Homemade brooder - Eeeeep! HELP!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SydneyChick, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. SydneyChick

    SydneyChick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 28, 2011
    Can someone pls give me some advice? I have 4 2week old baby chicks I'm terrified their heat lamp will burn down our garage!

    I have the chicks in a cardboard box with food, water & a nice layer of wood shavings.

    The box is in an old dog crate (metal cage) which I have wrapped on 3 sides with shadecloth. On top of the shadecloth I have placed an old quilt.

    The infared heat lamp is suspended about 8" above the chicks and I've moved the quilt at the top of the quilt to give about a postcard sized hole for ventilation & heat release .

    When I just checked on them, three of the chicks were sleeping in a corner, lined up next to each other like beans. One chick is pretty much sleeping on the feeder, almost under the heat lamp. Raises her head and pants occasionally...

    Are they too hot? Too cold?

    Am I at risk of burning down the house with this setup?

    BTW - it's winter here & gets down to nine degrees centigrade at night.

    Please help! Sophia

    Please help!
  2. BarredRock971

    BarredRock971 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2011
    First of all, [​IMG]
    Sounds like you have a good setup! It seems like they may be a little hot. You can raise the heat lamp an inch or two, and then check back in about 15 minutes. If it's the right temperature, they won't all be at the sides or panting (too hot), or huddled under the heat lamp (too cold). The lamp probably won't be a problem, just make sure it's secure.
    Good luck! [​IMG]
  3. clanreed

    clanreed Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2011
    Valleyford, WA
    Quote:I second this. My lamp is attached in 2 places just in case on fails. I didn't go with cardboard for our brooder because of its flamibility, but I see many people have used it without a problem.

    Lastly, do you have a fire alarm in your garage? We lost our entire home to a fire in the summer of 2010 so I am a bit sensitive on this matter. We have a fire alarm in every room of our house including the garage just to be safe. They are cheap and its better to be safe than sorry.

    Good luck,
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I found that it can be difficult to raise the heat lamp without putting it in some unstable looking position that made me worry about fire or it dropping in and hurting the chicks. It sounds like you have a quilt on top of the brooder. This means that your brooder will be kept at a more stable temperature and the heat won't be allowed to escape. It also means that the chicks have a harder time escaping the heat and finding a distance from the heat lamp where they are comfortable. You might try removing the quilt, or adjusting it so that one part of the brooder is cooler than the rest and seeing whether the panting behavior stops and the chicks are free to move around more comfortably.

    I also invested in this rheostat device that plugs into the extension cord or outlet and the then the heat lamp plugs into the rheostat. It worked like a dimmer switch and I could adjust the heat of the lamp up or down to achieve the temperature I wanted without having to move the lamp. I got mine at Walmart, and I don't know if Walmart has already taken over Australia but you probably have an equivalent type of store that has a similar device.
  5. SydneyChick

    SydneyChick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 28, 2011
    YAY! The chicks survived the night! Just ran in to check on them and they seem very perky & happy - scratching & pecking at their feed etc...[​IMG]

    Thanks so much for all your help! Tomorrow I'm going to the hardware store to buy a smoke alarm for the garage. It's separate from the house, but I don't want to take any chances!

    Thanks again! Phew phew! Sophia:D
  6. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    When my chicks were in a pet carrier I put the heat lamp on a drawer clamped on and facing the carrier, then we slowly moved the carrier away from the lamp as they aged. It worked wonderfully. the chicks were able to go to the back of the carrier if it got to warm. We liked it this way better as the chicks can make the decision to stay up front or move farther back. They did wonderfully. We stapes the carrier with a blanket on the 3 sides and the front was where the heat went in.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  7. uchytil

    uchytil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
    48 degrees F (9 celsius) is not too bad. when the chicks are newborn I start them at 95 degrees F about 35 celsius and drop 5 degrees F a week. I suspend the heat lamp with a chain and snap hook that I can use to raise the lamp a little each week. I keep the brooder open at top also. I keep the heat at one end of the brooder and food/water at the other end. The chickies eat when not sleeping uner the heat. You may want to find an old drawer from a deep dresser to use for when they get older. I also cover mine with a wire screen to keep mice out.

    No worries
  8. ducks_rcool329

    ducks_rcool329 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2011
    Black Forest, Colorado
    you could also try and replace the cardboard box wit somethign like a huge plastic storage container?

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