Heat Plates vs Heat Lamps

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Azure Acres, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Azure Acres

    Azure Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

    108
    22
    83
    Jan 10, 2014
    NW Missouri
    Splitting topics from a thread that got off topic.

    My reasons for picking a hot plate:

    1. Safety - I feel that heat plates are a safer choice because of the lower wattage, as well as the fact that they are on a stable stand. Heat lamps can be made more secure as well, but I felt the heat plate was an easier option.

    2. Cost - Although the heat plate I purchased was $69, for me, the long term cost of a heat lamp would be more. The heat plate runs at 64 watts and a heat bulb at 250. Over the course of a month, it would cost around $4 to run a heat plate and $14 to run a lamp. I am raising batches of 40 chicks, so I would need to lamps at $28 a month. The cost of the lamps and bulbs would be around $30 with a bulb or $40 with heat emitters. The heating plate quickly pays for itself and saves money.

    3. Light - I like that the heat plates don't put out an artificial light. A heat emitter bulb could also do that, but I just prefer the heat plate.

    4. Appearance/Ease of Use - I am brooding indoors and it would be difficult to rig up heat lamps without tripods because of where I have them. The tripods would be another cost.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
    2 people like this.
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,820
    6,963
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Nice thread start! Look forward to the discussion.
     
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    547
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    I think you are dismissing one very important aspect of rearing chicks. Light is very important when chicks are placed in a brooder. The first 3 days are especially important since they need to learn where the heat is to prevent piling, and learn where the food and water are. If chicks are placed in a brooder with patches of sunlight shining in them, they will move from the heat source to the patch of sunlight, and they will get chilled and huddle together for warmth. Chicks cannot eat or drink in the dark so light must be on continuously for those first 3 days. Even after those 3 days light should be bright enough so chicks have the opportunity to find feeders and waterers. Limiting feed intake will only stunt their growth, weaken their developing immune system, and make them more susceptible to disease.

    Even in large areas out in a barn, chicks respond to light under a floor brooder convincing chicks that is home after sundown. Attempting to cut costs should not take importance over needs of growing chicks. Artificial light has been used for many years, not out of ignorance, but due to scientific research and trials which were performed to limit mortality. Before that poultry keepers who raised chicks outside depended on sunlight during the day, and people had to be very careful about seasonal weather in order to do it. Indoors, coal burning brooder stoves, and oil heated brooder stoves existed before electric ones. The electricity was a blessing since chicks were more active when supplied with light in addition to heat.

    When new products hit the marketing avenues, the main goal is to sell that product by convincing people they need it. There never is a short supply of folks to sell a new item to, but sensible evaluation is needed to determine whether the product is beneficial. To me, the Premiere and Brinsea heat plates fail since light is necessary to healthy chick raising. Any doubts that may arise from people, they are welcome to do their own research in regard to light requirements for growing chicks, and poultry in general.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
    3 people like this.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Yep...I always give my broody hens little flash lights so the chicks will know to go to her for warmth. Pulls them in every time..like moths to a flame.
     
    8 people like this.
  5. Azure Acres

    Azure Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

    108
    22
    83
    Jan 10, 2014
    NW Missouri
    I have to say, I find this comment just a bit condescending. To assume that I am putting cost above what is best for my animals is completely ignorant, as you don't know me, my set up, or my intentions. Maybe you didn't intend for the comment to come off that way, but I'm finding that when I read many of your replies, I am sensing this same tone. I don't think that either option we're discussing endangers chicks when used properly. Both are fine choices, but you seem to have a strong opinion against heating plates, which is why I started this thread as an area to discuss.

    In my original post, I listed out cost in response to your comment in a previous thread where you mentioned that you'd be hesitant to spend $100 on a plate that had a one year warranty and took up brooder space. I was simply stating that the plate paid for itself in savings in a very short time.

    We are brooding indoors because we live in Missouri where the weather has been anywhere from 60 F down to -5 F just this week. Missouri is a bit temperamental this time of year. We have eggs hatching Feb 7/8. I've already set up my brooder area and have been checking multiple times a day to make sure that there isn't direct sunlight in the brooder area. The brooder is in a room that has windows on the south, french doors on the west, and windows on the west. It gets plenty of daylight and stays around 70 degrees. At night, I have a 40 watt bulb that I plan to turn on to give a bit of light without it being too bright. (I have an old door that we turned into a decorative shelf with a light fixture at the top. Hard to explain, but provides plenty of light).
     
    2 people like this.
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    547
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    No intention to be condescending at all. I was addressing your reason # 2 of the original post, and the dismissal of the importance light has to chicks.
     
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote: Now, correct me if I'm wrong here...but chicks live off the yolk in the first 2-3 days of life and don't eat much at all for the first 3 days.

    I'm not sure anyone is convinced that chicks need to eat all night long...they don't do so under a broody hen and they are not provided with light other than natural lighting from windows...and very rarely does one have a window through which sunlight comes in all day long as the earth rotates. Chicks that are raised naturally with a broody respond to her warmth and sound to gather under her, not light. If there is a patch of sunlight in a brooder it's fleeting, so I've never seen chicks trying to huddle in a patch of sunlight for warmth when they have a nice warm hen/place to crouch under.

    Science can try to prove all they want about light being more beneficial to the vigor of chicks, but chicks raised naturally under a broody, with no artificial lighting at night and just natural lighting in the day are much more healthy and vigorous than any chick raised artificially.

    As for the heat plate taking up space, it takes up no more floor space than a hen would. Feed and watering options can sit right on top the plate and keep both out of the bedding.

    I'm thinking radiant warmth is much more natural than a glaring light, no matter the color, bearing down on chicks day and night and diminishing the natural humidity in the brooder and dehydrating the chicks in the process.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
  8. chrissyr

    chrissyr Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,696
    61
    186
    Jan 25, 2013
    Just curios what heat plate you chose: Brinsea or the one from Premiere1 ? I am at a toss up myself. Thanks for starting the thread :)
     
  9. Azure Acres

    Azure Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

    108
    22
    83
    Jan 10, 2014
    NW Missouri
  10. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    547
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by