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!

HELP! Heat lamp questions.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Eggs on Toast, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Eggs on Toast

    Eggs on Toast Out Of The Brooder

    58
    4
    41
    Sep 10, 2015
    Okay, I have a lot of questions so can someone please help me!! I'm bringing home 2 week old chicks and I know nothing about heat lamps! They're coming on Sunday so I need to prepare the brooder. I'm going to be keeping them in a cardboard box with flattened down straw in my bedroom (I know, but I didn't want to keep them in the shed in this weather). Anyway, here's my questions:

    1. First question has nothing to do with heat lamps but I'm curious. I have a ton of grower feed leftover and it looks a lot like chick crumbs. I was wondering whether the chicks could live on this or is there something about it that can't be used. Otherwise, I'll have to walk to the pet shop down the road and see if they have chick crumbles.

    2. Bunnings (warehouse store in Australia) has a $10 250 bulb and I was wondering whether this was too hot. I can't find enough research on the topic but I saw one forum post that states that 40-60 watt is what I should aim for but the only bulbs I can find are either 250 watt or 11 watt. Anyway the question is whether I can use a 250 watt bulb.

    3. How do I set up the bulb! As stated before I know nothing about heat lamps. How would I set it up so that it hangs just above the brooder? What do I need?

    4. Additional question, when can they start having little times outside. It's winter but because I live in Australia we have sunny days over at least 20 degrees celcius here in winter. Wanted to take photos of them outside too. That should be harmless right?

    It's my first time raising baby chicks in Australia. I usually buy pullets because roosters are illegal where I live. Luckily the neighbours haven't complained about my little pekin yet lol. It's a matter of time though. Can't wait for these cute little chicks arrive. They're buff, mottle and black purebred pekin bantams. Please someone answer these questions because I'm really stuck.
     
  2. Grub Digger

    Grub Digger Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    14
    66
    Jan 5, 2016
    Middle TN
    Chick starter is easier for them to digest and has a higher amount of protein than grower. The 250w bulb puts out a lot of heat, maybe too much for a cardboard box. Consider a heating pad, the chicks nestle under like it's a mother's wing. Lots of articles on this sight about "mama heating pad in the brooder". If you still insist on using the heat lamp, do it carefully and only on one end of the brooder so the chicks can move out of the heat. It should be ok to take them outside for pics, just be very quick about it so they don't get too chilled. Free eggs help win neighbors to your cause [​IMG]. Best of luck and happy chickening!
     
  3. Eggs on Toast

    Eggs on Toast Out Of The Brooder

    58
    4
    41
    Sep 10, 2015
    Thank you! So I guess growers feed is out of the question? I have already found a 75 watt bulb from bunnings that a lady has recommended for me. Just still need to know how to position it so that it hangs above the brooder...
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,505
    2,441
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Depending on how feathered they are, two-week old chicks aren't going to need much heat. Maybe the heated room in your house is all they will need. You will need to watch them and if they act cold, huddling together, then position the light bulb at one end and adjust the height until you see them spaced out under it and not huddling. Light all day and night is stressful so draping a dark cloth over the brooder at night between the bright light and the chicks helps a lot.

    But the heating pad would be better. I don't know how easy it would be to get them to use it since they will be older chicks and not used to that system. I would try, though.

    An alternative is a huddle box with no heat. Their own body heat radiates back upon them by each warming the others.

    I use grower feed for my baby chicks and many people also do. It differs very little from starter. However, if the feed is very old, more than a year, you'd best discard it and buy fresh. I would ferment it for additional nutrients and natural probiotics.

    If you want to see different style brooders, check out my article on outdoor brooding linked below this post. There are many different alternatives when it comes to brooding.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,937
    3,094
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1. First question has nothing to do with heat lamps but I'm curious. I have a ton of grower feed leftover and it looks a lot like chick crumbs. I was wondering whether the chicks could live on this or is there something about it that can't be used. Otherwise, I'll have to walk to the pet shop down the road and see if they have chick crumbles.

    Sometimes I use Starter, sometimes I use Grower. The difference is in the percent protein. My Starter is 20%, the Grower 16%. Those can vary depending on the brand. If you use the higher % protein the chicks will feather out a little faster and grow a little bigger. If you are raising them for show, the growing bigger can be important, but for the vast majority of us it really doesn’t make any significant difference. The Grower should be fine.


    2. Bunnings (warehouse store in Australia) has a $10 250 bulb and I was wondering whether this was too hot. I can't find enough research on the topic but I saw one forum post that states that 40-60 watt is what I should aim for but the only bulbs I can find are either 250 watt or 11 watt. Anyway the question is whether I can use a 250 watt bulb.


    It can be really hard to find the lower wattage heat lamps here too. When I do find them it’s usually at a hardware store, not a feed store and not a big box home improvement store. It can be frustrating, sometimes I want to say things my Mommy would not approve when I’m looking for them.

    What is important is not the wattage of the bulb. Your goal is to provide one area in the brooder that is warm enough. It doesn’t have to be a heat lamp. I use heat lamps and I brood outside in the coop where the temperature from day to day can vary a lot, let alone day to night. So I have a large brooder and keep one area warm enough in the coolest temperatures with the far reaches cool enough in the warmest temperatures. In your bedroom that should be a piece of cake since your inside temperatures are so constant.

