how high to have 250 watt bulb above brooder box...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ashylove1, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. ashylove1

    ashylove1 New Egg

    Jan 31, 2012
    i will be using a 10 gal tank for my silkie chicks... how high should i place the light above it? and what is the appropriate temp for them??? i think it is 95 degrees... am i right?
  2. 2hot2chicken

    2hot2chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    I use aquariums to raise chicks cause I used to have a saltwater aquarium business, I have a few large tanks layin around so it was obvious. Heres my 2cents though:
    1. You will not be able to use a 10 gallon unless its for a single chick as they grow so fast more than 1 will have it outgrown in a matter of a day or 2. Once they are moving around you will have to get them into something bigger. I use a 125 gallon long aquarium for 12-14 chicks (15-18 if they are bantam) until they are about 8-10 wks old. Even with this they start getting to crowded by the time they are about ready to go outside.
    2. Aquariums really hold the heat and prevent drafts so I use a 150 watt on 1 end of my 125 gallon aquarium and it suites my chicks just fine. Then they have a large area they can go to thats not right under the heat.
    3. Aquariums make wonderful brooders! I like them because I put them in a central location like my family room where my kids play so the chicks get tons of socialization through the glass and are used to a lot more comotion and whatnot and adjust very well to new situation once grown. They are also easier to handle as chicks I think because its not tunnel vision of looking up solid sides to look at the handler, they can see people dead on.
    4. Super easy to sterilize with bleech! I use paper towels for the first couple days then switch to shavings. I clean out 2-3 times a week (more if needed) depending on how many chicks I have and I wipe it all down with bleach once a week. I have never lost a chick to an illness or ever had any illness period with my chicks/chickens. I also put the water container up on wood blocks that the chicks can get on to get to the water but they dont get the water as dirty this way. I am building a shelf out of wire this year to keep the food and water elevated above the shavings to make it easier.
    5. I keep the light (150 watt on each end) about 2 ft above the chicks this is the top of the tank. From there I move it up 6 inches after a couple weeks then I switch to 75 watt lights at 4 wks. I use 1 light at a time. I use a white light on the end where the food is during the day and a red light at the other end of the tank at night. This seems to keep them on a good schedual so they are quiet and sleep good all night!

    This is works great for me so I hope that gives you some info you could use!
    Best wishes :)
    1 person likes this.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    With a brooder that small and with glass tanks known to hold heat, I'd honestly, truly think that a 250 would virtually cook them. I'm guessing you are brooding indoors, with ambient temperatures of 70F give or take. It just doesn't take anywhere near 250 watts to raise the temperatures in a small, glass container. I'd be very concerned.

    You'll find varying opinions, but I'll just throw this in. 95 is often just plain too hot. Second, watch the birds. THEY are absolutely better than being enslaved to a thermometer. If they huddle and chirp loudly? They are too cool. If they pant, lift their wings? They are cooking.

    The problem with a small tank brooder is that there is just no space for the birds to move away and cool off, if they need to. It will be essential for you to regulate the temps carefully, because they will not be able to to it for themselves, by moving away from the lamp. Enjoy your chicks.
  4. brendapa

    brendapa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2010
    Chester County, PA
    I find it's easier to change the bulb strength, too. I go down from a 250 heat bulb to a 150 heat bulb and then a 125 red incandecent and finish them with a red 60 watt.. my current batch in the house are 10 weeks and have no additional heat or lighting.
    When they start moving away from the light, I go to a lower wattage.
  5. ashylove1

    ashylove1 New Egg

    Jan 31, 2012
    thank you for all the great information!!!!! now i guess the big question is, where the heck do i find lower watt bulbs?????? the only ones i could find were either 50 or the 250...

    and thank you for the info on getting a bigger tank, this is only going to be for like 2 weeks until i can get a bigger one...then i will defintily be getting something that is bigger... just using what i had available for now! i do have a bigger box i can use if they outgrow it before i can get something bigger... i just needed something i could put on a table for socialization and to get my dogs used to having something small in the house... the tank is up high enough where they can see into it, but not actually get to it.

    and bleach??? i didnt realize i could use that to clean the tank!!! how often will i need to be doing a full cleaning? and i will definitly be using paper towels the first few days, i keep seeing people reccommend that.

    i think that is all for now, thank you for the help!
  6. ftwchopper

    ftwchopper Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 31, 2009
    woodstock connecticut
    A ten gallon tank is very small,make sure there is enough room for the chicks to get away from the heat lamp when needed.chicks will overheat just as easy as they get cold.If a chick is cold he will move closer to the bulb.....
  7. AliceMae

    AliceMae Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 27, 2012
    'The Boonies' Minnesota
    After you research all of the options to your questions, I would like to make one (kinda off your question) suggestion to you and anyone who loves raising chickens at home and that is go to any local hardware or appliance store for really nice, big, disposable, eco-friendly and FREE appliance box. They are the best for the budget and they work sooooo well! Cut the front down a bit for easy reaching and simply cutting here and there allows you to move your heat lamps where they need to be.

    I am on a budget for everything so please send me any tips you may have. Thank you all!

    If interested, I have some stories and other ideas at my home site ~

    Loving all of the quality help offered in this forum! AliceMae
  8. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I second the cardboard appliance box suggestion. You'd be amazed at how creative you can get with a cardboard box! You can even join two for a larger brooder, cutting a pass-through in between.

    I cut a doorway, leaving it attached on one side to act as a hinge, into the side, leaving the top open. I also cut windows into the box and cover them with see-through plastic, so this can be the same as a glass aquarium. If you're smart, you will place the box on a table or saw horses. You can then sit down while reaching in to play with the chicks and to clean the brooder. They will be much tamer and trusting.

    As for the heat requirement, it will depend on your particular chicks. My last brood of four wanted the brooder no hotter than 85F right from day one. A 100 watt bulb was plenty to keep them comfortable.

    Don't be hesitant to add "playground equipment" - blocks of wood for them to climb on, a tub of sand for them to dirt bathe in, and a perch a few inches off the floor of the brooder.
  9. ashylove1

    ashylove1 New Egg

    Jan 31, 2012
    wow... so i have had the lamp set up for all of an hour and i checked the temp, i need a higher thermometer first off, i didnt realize that mine only went to 86(and this wasnt high enough[​IMG]).... second off, if the glass is this warm, i can only imagine how hot it actually is!!! so tomorrow before i pick up my chicks, i will be looking for lower watt bulbs... i think i am going to go right to lowes, since the local petstore kinda sucks... all they had for heat lights was the 50 watt.

    thank you for all the help so far... it really is great to have a place to come when i have questions....

    and as for the appliance box suggestion.... yay for that! i didnt know you could do that!!! i may be looking tomorrow while i am at lowes!!! especially after putting the feeder and waterer in there really isnt any room for them to grow... [​IMG] so i will be hunting for a box. i really like the idea of putting plastic on the box so that it still has the effect of an aquarium... that is what i may do.

    how long do they need to stay in the brooder till i can move them to a coop? it would still be indoors, just bigger. the one i am looking at is the ware chicken hutch, that is going for 150 at tractor supply...........
  10. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Keeping them in a brooder for the first four weeks is the easiest way to care for the chicks and to make sure they're warm enough. Around four or five weeks, you could move them into their new coop because they'll have enough feathers by then to maintain their body temperature. You may still need to rig a heat lamp for a few more weeks if the nights are very cold.

    A lot of us need to keep our chicks in brooders longer than you will because they'd be moving in with older chickens who aren't necessarily cordial to young chicks. You won't have that problem until you decide to add to your present flock in the future.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by