How high will I need to hang the heat lamp?


11 Years
Oct 15, 2008
Central Virginia
My first chickies (bantams) are coming in early April, and I'm getting everything ready. I'll be using an extra-large dog crate as a brooder in my laundry room, and I'm wondering how high I will need to hang the heat lamp to keep things warm enough. I was hoping I could hang it inside the crate, from the top bars, which would keep it out of the reach of my little kids' fingers, but now I'm wondering if it'll need to be higher. If so, I need to figure out how to kid-proof it somehow, any ideas there? (Part of the reason we're using the crate is so the kids can't lift out the chicks, so I'm not worried about that, more about the kids getting burned. )
I'm using a 250 watt red heat lamp bulb and it's exactly three feet from the floor of the box. It's holding 95 degrees perfectly at that height.

Every week you want to lower the temperature by five degrees so you move the lamp up a couple of inches to make that happen. Using a thermometer is a very easy way to make sure you have the temperature right but you can also easily tell just by watching the chicks. If they are all huddled together directly under the lamp then they are too cold. If they are spread out and on the other side or around the edges of the container, away from the lamp then they are too hot. You should have chicks here and there moving around happily peeping, eating and drinking with some sleeping here and some sleeping there; some under the lamp and some not.

Have fun!
Yes, I've learned from this great forum about the need to lower the temp. as they get older, and what indications the chicks will give if they're too cold (or hot). I bought a thermometer when I bought the lamp so I can keep an eye on things. I guess what I should've asked is, based on you all's experience, how high does the heat lamp generally have to be to keep a 95 degree temp.? I suppose I could just plug it in and do a dry run, but that would make too much sense....
Anyway, it sounds like about 3' should do it, thanks Chirpy!

Anyone out there have any ideas on how to screen the hot bulb from kiddie fingers? Maybe a little cage of hardware cloth for the bulb?
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FYI, I also use a 250 watt red heat lamp and it was 18 inches off the floor for me to achieve 90-95 degrees. Most places you'll read, it's 18 inches. I am surprised that 3' makes 95 degrees for some people, but maybe they have the chicks in a quite warm room to start. The best idea is just get a thermometer and place it on the floor directly under the light. It should be 95 right under it and cooler as you move away. That's what I did, and it just happened to work out to about 18 inches, which is the standard recommendation.
oh and yes, hardware cloth would work. The brooder lamps come with wire gaurds to protect from fires (from the lamp if it touches cardboard directly) and to protect the babies from burning themselves. You're going to have to be really carefully with your children. You will read many posts on here and other places about chicks that are accidentally loved to death by little kids. They just don't know any better and can squeeze too tightly. If they have free access to the brooder in a way that would make you worry about burns from the lamp, I would worry about the safety of the children and the chicks together. I would suggest only allowing the kids in with them when you're there to supervise, just to be extra careful.
Yes, you're right about the kids! That's one reason why I'm using the crate instead of a cardboard box or Rubbermaid tote. I'm going to put corrugated plastic or Plexiglass on the sides to prevent chick escapes, but also to keep kids from poking at the chicks. I may even put a lock on the crate door so they can't open it. Even so, I think I'll keep a baby gate in the laundry room door, since all my kids are under 7.... And definitely, no chickie-handling unless I'm there keeping a VERY close eye on things. I'm not expecting any problems -- they're good kids, and I actually think the middle two might be too scared to hold the chicks even when I AM there -- but better safe than sorry!
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I think you will find that the height of the light will vary according to the brooder box you have and its size, location etc. I only used a small bulb in my first one in the house to achieve that but in my storage area new brooder I insulated the brooder, covered part of it up and had to use two bulbs. One was 250 watt and one 75 watt. Do the dry run. It will vary. Be careful with the card board. One lady on here had it catch on fire. Good luck and have a great time with them. It is so fun. Fuzzy butts for sure. Jean

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