    One way to control the heat is to use different wattage bulbs. It doesn’t have to be a heat lamp. Dad used a regular incandescent 60 watt bulb in a cardboard box on the back porch after it warmed up in the spring. I prefer a red bulb but a lot of chicks have been raised with regular white incandescent bulbs. People tend to think you have to do things a certain way, you don’t. You have to provide enough heat. How you do it doesn’t matter that much. If you follow the links in Azygous’s signature you can see how people use a heating pad. Others use hovers, emitters, or something else.

    The other way you control heat from a heat lamp is to raise it or lower it, make it closer or further away. That’s one reason I like a big brooder, they can get away from the heat if they need to. Unless you have an absolutely huge brooder, that 250 is going to be too much.



    3. How do I set up the bulb! As stated before I know nothing about heat lamps. How would I set it up so that it hangs just above the brooder? What do I need?

    I don’t know what your brooder looks like or what your bedroom looks like. You can maybe build a tripod or something to hang the lamp from. Maybe you can support a rod coming off a piece of furniture or shelf. However you do it, realize there is a fire danger with a heat lamp (or anything else that uses electricity). Make sure whatever you hang it form is very secure. Do not use the clamp that comes with it, throw that away so you are not tempted to use it. Hang the lamp with wire so it cannot fall.

    I don’t know what temperature you keep your bedroom. At two weeks it’s quite possible the chicks need extremely little or no extra heat. That smaller bulb may be plenty if you can get it close to them. A trick where it will almost certainly work is to make a hover. Think of an inverted shallow box. Hot air rises, if you can trap heat under that inverted box it takes very little heat to keep them plenty warm, maybe even too warm. Remember there can be a fire hazard, don’t use something readily flammable, but it is a way that has been used since WWII and probably earlier. Just a shallow inverted box with no heat source will trap their body heat. You probably don’t need any heat source.

    4. Additional question, when can they start having little times outside. It's winter but because I live in Australia we have sunny days over at least 20 degrees celcius here in winter. Wanted to take photos of them outside too. That should be harmless right?


    Let your chickens tell you how comfortable or uncomfortable they are. A broody hen can raise chicks when the outside temperature is below freezing. The chicks go out from under her to eat and drink then go back under to warm up. Even in temperatures that we would consider cold the chicks spend a lot of time out from under Mama. As long as they are acting OK, you are good.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. The Quail Guru

    The Quail Guru Out Of The Brooder

    64
    2
    33
    Jun 5, 2015
    Thanks SO MUCH! This actually helped a lot and one of my friends just told me that they don't really need a heat lamp and I doubted for a while but now you guys just cleared i up for me. It's getting warmer here anyway and they're going to be in my room. I'm glad I can use the rest of the grower too. I'm going to look around to see who sells heating pads too because that seems handy just in case the chicks do get cold during the night. Thanks so so so much!!
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,211
    5,069
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    The heating pad is really SO VERY MUCH BETTER. For a lot of us, it has made any kind of heat lamp obsolete. It also is very helpful to prevent overheating your chicks which can happen so very easily in a brooder, especially in the house, and especially if the brooder is small (less than 4 feet long.) Just be sure that the heating pad has a shut off feature for the auto shut off. It needs to be able to be left on 24/7 for as long as the chicks need it. (though I do turn it off during the day sometimes to help wean them from heat) You'll need to train them to the heat pad since they are older. Unless they are broody raised, in which case the MHP will be more natural to them. Read the MHP thread or Blooie's article for more info.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,649
    5,405
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I like the heating pad too....but still use a lamp the first few days during the day to observe mobility and make sure they are eating and drinking, just a regular light bulb (60-100 watts) on a dimmer extension cord to adjust the heat output.

    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 acclimation 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


    Huddle Box
    Make them a 'huddle box', put it in the brooder after turning off the heat(you might have to 'persuade' them to use it) then move it out to the coop with them.
    Cardboard box with a bottom a little bigger than what they need to cuddle next to each other without piling and tall enough for them to stand in.
    Cut an opening on one side a couple inches from bottom and big enough for 2-3 of them to go thru at once.
    Fill the bottom with some pine shavings an inch or so deep.
    This will give them a cozy place to sleep/rest, block any drafts and help hold their body heat in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  9. Eggs on Toast

    Eggs on Toast Out Of The Brooder

    58
    4
    41
    Sep 10, 2015
    Okay, thanks everyone for your help. The chooks have succesfully reached week 3 (or 3 weeks old) doing perfectly fine and healthy! On week 1 and 2 they were staying inside the room and now at week 3 they are already living outside! This probably seems impossibly to those of you who live in colder conditions but here in Australia it's just turned spring and it's already getting hot. The chicks are thriving and I even let them free-range for a little while under supervision. They do so well without a heat lamp that it amazes me. Of course they cannot free-range without supervision until they turn 6 weeks or more because I fear they'll get lost or cannot defend themselves if the butcher bird comes down like my older chooks. But for now they are thriving in their little hutch.

    This is them at 2 weeks all perfectly healthy;
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Eggs on Toast

    Eggs on Toast Out Of The Brooder

    58
    4
    41
    Sep 10, 2015
    (By the way I have two accounts which is why ''The Quail Guru'' came up lol)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by