I feel so horrible....(aka Why Everyone Needs an Incubator Just In Case)


9 Years
May 12, 2013
My hen went suddenly broody, and emerged with two chicks, but abandoned a pile of eggs she had been sitting on, including a just-hatched chick. She has gone broody twice before--once was not her egg and a rock, and once was just rock. We were quite surprised.

We took the eggs and chicks inside b/c it was due to get cold, and since we don't have baby chicks except the day olds we buy (this was a total surprise..we have had our rooster for years and he has never successfully bred, nor has any hen but this one ever been broody). We put a heat lamp on them, but the chick had a hernia and the eggs were in varying stages of development and cold.

The baby chick passed, despite the care we could give, and we went to dispose of the eggs under the heat lamp when we heard peeping from two of them!!! Long story short, one had to be an assisted hatch b/c she was in the wrong position and came out fine, one was starting out great.

I left the room for two hours to let the hatched one rest. In the meantime, somehow, the light device became unclamped from it's holder and fell into the box, needless to say overheating and killing the chicks.

I feel horrific. We have used the heat lamp before at length on our chicks and it has never come down. Looking back, I should have put chicken wire over the box and have no idea why that didn't dawn on me.

So, I am ordering an incubator, because while we don't raise chicks from the eggs, this taught us that you never know when something like this may happen (and when your broody rock-loving hen actually has something under her).

Guilt doesn't begin to describe this.
That sucks. I'm sorry to hear that. We raised our chicks in our basement. They were in a box with a lamp above. I never worried about the lamp falling. In a few weeks I will be playing chicken mama again, i will be extra careful now. :(
You're lucky it was just overheating eggs, not burning your house.

I had a heat lamp drop several years ago in the coop, it burned a hole through 3/4" plywood but fortunately did not spread. Ever since, when using brooder lamps, I always ALWAYS attach the clamp, attach a cord to the hanger, and tie the power cord so that even if the first two fail, it will still stay in place.
I'm very sorry for your loss!

I was using the bathtub as a brooder and clamped the heat lamp on the tub railing. An hour later, it had slipped from its position and was dangling from the cord. I was very fortunate it didn't land on top of the chicks and pine chips, and burn the house down. I now secure heat lamps at least 2 to 3 different ways as they have a terrible reputation for shifting, falling and starting fires.

This year, I bought an Infratherm Sweeter Heater panel, which I'm using in one brooder and absolutely love. It's much safer, as it doesn't emit as much heat. It also doesn't emit any light, so it's great to be able to let the chicks actually sleep during the night, part of their normal biological rhythm. It's more energy efficient too.
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