How long should I keep a heeat lamp on?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
Hanging with my chickens
Hi, I am new to raising chicks. I have 4 barred rock chicks and I was wondering how long should I keep a heat lamp on them? they will be 5 weeks on Wednesday.
Some will give you a pat answer of 5 weeks or when fully feathered. But to me it depends on the temps in your area, whether you've been weaning them off the lamp, what temps they're currently used to, etc.

Can you give more info??
Watch your chicks. Do they huddle under the lamp in the mornings when it's cooler out? Do you look in on them at night? If so, are they under the lamp? How about during the day? Answer those questions, and you will be able to figure it out. If they're under the lamp, they still need it. If they're around fringes, they may need it raised, yet still on at night. If they're nowhere near it, shut it off. There are really no standard answers as every situation is different. One other helpful bit of information is your definition of "hot" and "cold". Here in MN, "warm" is pretty much anything above freezing this time of year. "Cold" is usually sub-zero. You get the idea. If they're fully feathered and it's warm during the day, you could probably save some on your electric bill and shut it off during the day at least.
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I've seen threads on this site that recommend keeping the heat lamp off unless it's below zero, so I've dubiously been keeping it shut off for the past week. (This is the second week my chicks have been outside, I put them out when they had all their feathers and made it necessary to clean the brooder every other day.) It's getting down to a bit below freezing here at night, and a comfortable 50-60 degrees in the daytime. I go out to open the coop every morning before school and the four chickens are huddled up on their roost with their feathers puffed out, and don't seem to be behaving any differently than when it was warmer last week.

If it gets down below 20 degrees, I'll probably turn the lamp on again for the night. The little chickens are remarkably resilient, though!
Wow...San Diego. I'd love to be a chick in San Diego! They will be FINE by 5 weeks.

I said it depends because you could have lived in a place where it still gets down to freezing at night. And if a person took chicks kept in the house under a heatlamp at 70 degrees and tossed them outside into freezing nights, it would be physically stressful for those chicks. So there is no "one answer fits all situations."

Enjoy your chicks!

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