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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dgilm, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. dgilm

    dgilm Out Of The Brooder

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    Total newbie question here...

    So, I've set up my brooder (large rubbermaid clear tub, with heat lamp above, as found on google searches for home built brooders)... The chicks should arrive tomorrow, so I turned on the heater lamp today, to warm everything up, and make sure that I could maintain a consistent temperature, and have the heat lamp adjusted before the chicks arrived. My husband went out to check the temperature (in the garage) and found that the bottom of the rubbermaid was starting to melt. [​IMG] It's not runny, but it's clearly too hot for the plastic tub. What to do? I have chicks arriving tomorrow.... Will moving them into the house (not my favorite idea) allow me to move the heat light further away from the tub and reduce the likelihood that it will melt? The setup is simply a clear plastic tub set on a table with a 250 watt red bulb in a reflector suspended over the top of the tub. The tub is lined with "puppy pads" and the waterer is set in there. I haven't put the feeder in there yet, because I don't want to open the feed bag until the chicks are actually here.

    (Is there a chicken running around in circles emoticon??)

    DH just asked if we put an inch or two of fine gravel or sand in the bottom and put the "puppy pads" on top of that if that would work?

    Open to suggestions!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  2. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    what temperature registered in the brooder? Plastic surely doesn't melt at 100 degrees? If it's too hot, move the lamp further out or switch to a lower wattage bulb.
     
  3. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

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    Long Island, NY
    Move the lamp higher up, away from the floor. I use the same approach, instead, I mount the lamp in one spot, and use cardboard boxes stacked, or change out different sizes, under the tote. I assume there are wood chips in the box?
    Maybe that's why the floor seemed like it was melting.
    Or, use a lower wattage bulb.
     
  4. dgilm

    dgilm Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I don't know what the temp in the brooder was, because he brought the bin in to show me that it was melting. [​IMG] I wouldn't have thought that the plastic would melt at 95-100 degrees either, but the last time I'd checked on the temperature, it was only 85 degrees... (it had been a while)
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  5. dgilm

    dgilm Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:No, there were no wood chips in there... just the puppy pads. Everything I've read said to delay putting the wood chips in until the chicks were a week or two old, and knew what food was. How far above the tub do you start your lamp out? Mine was basically level with the top of the tub... maybe 18 inches above the floor of the tub. I wonder if I set the tub directly on the concrete floor of the garage, if that would cool it enough to help stabilize the plastic, without making the floor of the brooder too cool for the chicks...
     
  6. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My experience with a brooder in an unheated coop was that a 250 W bulb was way too hot for the chicks at 18 inches, initially mine hung at least at about 2 ft. But this is easily measured. Just stick a thermometer in there.

    Also, you can put in shavings and have the puppy pads on top. i had shavings (about 2 inches) and paper towels on top. it may just add enough insulation. But I worry that if the plastic melts that the temp would be way too high for the chicks.
     
  7. dgilm

    dgilm Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Okay, so I'll try putting the shavings in, with the puppy pads on top, and moving the bulb further away. Maybe it was just too close. I wish he hadn't moved it before I had a chance to check the thermometer. [​IMG]

    I'd really prefer to keep them in the garage... as it gets colder, I'm figuring I'll have to move them to the basement for a few weeks, if I can't keep them warm enough in the garage, then back to the garage as I continue to lower the temperature to get them ready to move to the coop (which isn't built yet... I'm hoping the chickens living in the garage will be a good motivator! [​IMG] ) I'm figuring they should be ready for the coop sometime around early January. (We are in Central Virginia....winter temps get down to around freezing, so I'm figuring they will need to be somewhere around 16-18 weeks before they can go out to the unheated coop. The garage isn't heated, but it is a little warmer than outside, just by virtue of the fact that it's attached to the house, and shares two walls with the house.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  8. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're just a little bit south of me. If I can heat a 5.5 ft x 3 ft brooder to 95 degrees in a wooden unheated self standing building you should certainly be able to do the same in a garage. Set it up again and monitor the thermometer. Also, chicks will fully feather out by about 8 weeks. Then they don't need any supplemental heat even if it is around 32 degrees. So I thnk you can move them outside much earlier than you were planning.
     
  9. dgilm

    dgilm Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:That's good to know. (that maybe they can go out earlier than January! If we can skip the whole basement stage, that would be very good.) I will set it up again, with the heat lamp a little further away, and watch the thermometer, and see what happens. Thank you!
     
  10. dgilm

    dgilm Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, they've survived the first 36 hours, including a night in the garage. I was at work, so I don't know how cold it got, but they were all alive when I got home from work this morning. I'm having trouble getting the light at the right height. Moving it from the top of a ladder rung to the bottom of the same rung seems to make a HUGE difference. (85 degrees if the light is fastened to the bottom of the rung, moving it to the top of the rung the temp registeres 100+ one place I read said better a little too cool than too hot... ) If they can survive tonight and tomorrow night, I'll be off on vacation for 10 days, so I'll be able to check on them during the nights.... probably won't make a hill of beans difference to them, but I'll feel better. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011

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