1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

heating pad vs heat light

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TLWR, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    TSC should be getting chicks locally the week of 15FEB. I only need 2, so not sure if I'll be getting them there, another local place or chicken swap or what. Either way... 2 new chicks.

    I will be brooding them inside for about a week just so I can keep a close eye on them.
    We should be in the 60's during the day so, I'd like to move their brooder to my back patio after that initial week (and maybe some days during that first week). Still looking at 40's/50's for nights. Once they are on the patio, I want to put them in the coop at night (half blocked off - so existing chicken can be near them and get used to them, but not get to them).

    If I pick up a heating pad without the auto turn off, will that be enough for them on those low 40 degree nights if they are out in the coop? Or should I grab a heat bulb to put in their end of the coop?
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 7, 2012
    Absolutely, go the route of heating pad. Check out this (I'm guessing you already have): https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors The important thing is to be sure it has multiple heat settings, not just hi-med-low. They will thrive with this arrangement. I strongly suggest that you get 3 chicks, if you can house that many. If you lose one, you will have a very lonely chick. Not a good situation. If I only had room for 2 more birds in my flock, I'd cull one or more of the older ones, to make room for 3 or more chicks.
  3. ChickenGrass

    ChickenGrass Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2015
    Republic of Ireland
    Definatly heat pad,
    They cost less to run and don't have a light shining off
    Them so the chicks can sleep.Also less a chance of fire.
    But in saying heat pad I also have a heat lamp and use it for
    Older chicks.
  4. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I brooded mine outdoors this past year under the heating pad system, small numbers of chicks, and they did splendidly at temps of 30sF at night and not over 50F during the day. I would set the pad to the highest setting if the temp was supposed to dive at night, and throttle it back during the day if it was nice.

    The cool temps seemed not to bother the chicks one bit.
  5. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

    Nov 4, 2014
    East Tennessee.
    X2 on the other posts, I brood all my chicks outdoors with a heating pad. Not only does it take a lot less power, but it is also safer as there is much less of a chance of it catching on fire. Yes, they will be fine with those temps over night. I think the lowest it has gotten when I have brooded chicks out doors is 30F and they all did fine. Just make sure it is set on high. I too would also get a couple of extra chicks. That way if one dies, or if you end up with a cockerel, you don't have to worry about getting more chicks and having to integrate them in with the others.
  6. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    I've brooded everybody outside, but chicks usually stay in the house for a week before I boot them out, ducks are out from day one, the wet just makes it smell too much for inside lol
    It is usually later in the spring though, so heat has never been an issue.

    So more than just high medium and low? Do they even make that?
    I was looking at this one - http://www.amazon.com/Sunbeam-732-5...F8&qid=1454814030&sr=8-4&keywords=heating+pad
    which only has the 3 settings.

    I only want 3 chickens total and have one already - replacing the 2 the fox took 2 years ago (too much crazy going on last year with not knowing where we'd be living (NY or AL) to replace them last spring). She's been hanging with the ducks, but wanted to give her more friends of her own.
    If I purchase from TSC, I'll have to get 6, so will keep all 6 for the first week and then find at least 3 new homes on CL. I'll be checking the other few places that sell chicks in the spring to see if they have min numbers (and what they are getting in).
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    They certainly do make those heating pads with different settings. Just make absolutely sure that you can bypass the Auto-off function so the pad doesn't turn off every couple of hours. This is the one I use:


    I've raised my chicks outside in temps in the teens and twenties using the heating pad system. It mimics a Mama Hen so well, and as we know broody hens aren't always particular about when they decide to hatch out chicks. Many have reported seeing chicks outside in sub-freezing temperatures running all over the place, exploring, and dashing back under Mom for a quick warm-up. That's exactly what they do with MHP as well.

    Good luck with your chicks!!
  8. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    The only heating pad I've ever seen or used is my mom's. I'm pretty sure it was from the 60s or 70s. It was the lovely 70's orange with tiny little flowers on it. I just told my DH it might have only had on or off, but was guessing it had to at least have high and low.
    I use corn bags when we need them now.

    I'll have to do some heating pad shopping on amazon.
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Doing a little shopping is probably a good idea. My husband, who is an electrician with 49 years of hands-on experience, told me when I first started this NOT to use the heating pad we had stashed in with the medical stuff. He said that age can make the old wires in them brittle and possibly cause a fire. Chances are slim, but not worth taking in my mind. Walmart carries the smaller sized pad, and a couple of MHP users have found the larger ones at Walmart and/or Walgreens if you'd rather check there before you order online. It will say right on the box that it can be switched to "continuous on" and the control is digital from 1 to 6, which I like for fine tuning the heat, depending on what the chicks tell me they need.
  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by