How close does the heat lamp have to be to achieve 90 degrees?

Weasleymum

Songster
11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
310
24
148
Virginia
I have my brooder all set up, ready to get chicks on Saturday. Bought a thermometer this morning to test the heat lamp, but I can't get the temps in the brooder higher than 81 or so! It's just a standard heat lamp and red bulb, and a digital thermometer. My brooder is a rubbermaid-type plastic tub (only getting 3 chicks). I cut away most of the lid and replaced it with bird netting, for ventilation. Started off with the lamp several inches up from the netting, then right above it, then I took that metal guard off the lamp and put it as close to the netting as possible, which resulted in low-eighties. (I'm measuring the temp at the bottom of the brooder, since that's where the chicks will be.) Do I need to take the lid off and actually put the lamp inside in order to get to the 90's, or am I doing something else wrong? It's such a small brooder that I really didn't think that would be necessary!

If I do take the lid off, how long until they'll be able to scramble/ fly out? When they start getting feathers?
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,521
616
327
California, central valley
You shouldn't have any trouble getting temps in the 90's with a 250 watt heat bulb. If you put that down into the brooder you are going to roast your chicks when they fall asleep under it.

Did you turn it on for several hours before measuring the temp? My brooder is approx. 4 feet by 2 1/2 feet and I usually have to keep raising the lamp so it's not to warm underneath it.
 

Weasleymum

Songster
11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
310
24
148
Virginia
You shouldn't have any trouble getting temps in the 90's with a 250 watt heat bulb. If you put that down into the brooder you are going to roast your chicks when they fall asleep under it.

Did you turn it on for several hours before measuring the temp? My brooder is approx. 4 feet by 2 1/2 feet and I usually have to keep raising the lamp so it's not to warm underneath it.

Thank you! No, I didn't have the lamp on for hours, just a few minutes before I took the temp. Didn't realize it took that long, I guess! Beginner's mistake.
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,921
516
middle TN
I never could get a good temp on a heat lamp with a thermometer. It was explained to me that infrared light heats objects, not air, and thermometers measure air temp. When you get a reading after a period of time, you're measuring the heat radiating from surfaces. I found it a whole lot easier to go by chick behavior.

With your setup, the biggest risk is overheating, not chilling. I hope you have a really huge container because 250W is a lot of heat. Most folks find a standard light bulb in the 75W area to be plenty.
 

Weasleymum

Songster
11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
310
24
148
Virginia
It's not a huge container, not at all. It's basically a big rubbermaid/ tupperware thing. I was previously using it in the trunk of my car to keep all that 'car stuff'-- extra blanket, motor oil, etc. I guess I'll try experimenting with keeping the light further from the brooder (both higher up and all the way to one side) so that there's some variability from one end of the box to the other, or try a smaller bulb...
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,921
516
middle TN
Take the 250 back. Those are for brooding large numbers in a barn. Get a 40, 60, and 75W bulb or a 75 and a dimmer and experiment with those. You won't need more.
 

ashcons

Chirping
10 Years
Aug 9, 2011
63
7
91
My brooder is about 60" x 30 " x 30" and I have a 125w bulb just above the lip of the boxes and the "ground" right below the lamp is 90º. Sometimes the chicks sleep right under it in a pile and sometimes they sleep off to the side all spread out. The 250w infrared bulb I tried first was throwing about 110º at the same spot, so I boxed it up to go back since I didn't have an easy way to increase the height of the lamp stand I built. In something as small as a Rubbermaid box, I'd think the 250w bulb would put out a little too much heat. My measurements also came after running the lamps for a while since my electric thermometer kept creeping up for the first 10 minutes or so that I had the lamps on. I'm planning on just returning the larger bulb since it's apparently overkill for my setup (I only have 4 chicks @ 1.5 weeks old).
 
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