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How to keep the brooder temp up....

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by wordgirl, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    Well, we set up our brooder today to practice getting the temperature right, but...the heat lamp's been on since noon, and the thermometer refuses to read 95 degrees unless we direct all the light into the brooder with tin foil and cover the rest of the brooder with blankets! [​IMG]

    The bulb is 125w, and our brooder is made out of wood, with hardware cloth on top. The brooder is 44X40X17. We haven't put bedding in the brooder yet – will that keep it warmer? We don't get our chicks until next week, but we want to be able to see them (and allow them to breathe [​IMG] and make sure it has enough ventilation to avoid a making a rainforest).

    Do we need a bigger bulb? Is there another way to keep it warmer in the brooder?

    Thank you! [​IMG]

  2. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Get a 250W heat lamp with a reflector socket, and one of those corded dimmers, to adjust the output to suit. I rarely have it run it up at max.
    That will solve your issues.

    Incandescents dont out put enough focused heat, and red light is better to start chicks on, anyway.

    As for bedding, dont add it untl after 5 days. Use paper towel before then. The little twits like to eat their bedding and it might cause them some problems, so you wait unitl they get a little older.

    Work these things into your plan and you should do fine.

    PS - There another way to kow if you have the right amount of heat. DO you want to know what it is?
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  3. aidenbaby

    aidenbaby Songster

    Apr 10, 2009
    The whole brooder doesn't need to be 95 just a corner will work. If that still isn't working there is nothing wrong with bumping up to a 250.
  4. jesd

    jesd In the Brooder

    Apr 5, 2009
    A 250 watt red bulb is ideal. They're fairly inexpensive and will heat it up nicely. Our brooder is about 24"x24"x72" and with the light clipped at one end, it's at about 95 degrees. (Having a long brooder is nice too since it gives them a little bit of a temperature gradient. We've found with the bulb at one end it's maybe even a little warm for week-olds, depending on the time of day, and the other end of the brooder is in the low 80s.) Good luck! Glad you're checking things out early!
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Glad you're checking things out early!

    That is indeed encouraging. Take nothing for granted and always, always, have a back up.

    In fact, make that your new motto and post it above your chicken areas:

  6. Small brooder in the house, 250 wt is overkill in my opinion. A regular 100wt light bulb should be enough, and if they aren't moving around, and staying huddled together, then put a smaller cardboard box inside the brooder, and direct the heat (light) into the box. I cut a door into the box so they can move into the rest of the brooder as they see fit.

    Good luck!
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Heres a little tidbit of chicken lore that may have escaped the users of white lights. You may wish to copy it for your records.


    Chickens are attracted to the color red. This is good, when you are making plastic feeders and waterers, but not so good for chicks under bright lights.

    Anybody who has watched chicks closely for long will admit that they have some pretty despicable habits. Not the least of these is their incessant picking at and badgering of one another. They do this partly out of curiosity, and partly probing for weakness. We call it "play" or "sport," but these instincts will serve them well as adults.

    However, when they peck one another a little too hard, a small bit of blood is often drawn. Normally this will heal with little worry, and you probably won't even notice it. But under the glare of white hot lights, it stands out like a bright beacon to those little rascals down on the brood floor.

    This in turn is attractive to them, and so elicits more pecks, and soon a serious wound can be opened. I have seen chicks carry this to extreme, eviscerating and cannibalising their own flock mates, while it is still alive. And it all started from a few little pecks.

    NOTE: It was at that moment that I stopped calling them "babies."

    BUT, and here's the sublime part of this, red lighting makes the blood spot look like just another little speck, since red-on-red nearly disappears. Since very little attention is drawn to the slight injury, the chick goes on it's way - and no one is the wiser. Red lighting is also far more soothing and the chicks tend to be calmer under red lights. Like I said, sublime! [​IMG]


    For the first week the only bright lights I keep in the brooder is a small 7W white light over the water.... not only are they brutes to one another, but they aren't too bright. Sometimes they fail to find the water on their own in the first few days, without a little light to guide their way.
    After the first week they are acclimated to regular daytime hours and red lighting is only used at night... chicks should sleep at night!

    I know what you're thinking, but seriously folks, I dont make this stuff up!
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009

  8. LoveMyBirds

    LoveMyBirds Songster

    Aug 10, 2008
    Quote:I only put a regular 100w bulb on one end of a plastic tote type box .. The chicks can warm and if they want to cool they can go to the other end of brooder..

    I do not have the whole box.. but you can get an idea from this PIC

  9. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    If you get the 250watt bulb, be careful. I melted part of my extension cord today. That's how hot they are.
    Fortunately no wires were exposed, so it's still usable, but geez it barely touched!
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Yeah do be careful around electrical apparatus.

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