them in many different ways, providing heat and light using methods all across the board. That doesn't hurt the chicks either. They still grow up fine.

If they are used to 24 hours of light they can get upset the first time they are in the dark. Chickens, even young chicks, don't much like change. The first time the lights go out can seem like a big change to them. But within about 15 minutes they usually settle down and go to sleep. They may not like change but they can adapt if given a chance. Some people train their chicks by turning the lights off for a short period of time, then turn them back on. Then repeat. After a while the chicks are no longer upset when the lights go out. My personal preference is to just get it over with and scare them once but the other way works too.

When they get older chickens need dark down time. Constant light can cause egg laying problems and maybe behavioral problems. I have not seen anything that says constant light is a problem for young chicks. Mine go to sleep during the day too.

In my opinion whichever way you choose to go about this will not cause any lasting harmful effects to your chicks. They will be fine either way. But when they get older dark downtime is important to them.
 

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