light related to chick appetite

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lazy gardener, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    So, here's the question for the poultry experts: How much light do chicks need? This is in reference to actual light, not heat. I have 5 chicks in a 3 x 6' tractor in an unheated daylight basement with a red 250 watt bulb in a reflector for heat. To retain heat, the tractor is closed in with cardboard and styrofoam, old quilt on top, so essentially the only light they are getting is from the bulb. I am wondering if this is enough light to meet their needs, or if because the light is red, and more subdued, is it possible that they are not getting enough light to stimulate their activity and appetite properly?? These chicks will be joined this weekend by 6 more who are 11 days younger. I will use an other red bulb and place a wire divider between the 2 groups until the younger ones have a little more size on them.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Well, I've brooded out two batches of chicks this winter in a similar setup. It was winter. There was no choice.

    However, now that the weather is moderating and they are all feathered out at 5 weeks and 8 weeks respectively, it is time for long periods in natural sunlight. The cold, 40F days and 20F nights isn't going to hurt them one bit.

    The feed has sufficient vitamins and nutrients to do them OK. I'm not concerned as commercial birds are raised in huge houses and rarely see natural light. But.... that said, like you, I want to get them into daylight now. Hope that helps.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Thanks Fred. So, the chicks that you brooded had no light other than that provided by the red bulb??
     
  4. CoopDeFoudre

    CoopDeFoudre Out Of The Brooder

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    You could also use a white heat lamp bulb, or just a regular ol' 100w incandescent bulb, if you're concerned about them getting light.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    For the first 3 weeks. Then, I always start to condition them. I drop down to a white 150 watt, then at 5 weeks, I drop to a 90 watt. This "step down" method has always worked for me. I do not believe it necessary to pump out 250 watts for older chicks. It spins the electric meter too much. LOL

    Plus, they have to adjust and rather than raise a high power light higher and higher and waste the electricity, I just start stepping the wattage down. Brooded chicks in basements, garages, barns, etc hardly ever get natural light. Just saying. However, at 7 weeks, they're feathered out. It's time. At that point, the temperature of the ambient air isn't all that relevant. They're tough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Thanks for the info. I do have bulbs to step down to. And they're actually brooding comfortably about 5 degrees cooler than the recommended temps. Any experience mixing different ages in the brooder? My older chicks are RIR and BSL, with the younger ones being 11 days younger, Dominiques which are really tiny and delicate compared to others, even though they are supposed to be LF, and araucanas which are decent sized chicks. My plan is to keep them separated by wire until the younger ones are pretty agile, and able to tolerate lower temps, then gradually introduce. My extra heat from bulbs won't go to waste as I'll be starting seedlings down there soon.
     

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