How to tell if your brooder is the right temp

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChooksChick, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Many new chick owners have questions regarding the temps of their brooder and need help identifying signs of the correct environment.

    One way to determine that the chicks are at the right temp is to give them the option to self-regulate. Some chicks may want warmer temps than others, and if you have different sizes and breeds, you may have differing needs in your brooding flock.

    If you put the heat source (ceramic element, light, whatever) at ONE END of your brooder that will allow the ones who want heat to sit directly under and bask, while those who are more inclined to a cooler clime can wander off to the other end for comfort.

    Food and water ought to be in the middle or on the cool end.

    If your chicks try to sleep standing up, or huddle, they are too cool.

    If your chicks pant or lie around with lifted wings, avoiding the heat source, they are too warm.

    If they flop around like rag dolls and lie about napping, they are just right!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  2. Junkmanme

    Junkmanme Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've read that IF you are raising "meat chickens" such as Cornish X,
    THEN it is a GOOD IDEA to put the water at an end of the brooder that is OPPOSITE the end where the feed is.

    This is, apparently, a way to get the Cornish X to moving around more....and therefore help avoid some of the leg problems that many tend to develop.

    I don't know this from personal experience..just reading. Makes sense to me though.

    [​IMG]
    -Junkmanme-[​IMG]
     
  3. lisamarie

    lisamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2008
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    thanks for this post!

    i am wondering about my brooder space. i have 35 chicks one week old chicks. my chicks are all down at one end-- the end w/ out the light source--w/ the exception of about 5 or so who stay at the other end under the light. i found one dead this morning. they are at the opposite end of the light, but they do stay huddled together. not completely huddled, but close. i don't know how the one died that i found this morning.

    but i am confused since they are all huddled at the opposite end of the heat source. if they are cold, wouldn't they go to the light???? i also have had several w/ pasty butts so i am thinking that the space is too hot, but their behavior is puzzling me. would they all be huddled at one end to get away from the light because they are hot? or are they huddled because it is natural chick behavior to stay close to one another?

    thanks for any insights!
    lisa
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Perhaps this pic will provide you with an idea:

    [​IMG]

    These chicks are comfortable.
    They are not too cold - they are not peeping, huddled under the light or tightly packed on top of each other.
    They are not too hot. Yes, they are not under the light, but they are not panting, spreading their little wings out or showing any other signs of distress.
    They huddle like this to sleep when comfortable. They still do this as adults, only on the roost.
     
  5. lisamarie

    lisamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    oh wow, they are close! thanks so much for this picture. i feel so much better. it seemed normal behavior to be close together but since i had one die this morning, i got a bit nervous. still not sure why that one died.

    lisa
     
  6. insiderart

    insiderart Obviously Insane

    Apr 30, 2009
    Arkansas
    I generally like it when the chicks sleep around the periphery of the light. Not directly under, but not all the way to the other end either. This means that if they are cool they can get under the light to warm up, but if they are too warm they can go to the other end to cool down. Generally I keep my heat source on one end and food and water on the other. (Cornish notwithstanding as I've not had those.)

    When I notice the chicks sleeping way away from the light I raise it a little bit.
     
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Yep, as you can see in that pic the light is there, but they are just outside the outer edges of it.
     
  8. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Quote:I agree- if mine were against a wall away from the light, I'd raise it, because I always want to play it safe and make sure they can get farther away if they want to- if they are at the edge of the bin, they couldn't get farther away.

    Does this make sense?

    I'd have the light up higher or all the way to one side.
     
  9. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Here are 2 bins of chicks I have right now- no one's directly under the light but they have plenty of room to get farther away, should they choose.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I tend to focus it on one corner, which 'wastes' a lot of heat, but gives ample room for self-regulation. The tiny d' Uccle is the one who stays closest!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009

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